Not Cut Out for Motor Cross

Hi guys! For those of you who are still following me on my journey, thanks!! I’m going on my seventh week now—isn’t that crazy?! These seven weeks have been eye-opening, exciting, eventful, and surreal to say the least. I’m writing to you today from the roof of my house: 1. Because its 100 degrees and there is more of a breeze up here than there is inside the house; 2. Because my dad and sister have been harassing me to write another blog asap (thanks you guys); and 3. Because it’s a week late…whoops!!

This past week or two has been pretty much the same (not that any week here is ever the same as the previous one, but I’ve continued my work tutoring, working with the weavers, and teaching at the preschool), except that Kerry and I decided to backpack through the city of Granada and the islands of Ometepe last weekend! The way things panned out was very sudden and last minute, but Kerry and I made our plans, called up hostels, and researched tours we could do for that weekend on Friday night and left the next day (Saturday) at 8am! Our original plans were to go to Esteli but they fell through so we decided to use the weekend to go on another adventure (just gotta roll with the punches you know?!). Anyways the game plan was to go to Granada Saturday, spend the day and night there, then head over to Ometepe; be there Sunday and Monday, then leave Monday evening (Monday was a holiday so there was no work J). We packed our backpacks with the necessities for the weekend and made our way to Granada the next day (talk about getting stuff done!). Our goal for the weekend was to see the country and do as much as we could given our time frame. Once in Granada we locked our belongings away, and booked a tour for that same day. We had two hours before our tour to explore the city and grab a bite to eat. Granada, for those who haven’t been, is GORGEOUS. Unlike a lot of places here, the buildings are very well kept, and absolutely beautiful. The small city has beautiful churches and colonial buildings in and around the central park. After grabbing a bite to eat we went back over to the hostel because there was a 2 o’clock tour of the Isletas de Granada. The Isletas de Granada consist of approximately 365 small islands formed by a volcanic eruption and are located just outside of the main port. Our tour went so well and we returned right after sunset. We spent the rest of the evening exploring Granada and returned later at night exhausted from the day but excited for our next adventure to Ometepe (on to the next one!)

Getting to Ometepe involved taking a local bus to another city two hours away and from there a taxi to the ferry stop and from there taking the ferry (another hour) to Ometepe AND from THERE another taxi to our hostel on Ometepe. Now, I must say, Kerry and I had done SO well booking hostels and making plans and backup plans, not to mention how EVERYTHING had fallen into place and our adventure was going PERFECTLY. But Sunday morning we almost missed our bus; I mean we literally almost missed it. The bus had left the stop and had just turned the corner when all these Nica men started yelling ¨RIVAS! RIVAS! RIVAS¨. I was still half asleep and was didn’t understand why they were yelling at us, but soon realized that Rivas was the name of the bus stop we were headed to. The Nica people started motioning for us to run, so naturally we did, and as we approached the back of the bus (this isn’t a Peter Pan bus I’m talking about; this is one of those old American school buses, tricked out and packed with people), someone swung the back door open and grabbed us to hoist us on in. That was truly exhilarating and it’s really a miracle we made it. Anyways the fact that we almost missed this bus to Rivas should’ve been a sign that our streak of luck was just about running out.

Once in Ometepe we found our hostel and tried booking tours to see the island and the volcanoes that were there, but kept running into problems such as our limited time there, or the weather. We had a list of things we wanted to do and had our own plan, but ended up having to take some things off. Kerry and I weren’t upset that we couldn’t make it to all the sites, I mean, we had made it thus far without trouble and so it seemed fair.

We decided to rent a motor scooter on Monday because it seemed like the best way to see the most things in a short amount of time (Ometepe is a small island with volcanoes on both sides of the island and one road that runs around the perimeter). Renting the scooter seemed safe to us because I’d driven a friend’s scooter a couple times and there weren’t many cars on the island at all. We took the scooter out and started our mini journey of Ometepe.

Unfortunately after two hours of scooting around Kerry and I got into a moto accident. Now, we are both ok (ATTN: GRANDMA: I’M OKAY I PROMISE!!!)! All limbs are attached and nothing is broken, but Kerry and I will definitely be returning home with battle scars.

What happened was that as we were going over a speed bump (and yes, I slowed down) there was a lot of dirt and sand over the speed bump, so the scooter slid and we fell off. Kerry and the scooter fell on top of me so I walked away looking a bit worse than Kerry but we were both pretty beat up.

