Hola de Managua! My first 5 days here in Managua have been amazing. I’ve been greeted with humble hospitality everywhere I go. Even though I’m here alone, being surrounded by many gracious Nicaraguans has made for an easier transition. I’m settled, content and diving into things. I’m staying at Hotel Cisneros, a local hotel run by a wonderful family. They have 3 kids who are in their late 20’s and 30’s who speak English, and have taken me in. Though I’m here to learn Spanish, it’s very nice to have someone to turn to when I really get stuck. I have a beautiful room with a fridge so I’m able to “cook” some of my own meals and eat a bowl of cereal in the hammock right outside my door to start out my days. Not bad at all.
Bismark, a taxi driver and friend helps me get from one place to another. Unfortunately, the neighborhood that I’m in here in Managua is not safe enough for me to walk around alone. He knows the area really well, and is very patient with my Spanish. I look forward to getting to know him and being able to communicate better in time.
I went to Escuela de Esperanza, The School of Hope, in the trash dump for the first time on Monday. Whether the first or the 50th time, the sight doesn’t become any easier to stomach. I hope I never grow comfortable with the sight. Nothing about people sorting through trash for a living should ever be comfortable.
This will really surprise those of you who know me well, but I LOVE the time that I spend in the school. Luckily I speak the universal “kid” language. Either they don’t know, don’t understand or don’t care that my Spanish skills are less than ideal. I’m grateful for their acceptance. The kids are equally excited to receive a smile a pat on the back or any sort of reassurance whether in the classroom or on the lacrosse field. They crave attention, love and comfort just like any other kid anywhere in the world. That, we have in common.
I hope to transition to being called “Carrie” (with rolled r’s of course) from the whistle and “gringa” (white girl), which is how I’m currently addressed. A lot of “voluntourism” comes through the school during the week. Many missionaries and trips come into the community for a grand tour one afternoon, pick up a few kids, build something and then leave. I think I’ll have to earn my name by showing them that I’m hanging around for a little while. I sure hope it happens sooner rather than later.
The lacrosse program today was a beautiful mess. Overeager, teenage boys collided with some mothers who also attend the school to play for 40 minutes. I observed the coaches to get an idea of what the program currently is and see the potential of the program as we start to incorporate life skills into the program. The kids are clearly really intrigued by the sport and desire to learn more about it. I’m excited to be here and make that possible. Norman and Miguel, our Nicaraguan coaches are extremely excited about the program and can’t wait to have a little help!
Soon to come:
· A list of awkaward hysterical Spanish blunders. Yup its only be 5 days and there is already a long list
· A little history on the community, and why a place like this actually exists
If I can talk anyone into snail mail (I know a few of you are already hooked like I am), here is my address:
Sector Bolonia; CST
2c, al sur 1/2c al Este #555
I will DEFINITELY write back, but I can’t promise how reliable the Nicaraguan postal service is. I guess there’s only one way to find out.