10 April 2013

Las Isletas

Another great day in Nicaragua! Dude is eating a little and drinking a lot. Whatever bug he had seems to have passed. After another fun day if classes we headed to lake Nicaragua to see the Isletas (the little islands). Lake Nicaragua is the only freshwater lake that has sharks, tarpons, and sawfish. This islands were created from thousands of rocks that were expelled from a Mombacho Volcano eruption. 365 islands were formed. Some are owned by the Nicaraguan and Costa Rican elite families, some are resorts, and some are inhabited by scary looking monkeys.
Our boat tour was amazing and informative for some of my students it was their first time in a boat. They will never forget this.

First day of class

Dude held up pretty well through the night. He woke up happy, without fever, but still refusing to eat. Today is the first day if class for my students. I'm so surprised that they love their classes! Shout out to Casa Xalteva for pleasing a very difficult audience. They said they speak a lot in class, play a lot of games and laugh... A LOT. The most important thing is that they are learning while on their own cultural journey.

Dude took a long long nap today and woke up ready to eat. Alpha Poppa spoke to dude's pediatrician today and they think its a 24 hour virus that needs to run its course, I think they're right. The rest of the day was chill and calm. After an amazingly delicious dinner we all say outside on the porch talking and enjoying the night breeze. This seems to be what the whole city does ever night. It's amazing how open ever house is. The people leave their doors and windows wide open all night. Few places in earth feel this safe.

08 April 2013

Cemeteries, vomit, and basketball (Sunday)

Our morning started off with a rushed breakfast that Dude refuses to eat... Again! Our tour started off as a walking tour of the city of Granada. We started out early in hopes of avoiding the heat but that quickly showed itself as an impossible feat. We walked over to a nearby cemetery to look around and to get a quick history lesson on how the Spanish came to Nicaragua and started their cruel colonization process. It was an interesting lessons and my students and chaperones asked a lot of great questions.

Cemeteries in Nicaragua are above ground and are quite different from most American cemeteries. We walked around looking at the intricate tombs and after a while decided to get to cool drinks and shade as soon as possible. While leaving the cemetery dude told me that he had to do #2 and that it was an emergency. We had to duck behind a tree to let him go. This may be too much information but it came out like a gush of chocolate milk , it was so gross! This is why when you travel with kids you should always have wet wipes in your purse. I'm so happy that i had them on hand. Afterward he said he felt better. Within 10 minutes we were in a nearby restaurant drinking Gatorade and grabbing a small lunch. I should have known that something was wrong when dude asked to go #2 and then again. Right when we were about to leave he reached his little arms up for me to lift him, as soon as I did he throw up in my face hair and down my shirt!!! Oh the glamour of motherhood. It was DISGUSTING!!! The restaurant owner our tour guide and my students help me clean us up as much as they could but we were just a mess! Once we left the heat beat down on us so I made the decision to leave the group under the control of our guide and the other teachers so that I could get dude back home where it was a little cooler and more relaxing. We jumped in a taxi and headed back to our host family. Throughout the day he threw up a few more times and started getting a little fever. The host family offered to call a doctor to come make a house call to check on him. Nicaragua has free healthcare (including medical house calls ). I told them that if he continued to throw up that I'd take them up in their offer but it was still a little soon. After taking some tylenol and a nice long nap, he woke up more upbeat and more like himself.
Around 7 pm our host brother-in-law asked us to John him at te basketball court to watch him play with his very small league. Since dude seemed to feel a little better we decided to join him. While dude and I sat and watched Zane played catch with some kids and had a great time. After about an hour there I left Dude in his seat so I could go to the bathroom by the time I returned (5minutes later) he had already thrown up again!!! Thank goodness it wasn't much and he continued to play with his friends as if nothing had happened. Lets see how he does tomorrow!

07 April 2013

Drinks from a bag, ceramics, and Mimes (Saturday April 6)

Today was filled with pleasant surprises. We slept in late and had a chance to spend a little time with our host families. We live in a house with children and boy are my kids happy they have playstation in the house and a park across the street, new friends and even a dog to seal the deal. My host family is super sweet and boy can my mama cook!
We met up with my students at Casa Xalteva at 10am and laid around catching the breeze. We late walked from house to house meet host families and checking everything out. One of the host families had a store and we tried natural fruit drinks served in a bag. words cant describe how delicious they were. After lunch with our host familia our tours began.
We met up at 1pm for tours and stared with a lesson in how ceramics have been made for thousands of years here in Nicaragua. The process was amazing . They get clay from a special part of the country, dance in of for 3 1/2 hours to prepare for spinning, then mold it using a foot propelled machine. They paint and shine it over 26 days and cook it in an ancient kiln until its perfect. We were all amazing!
After our ceramics lesson we went to a local fruit stand to try new fruit that had no English equivalent for a name. Some were sweet others bitter or sour. We also locales at the well-known high quality local plants grown and sold in that area..
We then went to the Laguna Look-out. It was breath-taking! We rode horses took pix and laughed it up. Formerly a volcano this Laguna is not a fresh water whole and is the cleanest water in the country.
Our last stop was the panaderia for sweet bread and off we went back to Casa Xalteva, but not for long. We all went home to quickly freshen up and head to a Mime Show that features local kids as an initiative to educate them, teach them comedy and acting, and basically to keep them off the streets. The show was awesome Zane and Dude ooohed and aahed just like the rest of us.

Penpals and Diplomats Friday April 5

Today was a day we'd all been looking forward to. It was the day that we for to meet our penpals. In January I get this epiphany that it would be an amazing experience for my students to have a penpals in Nicaragua who they could meet face-to-face during our visit there. That is exactly what today accomplishes. For 3 months we've emailed back and forth, skyped, and participated in a virtual classroom project. Today we got a chance to meet this great group for the American Nicaraguan School. This bilingual school is the best in the country and is known as the preferred school of diplomat's children. The school grounds were beautiful and well kept. Anything you could imagine, they had... Pools, courts for every sport, and state of the art everything. We had a quick introduction together then broke off in small groups for lunch, after lunch Mu students attended a class with their penpals and shadowed them as part of their learning experience,

After 2 1/2 with them were rushed off to a briefing at the US Embassy. This high security visit consisted of giving our passport info weeks in advance, submitting our passports, leaving all electronics (cameras, iPods, and cell phones ) behind and meeting 4 US Diplomats to Nicaragua. The Diplomats were cool laid back geniuses. Their was 1 from US Aid, the economic sector, the consular sector, and the political sector. They told us about their lives and their work and we got to ask them questions about life working to the US State Department. This is a job that not only I hope to have someday but that some of my students are now interested in.

Our day ended with us returning to Casa Xalteva our language school and volunteer spot for salsa dance classes and introductions to the staff and students.

Plane delays thurs April 4

Our whole journey to Nicaragua consisted of flight delay after flight delay. Our flight leaving Atlanta was delayed while we were on the runway, apparently storms in ft lauderdale were to blame for an hour late departure. Once in ft lauderdale we ( me, Zane, Dude, 11 of my students, and 3 adult chaperones) ate dinner from Nathan's and laid around whole e waited for our 11:48 flight that was delayed 3 times. We finally left at 2:50 am. That didn't get us into Managua until very late. Our bus and driver patiently waited for us and we took off for Granada in the wee hours of the morning. We were dropped off to our host families 2 by 2 and were told to take an hour long nap, eat, wash up and get ready to begin our busy busy day.

When we arrived at our new bedroom dude was ecstatic to see that our room has "tents"! Oh yea this trip is going to be a winner.