Sunday, July 15, 2012


last monday was counterpart day where all of the new principals and local technical coordinators from the ministry of education came to managua and met with us to plan out what we were going to do during our site visit. well... that was what was supposed to happen.

the masatepe crew met up at 630am in the park to catch a microbus into managua, and then peace corps picked us up from the bus station and took us to the retreat center.  as we sat and waited for the sessions to start, counterparts started to file in. i waited... and waited... and waited some more...  we started the sessions and still no counterparts.  apparently there had been a mix up with letters and the word hadn't been relayed to the counterparts until that morning or even later, so i didn't have anyone come because it is about 4 hours by bus from my site to managua. it made planning really easy though!

the north side of the city from the mirador

freshly roasted, straight from the finca
so i hoped on a bus solo headed towards my site in the north. i got there around 1030 am and met up with the volunteer i'm replacing to show me around.  found my host family's house and started to get to know them.  they are very nice people.  there are two parents, maria and francisco, both in their late 50's, and two siblings that live in the house, eunice and francisco. both are in their mid to late 20's.  and then juan, the uncle lives next to me. wilbur, eunice's boyfriend seems to be around all the time too. they own a coffee farm up in the mountains, and only drink fresh coffee that they have harvested.  i am super excited to go up to the finca to check it out.  getting involved with coffee farmers is one of my side interests, so i'm excited to be living with some!

the rest of the city. my house is near the radio towers in the middle
i have a small room in the back of the property next to juan.  the biggest thing that i noticed when i walked in was that the shower doesn't have a roof. it just has 3 concrete walls about 5.5' high and a shower curtain. i've decided it will be like camping... every day. haha. my rent will be about $55 a month and i can cook for myself.  i was very clear about that in all of my site preference sheets. cooking is relaxing for me, and i feel like i have accomplished something after.  i can also eat with the family if i want and just pay on a per meal basis. i'm pretty happy with the arrangement... even if my shower doesn't have a roof. i guess i can just save water when it's raining?

the central park
so my site! it was a little smaller than i was expecting, but i think it is a nice size.  it is nestled in the hills on all sides.  it is gorgeous to look out and see the hills surrounding the city.  my house is located about two blocks from the center of town, which is very convenient for getting around. i like my house here in masatepe, but it has been frustrating at times because it is so far from where most everything is going on. i feel like i can't go out after dark sometimes. speaking of that, it seems relatively safe too. the main part anyways. i was warned of several sectors on the outskirts of town that are dangerous after dark. 

fridays are apparently remittance day. later there were
plastic chairs lined up in the street while people waited.
i also like this picture because it shows several
 different modes of transportation in the city.
there are plenty of NGOs based in the city. i visited the two main ones that i have been assigned, plus two others. there are several others that i want to go meet once i get back in two weeks. i don't think i'll be at a loss for work.  all of them are working on rural income generation projects, which is really cool stuff. i'm excited to do some cross-cutting work with other health and nutrition projects too. 

i wasn't able to meet as many of my school counterparts as i would have liked.  this coming week is "winter" break for the kids, so schools canceled class on thursday (makes total sense). i was able to check out two sections of the entrepreneurship class though, and the kids seem pretty interested in the material as well as the teacher. i also tried meeting the two representatives of the ministry of education four times each, but they were out on community visits every time i came. 

my new ride!
the volunteer i'm replacing was moving out while i was visiting, so i hung around with him some, and he showed me around since my counterparts weren't there. i also was able to benefit from him not wanting furniture and other random things like clothes hangers, shelves, and, most importantly, a bike! $32 and i have a sweet new ride to get around town. it is complete with rain guards and a basket too!

here are some other random pictures that i forgot about from before:

georgia and yacarely before giving us our site packets

the norteƱos

these guys weren't as excited, but they put on a good face.

the postit notes for all of our locations!

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