Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Playing Hard

This week is Semana Santa (Holy Week) and much of the country has the week off, or at least the end of the week (Wednesday afternoon-Sunday). We decided to take advantage of that and go to the beach! We took one of the big vans out to Pochomil for the day. Everyone went except Halle. All in all, it was Kathy, Nick, Me, Drew, Abbey, Amanda & Tomas, and their kids Samanta and baby Anthony, and Amanda's parents, Denny and John. There was a bridge out near the beach, so we had to take a detour on a dirt road through some sugar cane fields. There were no signs on the detour route. As we were sitting at an "intersection" trying to decide which way to go, a guy on a horse came up and helped us. We eventually made it to the beach, and a while later, the horse guy showed up to rent out his horse for rides. Amanda and I split a 30 min ride which cost 50 cordobas (roughly $3, or $1.50 each). Amanda and Samantha took the first 15 minutes and then Drew and I went for the second 15 minutes. It was a nice way to thank him for helping us.

Time was spent playing cards, playing in the sand, riding the waves, and just plain relaxing.

We ate some delicious seafood. Tomas had the "Medium Fish" and Drew had "Fishs Fingers" (the English translated side of the menu provided some entertainment. "Flat Grilled Chicken" was another option).

Our friends Ian and Teran, who are working to adopt three boys from here, came out to the beach a little later in the day. They were unable to get the name of the restaurant we were at off of their email due to a power outage in the morning, but remembered Pochomil. When they got to Pochomil, they started asking where the gringos with the big silver van were, and found us shortly! Drew always has fun playing with their boys.

Working Hard

Nick and Halle have been hard at work on the library addition. There have been welded joints to paint to prevent rusting (a Manna Project team painted the beams a couple weeks ago), insulation to put in, and roofing to put on.

The view from above of the new addition

Putting insulation into the current library roof/ceiling

Los hombres gordos

Los hombres fuertes

Nick told me to take a picture of the ceiling in the current library because Halle had slipped while putting in insulation and cracked the ceiling

Then Halle told me to turn around and take a picture of the wall because Nick had dripped paint while painting the beams outside and it had come through the ceiling.

Despite these small mistakes, it's looking great out there!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Church and Iglesia

We went to two churches this morning. First we celebrated Palm Sunday at our "home" church, International Christian Fellowship, which is an English speaking church made up of missionaries, embassy workers and other English speakers. This church is in the midst of a pastor search, so we get to hear a different member of the body speak each week. This week it was David Bustamante, a Chilean, who moved to the US several years ago (the Bothell/Woodinville area, funny enough!), and then became a missionary to Nicaragua with his wife Shara. He joked about giving his message in Spanish and letting Halle translate for him.

We then went into Managua to go to church at Iglesia Verbo (living word church)... WOW! The worship music was amazing. The band was large and LOUD (two guitars, bass, drum set, congas, two keyboards, and 5 singers) and incredibly tight and well rehearsed. You would have loved it, Tracy Stipek. No one had music, just a song list of what songs they'd be doing that morning. My spanish was good enough, that with the help of seeing the words on the screen, I was actually able to feel like I was worshipping while singing, not just stumbling along not sure of what I was saying. The sermon, on the other hand... I couldn't keep up with that. I caught bits and pieces here and there, but felt pretty lost most of the time due to the rapid delivery. I was able to catch most of the "wrap-up" that he did at the end of his sermon, so I feel like I got the gist of it. It might have helped if he was preaching about palm sunday, but no.

I couldn't fit the whole band in the shot. If you look closely, you can read the words to the bridge of "Mighty to Save," but they're in spanish, of course. (English is: Jesus, shine your light and let the whole world see, we're singing, for the glory of the risen King)

Drew was pretty excited about the music.

Monday, March 22, 2010

the "real" Nicaragua

Tonight we were invited to Kathy's friend's home for dinner. Jessenia is a very sweet woman who helps out at El Farito (the preschool) and is Kathy's "right hand" person at the feeding program (also held at El Farito). We were all going to go over, but Kathy's car broke down, so Halle stayed behind to work on the car. Nick, Drew, Abbey, Kathy, and I went over to her home and she cooked dinner for us. It was very delicious. Her home is very simple, with an outside fire kitchen to cook on. We had rice, salad, fried chicken and fried platanos. Below are some pictures of our time with her.

Friday, March 19, 2010

So many events this week!

I can't believe another week has already passed. Our time seems to be going so quickly here. Amanda, who works with Kathy and Halle and is their neighbor, had a beautiful baby boy last Friday night. His name is Anthony John Guiterrez and he's perfect. Drew loved holding the little baby. I was really excited to be around to help with part of Amanda's labor and give some advice. She had a successful natural VBAC and was very happy.

Drew has made a habit of going to the preschool on Tuesdays and Thursdays for playtime and feeding program. He enjoys playing with the younger kids, but especially likes lunch time... a boy after my own heart!

The kids waiting to wash hands before lunch.

