I’ve Been Sweating Since I Stepped Off The Plane

Hey guys! Victoria here, reporting back to fellow Heston interns, friends and family, and anyone else who is currently reading this. Well for starters, sorry it’s been a while. As you may or may not know, I am currently in León, Nicaragua—and will be here for the next 2 months. The availability of Internet is limited! I, alongside Kerry (the other Nica intern), have been here for a little over a week now and geez, so much has happened!

First things first, we arrived on a Wednesday or Thursday (not sure which one—I’ve been pretty bad at remembering days of the week) and spent a few days touring Managua, the capital, and learning more about the culture and history of Nicaragua. We left Managua a few days later and headed off to Laguna de Apoyo, an inactive volcano that overtime formed a freshwater lake inside its crater–crazy right?! There we stayed in a hostel that was right off the lake and spent the following day swimming and kayaking in the lake and that time allowed us Hestoners to get to know each other! After a refreshing day at the Laguna we got in the PGL truck and headed North for León.

After a few hours in the truck, a stop at a famous cheese place/rest stop, and sweating through essentially every article of clothing we were wearing-we arrived in León! Driving in at night was a little scary, not gonna lie, because we couldn’t exactly see the city! With the few street lights there were I could see some people sitting outside of their house chatting and kids playing jump rope in the street. We entered Sutiava, the town over from León (the only thing that differentiates León and Sutiava is that the main road becomes a two way road instead of a one way road). Our host families promptly greeted us as they had been waiting outside in the street for our arrival. One by one the families each approached the truck and that was a pretty neat feeling because everyone was nervous and excited.

My host mom, Meyling is a single mother and has a 9-year-old daughter, Lisbelkis, and also lives with her mother, Doña Connie. It’s the four of us in her house, but like many other Nica houses—the house is connected to another house in the back, which is where the aunts, uncles, and cousins live! The houses here are very different from those in the US. They are all painted with bright colors and built with openings in the walls/ceilings for breeze to enter and circulate.

When I arrived I was shown my room and then right after the kitchen…I was sat down at the table to eat despite the fact it was 10 at night and I was not hungry at all. That didn’t matter. It was me and my whole host family at the table, plus the cousins, watching me and waiting for me to start. And you all know how this goes, so I won’t even bother going on with that. I’m just gonna go ahead and make it clear that RIP all my clothes that used to fit! 😉 . Anyways that was definitely one of the best dinners aside from the food baby, because we were all talking and laughing and sharing stories. We talked for what seemed like hours and I told them about what the US was like, what school was like, and then we got on the topic of music. This is where it gets good—so because my mom is Colombian we listen to a fair amount of Spanish music—especially the Spanish radio…. And since I have Latin blood in my veins I love to dance. My host family thought this was hysterical and they pulled out a small computer and started blasting Spanish music. We sat there at the dinner table searching for songs on YouTube and ended up having a full on dance party. It was me, Lisbelkis, and her cousin Alán who is 10, breaking it down in the kitchen. I’m sorry to say that if it was a competition I definitely didn’t win—Alán is way to suave for me and boy can his hips move! The three of us danced and by the end of the dance party we were SWEATING. (This is not an uncommon thing here in León the stop before hell because it is so dang hot—and hell is the next city up which is even hotter).

OK. So that was my story part—now onto the real stuff.

Since being here in Nicaragua we’ve had to adjust to the climate (still not adjusted fyi), the culture, and this adjustment comes with ups and downs. I know I had/maybe am still having, a hard time adjusting to the slow paced way of life. Everything and everyone here is on what I like to call “Nica time”. I’m used to getting things done fast, and that is not the case here. The general outlook is that things happen when they are meant to happen and people aren’t really in a rush. Coming to Nicaragua I had no idea what my placement was going to be for my internship. I had originally wanted to work with a Microfinance group that focuses on women and women empowerment and unfortunately that plan fell through. As a result I spent this past week visiting a few possible worksites, exploring León, and then going to work with Kerry at Las Tias—a before/after school tutoring program for at risk youth. At first I was a little upset and worried because I had no idea what I was going to do and Kerry was pretty much all set. I started to doubt if things were going to work out as I had thought they would. After a day or so of this and after a few talks with my friends and our director here in Nica, I realized that things like this take time and that everything happens for a reason. Towards the end of the week I had a few meetings with several other organizations and finally found a few that seem really neat. For now, I still don’t know how things will pan out, but I will be working with one organization called Project Opportunity and will be teaching/tutoring women, adults, and teens in the nearby community with English primarily but also any other help they need. I think I am also going to help them give basic health classes to mothers and toddlers in preschool (teaching the kids and mothers how to brush their teeth, and teaching CPR to mothers). When I’m not doing that I will be working with a local family of weavers who started their own cooperative and have made a great name for themselves.

This issue may or may not seem significant but it was definitely an obstacle I had to overcome. One of my friends reminded me that everything happens for a reason, and no matter what it is that I end up doing everything will be okay. I’m here for a reason and I’m here to learn and experience it all and leave my mark somehow. You gotta roll with the punches and hang loose when things don’t work out.

I’ve had such an amazing time here so far and have met so many caring people. I’m excited to see what is to come, and am ready for anything!

If you read all of this —thank you!

Adios muchachos y muchos besos,

Your Nica chica J (aka Vic.)