Turns out we had an audience during our accident and the family who had watched us fall came running to our aid. One man lifted the scooter off us while the others helped us up and ushered us into their home to clean us off. The family took us in and showed us their bathroom urging us to get in the shower and use their soap. They were so concerned and kept saying “oh, pobrecitas” and “que valientes son ellas”. The grandmother sent one daughter to go search for Band-Aids and another to search for ointment. They sat us down and made sure we were cleaned up. They offered us water and calmed us down. This was just what we needed. Their generosity and compassion for two complete strangers was beautiful and for that I am forever grateful. It may not seem like much, but this family didn’t have Band-Aids or ointment or any sort of medical supplies but they sent out their kids to go ask their neighbors so that we would be okay. They treated us like their own and made sure we were okay. After catching our breath and calming our nerves Kerry and I decided to get back on the scooter (no, we didn’t hit our heads—yes we were wearing helmets) and head to the health center in the next town over. The family that helped us suggested we go there because surely they would have Band-Aids for us.

Once we got to the health center Kerry and I walked up and joined the rest of the Nicas who were in line. The two of us were still pretty shaken up and we looked pretty beaten up considering we had nothing to hide or cover our wounds. As we waited amongst the rest of the people there we received a couple horrified looks and pity stares. Everyone else who was online appeared to just be there for a checkup and no one looked like they were injured. Because of this I walked around looking for a nurse hoping to cut the line or at least be seen, or given Band-Aids and gauze so we could be on our way. One woman noticed that we were looking lost and went into a room to talk to a nurse. We were called into a room by that nurse and were ordered to sit down. Just by her tone of voice I knew she wasn’t playing around and was pretty pissed off that we were there in the first place. She asked what was wrong with us even though she could clearly see the scrapes on our legs and arms. The nurse huffed and made a fuss about having to clean us. She cleaned my scrapes off with water and then quickly did the same with Kerry (and by cleaned I mean she dabbed wet gauze of water at my leg and reused the same gauze for the rest of my body). I had asked her for a Band-Aid or gauze to dry the scrapes and she became even more irritated and complained that we should just leave them alone. With this I became annoyed because we were hardly being treated and she began to cut me off before I could finish a sentence. Another nurse came in to see us and I asked that nurse for gauze or something to cover our wounds for the scooter ride back (to prevent more dirt from getting in). This new nurse seemed to have some sympathy and agreed to give me something for my arm and leg. Both nurses stepped out for a little while Kerry and I were left there to wait. When the original nurse returned I asked her for the Band-Aids again and she yelled, “okay, one for you but that’s enough!” I was horrified by this treatment because Kerry and I simply wanted Band-Aids or gauze. I saw the doctor was at his desk in the next room over so I got up and walked over to his desk and asked him personally for a Band-Aid or something else for Kerry. At that point I was not having any of it and had pretty much demanded that Kerry get her leg covered with something. I was furious because I’ve never been treated like that. I mean, the nurse made it clear that we were a nuisance. After Kerry was given gauze we were shooed out of the medical center. Even though we were shooed out they didn’t ask us for money and didn’t ask us to pay for their service.

Looking back on that situation I am very confused with how I should feel. One part of me is so happy I stood up for myself and my friend so that we could get a simple BAND-AID and piece of gauze, but the other part of me is slightly ashamed. There we were, two foreigners on someone else’s turf, demanding attention. Was it right that we cut the line? In the US, people in emergency rooms are treated based on the severity of their accident, but is that the case here? I am in the second poorest country in the western hemisphere, why didn’t I take into consideration that supplies are limited? Is this an example of white privilege? In that moment I was furious and in full on mom-mode making sure Kerry and I got the attention we were going to pay for no matter how pissed off they were going to act. I thought it was their job to take care of patients, but turns out we didn’t have to pay. Should I have just let them treat us as they were and accepted that we weren’t going to get any help from them?

Let me know your thoughts!

Anyways, all is good now. It’s been 2 weeks and I’ve got small scabs and some scars left to show you all. The weavers have acted as my personal nurses, going out of their way to treat me and are checking on me each day. The love they showed me is so great especially since I’m so far away from home! Everything happens for a reason and I think the scooter accident was meant to teach me that I am not cut out for motor cross (yeah, you’re welcome daddyo).

In sum, I hope that this experience will allow me to take a step back next time I find myself in situations of the like. Everything is a learning experience and a couple small blows like these won’t stop Vic!
Let the journey continue!