Our other big adventure this week was that we were without water from the city for three days! We took showers using a bucket and a wash cloth. Nick and Halle spent most of a day getting water from nearby in several runs of two 55gal bucketfuls at a time. It was long, slow, hard work, but we eventually had enough water to wash dishes and flush toilets. Still no "real" showers until the city water came back on the following day.

But at least they didn't have to get water like this guy...
And, in our "spare" time... we've been practicing our verbs in the library with Rosmery.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

blog name change

Nick asked me to change the name of the blog since I'm the one writing it and not him. I liked the way "Nick in Nicaragua" sounded... I'm a big fan of alliteration... so it becomes Megan in Managua. Enjoy.

One more picture just for fun today: Drew's foot next to a tarantula nest! Eek!

A view from above

Drew and Nick went out to the water tower in the back of the property today to climb up and see the view. It was a bit cloudy today, but you can still see one of Nicaragua's many volcanoes in the background of the second photo.

Abbey and I went with Kathy to a women's luncheon which was hosted by a member of the church. It was a good time of sharing, eating, and then swimming! Abbey loved going in the swimming pool, and it felt SO good to be in the cool water after holding a sweaty baby for quite a while. No pictures of that... sorry. Maybe next time.

I also finally have pictures to share of the library and our friend Rosmery, who we've been practicing our Spanish with. She works as the librarian here at the sports center and it a great resource for us as we continue to learn Spanish. She speaks English extremely well, and is a big help to us.

Megan, Ana (one of the neighborhood girls, who is 8, but not much bigger than Drew), and Abbey in the library.

A tub with Nick's mom's name on it! She must have brought this down when she was here about a year and a half ago. It was fun to find this in the library.

Drew, some girls from the Manna Project spring break team, and some Nicaraguan girls after playing basketball.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

El Farito: The Little Lighthouse

I had fully intended on blogging about our trip to the preschool (El Farito) yesterday when we got home. I had also fully intended to bring my camera. Neither of those thing happened. We got home yesterday, and I proceeded to get very sick. I'm still pretty ill, but wanted to get some of this down before I forgot.

All four of us went with Kathy to El Farito yesterday for the free play time of preschool and for the preschool time of the feeding program. Drew really enjoys playing with the preschoolers, and it seems like they love having him there as well. I spent a lot of time playing with the barn and plastic animals with some of the kids. I'd ask them about the animals, what they say, where they live, what color they are, etc. I love talking with them because they don't judge my poor Spanish skills! One little girl spent a lot of time with me and was telling me all about how the moose worked for Santa and lived at the North Pole. It was really cute.

I've spent the majority of the last 36 hours in bed. I'm hoping I'm back to normal tomorrow and can go back to the preschool and take some pictures.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The one with all the pictures

I have several pictures to share with you all today of some of the things we've been doing. Going through pictures for this post showed me how I'm not taking enough pictures! I've been in the library the past few days helping people with their homework and practicing my spanish and their english. I really enjoy going over there. A wonderful girl names Rosemary works there. She speaks fantastic english and is a good friend/translator to have. I need to take some pictures of her and of the library to post later.
Nick and Halle worked on taking out a tree because the roots of it had broken the water main to the house. When I went out to take pictures, Nick said, "He's cutting down the branch that the ladder is on... what could go wrong?" Well, nothing did go wrong, it was just a big job.

Nick missed a few spots with his sunscreen.

Drew has been out in the sports complex almost every day playing. This is from when he was playing soccer one day:
It's a bit hot and dusty here right now. We're in the dry season. Drew comes home covered in dirt every day... and he loves it.

Today we went to a carnival that the local Christian school was putting on. The church that we'll be going to also meets at this school. It is about 2-3km away from where we are living. The kids liked the dunk tank, and other carnival games and the petting zoo. Drew wanted to bring this little puppy home. We also had some awesome "Comida Oriental"

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

First Two Days

The first two days have felt like a whirlwind! We got into Managua, Nicaragua, at about 10pm on Monday night. After collecting our luggage and navigating customs, we met Kathy and Halle, loaded into their van, and drove out to their home. We crashed around midnight that night, which I think helped keep jet lag at bay (for me anyway... Nick is feeling it a bit, I think).

Abbey and Drew woke up at about their normal times on Tuesday morning. I spent the majority of the day unpacking, getting oriented in the house, taking care of Abbey, doing school with Drew, and meeting some of the other people that live and work here. Nick spent a bit of time with Halle doing manual labor, meeting people and getting a tour of the vast property. Drew played outside at lot (as you can see from the last post). We met Amanda, who along with her husband Tomas, live right next door. Tomas works at a Christian school nearby, and Amanda works with Kathy and Halle at AMEN.

Today, Wednesday, I took my first real trip out of the house to the grocery store. I was surprised at how easy it was to navigate, even with my limited Spanish skills. I did almost buy sardines instead of tuna, though! That would've been a surprise. Thankfully I noticed my mistake before I left the isle. I also spent a bit of time over at the sports complex this afternoon, watching Drew play with the Nica kids and practicing my spanish. Abbey is a great conversation piece! The tween/teen girls were fascinated with Drew's big blue eyes! They kept talking about them and trying to get a good look at them. Watch out Drew!