It’s hard to believe that I’m enjoying my last full day in Nicaragua. Tomorrow, I will pack up the bug spray and the sunscreen (I might actually put some on for the drive to the airport) and say adios to Nicaragua. With that in mind I put together this list of highlights. It includes some of the amazing people I’ve met, places I’ve seen, and a few other random things…
The ladies and men of Cooperative Nica Hope: The chance to work with this inspirational group of men and women working to “salir adelante” by creating handmade artisan jewelry was definitely a highlight. Thank you to Mallory Erickson and Eliza Brennan for the opportunity to be part of this project.
Luis Muñoz, his daughter Fabiola, and the staff at Casa de Los Abuelos: Luis, Fabby and the staff at Casa de los Abuelos, a hostel in the center of Managua, made my experience in this sprawling and at times overwhelming capital city, warm and inviting. Thank you to Luis for teaching me the ins-and-outs of the market and for taking me to eat the best quesillos in Managua.
Arne and Claire: my Dutch friends who took time out of researching and writing their Master’s theses on women’s rights and community housing projects in Nicaragua, to join me at the beach. Thanks especially to Arne for transporting me around Leon on the back of his bike (don’t worry mom, it was a bicycle and not a motorcycle).
Doña Rafaela and her sons: thank you for keeping well fed with gallo pinto, barbequed chicken and fried plantains. Thanks to Doña for always microwaving my instant cup of coffee until it was practically boiling!
Adventures on the school bus: riding the local bus here in Nica means reliving your elementary school days. The local buses are converted school buses adorned with bright colors and the name of where they are headed. I’ll miss pretending I’m on a field trip while exploring Nicaragua.
The markets: Nicaragua has some of the most lively markets I have ever seen. I will miss exploring the markets for exotic fruit, eating lunch at the plastic tables and chairs and trying to explain to the woman who owns the cosmetics kiosk that I’m looking for face wash.
Marina, Felipe and Kelly: my gracious hosts on one of the most beautiful places I have ever been — the Island of Ometepe. Thanks to Marina for keeping me well fed with her delicious cooking and to Felipe for traipsing me to the top of Volcan Maderas.
The Effingers: Thank you to Julie and Doug for allowing me to be a part of their work in the community of Jinotepe. For introducing me to the students that they are helping to attend the university, touring me through the library they are building, taking me to one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever been to, and allowing me to join them in delivering school supplies to some of the cutest school kids I have ever seen.
Luis and Andrea: mis amigos from Costa Rica. Thank you for coming to Nicaragua and for a fabulous last few days exploring Granada, San Juan del Sur and Laguna de Apoyo. Can’t wait to see you again, and I can’t wait to have you over to my place at the Laguna.
Maritza, Omar and Inti: Gracias por la oportunidad a conocer la comunidad de Las Lagunas y los proyectos suyos. Hasta la proxima vez.
Nestor: thank you for introducing me to Eduard and for the opportunity to stay at Finca Neblina del Bosque. It was one of the most amazing adventures I had in Nicaragua.
Susan Dix Lyons, Rafael Morales, Alba Castillo: I have followed the progress of Clinica Verde, a sustainable community health clinic in the Boaco region of Nicaragua, and the opportunity to see it live was one I’ll never forget. Thank you for the opportunity.
The Sunflower Cooperative: Thank you to Noelle, Kim and Maria for introducing me to this group of women working together to create sustainable employment opportunities through sewing. I can’t wait to see the prototype of the laptop bag you created for me. I think it will be a hit in SF!
The Canadians: a amazing group solo women travelers who I met in Matagalpa. I loved our conversations about life and travel and thanks to them I now have a third grade level of Canadian geography.
Anabel: one of the most adorable, strong and funny little girls I have ever met. Also the best tour guide I could have asked for.
El Castillo Chocolate: thank you for showing me what chocolate is actually supposed to taste like. If only I had more room in my suitcase for more of you.
Bug spray: I knew it was going to come in handy, but I had no idea the extent. It seemed that every time I forgot to put it on, I would be swarmed and eaten alive by packs of mosquitoes.
Instant coffee: thank you to instant coffee for making me realize how much I miss good coffee. I will not miss drinking you in the morning.
The Nica Breakfast: I have come to love the traditional breakfast of eggs, gallo pinto, cheese, fried plantains and chili. I’m going to miss this combo when I’m gone. I guess it wouldn’t be that hard to make.
Technology: I was nervous at the prospect of trying to work online from Nicaragua. Would I have internet…would it work? While it’s at times been an adventure — like the time I was trying to access the internet in the cloud forest, under the light of my headlamp, I’ve found that WiFi is just about everywhere. Who knew?
Ok, I’m off to enjoy my last evening here in Nicaragua….