Wednesday, December 05, 2012

where the heck have you been?

anne keller has chastised me for not having updated this for a while. so here's an update.  a lot has been going on recently since the end of october until now.  a peace corps fundraiser. a regional competition. a trip to the "grand" canyon of central america. a national competition. in-service training.  my rural entrepreneurship class. and, what seemed most important to me, was when my computer broke.  i think i stared at the wall for about an hour in shock not really knowing what to do.  i regularly feel like i watch the paint peel of the walls since i lack all of the entertainment my lappy provided.  also probably why i have been a bit slack on the blog posts.

sooooooo...... peace corps fundraiser! every year for at least the past few years, we have put on a "cocktail party" or "benefit" or whatever you might want to call it to raise money for the national competition that we put on for the student businesses.  it helps buy prizes, lodging, etc for the kids who come all the way to managua.  some of them have never even been, so it is a cool experience for them.  as biz volunteers we were required to go, so we all put on our best duds and had a great time.  it basically is the closest thing to an all volunteer conference, so there were tons of vols from every sector as well as families from the embassy, rpcvs, and other people who knew a biz volunteer trying to pawn their tickets off on people (we were required to sell tickets).

shortly after getting back to site, we had the regional competition for madriz and nueva segovia departments. the five pcvs brough several groups (11 total) and they competed against each other being judged by a panel of 4 based on creativity, business plan, marketing plan, presentation, and finances.  in our region we had a lot of food products, which honestly is a challenge to get away from.  i had one group that was making small solar panels but when it came time to compete they decided they didn't want to participate.  still, my group took third place with their avocado ice cream pops.  the idea sounds kind of weird, but was delish.

this wasn't even my group. they just wanted a picture.

the group i took from somoto. i swear my profe normally
looks happier than that. 
a few weeks after, somoto had it's carnaval for the fiestas patronales.  basically it is a huge street party for several blocks with a bunch of stages of competing bands and djs... until 5am. a few friends from my group came up to join in the fun, so we decided to go to the somoto canyon, which i still hadn't visited at the time.  they call it the grand canyon of central america, even though it's no where near the size of the actual grand canyon.  still, it was pretty fun to explore.  we even did a jump of 18m into the water at one point.  see david wolfson for videos of that event.  

a high speed shot of courtney doing the 18m jump.
i'm sure she'll love me for making it animated.
after going to the canyon, i went back to my house because my host sister and boyfriend were getting married.  it was more of a reception in comparison to our weddings in the states.  they had the party at their house, but it was when eunice and wilbur officially were legally married.  this involved a bottle of rum on every table as well as ice and limes.  what better way to celebrate a wedding?

fransisco, my host dad, and me

maria, my host mom, and eunice, my host sister


yes, this is blurry, but i think it more accurately depicts how things started going

valeria, my host niece

officially signing the documents!

fran is a great guy. 

i ducked out after a while and met up with several other volunteers that were in town as well as some of my nica friends here and went to carnaval and danced it up in the street until the wee hours of the morning.  it was a pretty awesome day... except for the next day when i went up into the mountains to deliver filters to a rural community with another org that i've gotten connected with here in nicaragua. needless to say, i was quite tired, but it was a lot of fun to deliver the filters and then go around to the houses to take pictures.
we had to carry the filters up the hill because the truck
couldn't travel the whole way.  

my sitemate cherrie still hasn't mastered the
carrying things on your head technique.

oscar is our firefighter representative.  once we've
distributed the filters, we go to each house and check
the homes for fire hazards.  the filter basically creates a good
way to get into the homes.  it is also helping create a
connection with the firefighters for this community.

can't beat his view!
one of the homes we went to.

i don't have any pictures of the national competition, but basically we all went into managua and the 12 best teams that were picked from the regional competitions competed on the same criteria.  this was much more serious and the competition was intense.  two really cool products won.  second place was an attachment for the tap to fill up the barrels of water that ever family has in nicaragua. that way people don't have to wait around and watch it.  since the water only comes on at night in some homes, they can leave the "llave automatico" attached and not worry about wasting water.  the other product was a cool mosquito trap that lasted for two weeks.  both very useful here in nica. 

my main work these days has been my once a week class in san lucas with one of my organizations.  they pay for kids in the rural communities to come into town and we have the entrepreneurship course at the local community center. i was hoping for one more week with that, but found out today that next week is canceled. so we're done for the year! 
victor, one of my counterparts helping me explain fixed and variable costs

he got really intense about it

then the kids had to place different types of costs where they thought they would go.

this is usually what my class looks like at the end

group work!

explaining group work!

intro activity to "markets"

explaining what a "market" is

anyways. that's an update.  hopefully it was interesting.  i tried to do more pictures than text for the ADD inclined.  here are a few other pics that i pulled off the camera.

one of the stray donkeys that just roams the streets. i saw him later in the yard of the church.

luis is the son of the woman who comes to wash my family's clothes.
he just picked a bunch of passion fruit and was really excited about it.

my room. well part of it. there's not much more to it though.

a massive toad in the back yard the other night. 

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