BIENVENIDOS A NICARAGUA
After being greeted at the airport by Carrie and Lauren (another volunteer and Carrie’s best friend down here) we headed back up towards Murra with a two-day stopover at Lauren’s site: Casa Vieja. It was nice to see that nothing had changed, as there was no electricity for the first two days and our nights were spent hanging out with flashlights and candles. During that time Carrie said her goodbyes to the folks in Casa Vieja and I jumped right back into using Spanish and Nicaraguan life.
THE RETURN TO MURRA
Despite a year gap between my schoolbus rides up to Murra, it instantly felt like I never left. All of the townsfolk remembered me and were so excited to see me. In fact, there were some people that I probably talked to more in the three days I was there than I did in my entire seven months last year. Needless to say, my time there was a non-stop flurry of talking to people catching up with the town.
Shortly after arriving, Carrie and I hiked up to the community bank in San Gregorio for me to say hi to everyone and for her to say goodbye. Much like most activities during these days, it was filled with mixed emotions. While I was so excited to see everyone, it was also Carrie’s last chance to say goodbye to these folks she had been working with for two years. At one point, every member of the bank took turns thanking Carrie for her time there, and then came over to me and thanked me for “lending Carrie to them” for two years.
Other highlights of my time in Murra included a birthday party for a one-year old complete with a clown, piñata and tons of food and another party to celebrate the new cell phone tower. That’s right, after only being able to talk to Carrie a couple of times a month when she left town, they finally got cell phone service just as she finished. Needless to say, Claro, a Nicaraguan cell company, brought a stage and a band all the way up to Murra and had a party in the street with dancing and a concert.
THE CORN ISLANDS
After a final goodbye to Murra, Carrie and I headed to the Corn Islands: a set of little islands off the Atlantic coast of Nicaragua, which is the indigenous part of the country. Carrie and I had been trying to go there since she got here, but due to the drug trade out there it was banned by the Peace Corps. Anyway, now that she is done we were free to go. After boarding a plane that looked like one that Indiana Jones would have used and taking the wettest boat ride ever, we arrived and checked into our cabana. The next week was spent relaxing in hammocks, snorkeling, swimming, sleeping, getting sunburned and basically shutting our brains off. The area was beautiful and the people were some of the friendliest folks we’ve ever met. No crazy stories…but definitely somewhere you should consider going one day.
THIS AND THAT
After leaving 30 degree NYC, I arrived to beautiful 90 degree Nica weather. After 10 hours in the plane, we jumped right on a schoolbus…and I quickly ate a great bus meal. I really missed the food here. I packed way too much and already sent some clothes home. I came down here with all sorts of information for the English teacher to use in his classes…he was so sweet when I gave it to him and said that Carrie and I have a friend for life. On a walk through a river I saw people mining for gold like the 49′ers. After not seeing one my first seven months here, I had three separate ticks on my body in my three days in Murra…good thing there’s no lime disease here. Of course not all of the busses we needed came, so we spent a lot of time waiting on the side of the road. People in Murra have the Razor phone…what do they need THAT for??? Lastly, I don’t think I will ever forget the smile on Nayo’s face when Carrie and I gave him the Leatherman knife I got in the states.
MORE NICARAGUA THIS AND THAT
On our second to last day in Nicaragua we had our bus break down and we had to wait on the side of the road for another one to pass…one last parting present to Carrie and I from Nicaragua. Coming back from the Corn Islands we took a boat, plane, taxi and bus in one day…all we needed was a train for every type of transportation. Thanks to new immigration laws we now need to go all the way to Belize every 90 days to get a new stamp…I never could have almost gotten arrested at the boarder last year with these new rules.
Coming soon. It’s tougher, as I don’t have full days to kill at Internet cafes while Carrie does Peace Corps stuff…’cuz she’s done!!! In the mean time, you can check out someone else’s photos of the Corn Islands. And on that note, that’s it for Nicaragua. Tomorrow Carrie and I hop on a bus for El Salvador. Stay tuned!
Adios for now!