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blog 2, Nicaragua

June 2, 2011

As I write this, I have the privilege of being serenaded by the sound of tremendous thunder and drops of water on the tin roof, just another day in Nicaragua’s rainiest season. Yet the rain cannot stop the parties. These days have been that of celebration: Mothers Day, Children’s Day, Host Brother’s Birthday, and so on.
I have been in Nicaragua for a little over a week now, and yet I feel like I have been here for much longer. I don’t think this is a bad thing; on the contrary I think it’s a good sign. Daily life in Leon is becoming more customary: the streets, directions, the occasional bucket showers, and the beautiful songs of the roosters in the morning.
I have learned that if I take stay true to a saying I was told as a child: “Calladit@ te vez más bonit@.” (Quieter you look much nicer) I can blend in pretty easily; this is until people hear me talk. Their Nicaraguan accent and my Mexican accent are noticeably different. The kids were I am working have had two reactions to the way I talk. The first being, “Why do you talk so funny.” Or the other has been, “That accent is pretty, how do you talk like that?”
The method of transportation in Nicaragua is mostly motorcycles, bikes, yellow school buses, loaded trucks, taxi, or by foot. I enjoy getting rides on my friend’s bike; apparently a bike only appears to be for one person, it’s actually for two.
The organization I have been working with is Las Tías. This program was founded by women who worked in the market Santos Barcenas. The first program was held as more of a daycare for the kids so that they would not be on the streets as their mothers worked. As the years went by, the program became more organized with homework help and activities. The kids call the women and men that work in the program aunt and uncle. This started as a sign of affection from the kids to the women founders and has continued as tradition. There are two building of Las Tías, one if for kids from six to fourteen years of age and the other is for teenagers. I am working with the younger group, who are quiet the handful but never a bore. Most of the children who attend are enrolled in public school and come from low income families.
It is never a calm day with the kids, and the atmosphere is very different than what I am accustomed. The shouts, kicks, and pushes that are distributed among the kids are a regular occurrence which can hardly be controlled. The kids are simply finding a way to entertain themselves in the cement lot. Marbles, jump rope, jump the frog, and hand games are the favorite.
I have been in the kitchen cutting and slicing, serving food, washing hands, and with the academics and activities. The kids quickly have become affectionate, and very curious about my life in the States and my family in Mexico. The blur of about a hundred faces is slowly becoming clearer as I am learning to put names with them. Slowly I am becoming familiar with the routine and the manner in which things are done at Las Tías.
This blog is a little late since I have not stopped by the PGL Office in a couple of days; the next blog is coming soon.
Elena Perez-Zetune

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