Living in the Season of Gripe (Gripé in Espańol)

Just because I am highly familiar with the seasonal disease of gripé doesn’t mean that I have it or want it for that matter.  However, the Clinic has many patients that can afford to go to see the doctor.  And I give my nursey advice to the family members who can’t afford doctors in my compound.  If their fever is high for more than a day with acetaminophen, I take or send them to the Clinic.  I don’t want to be thought of as the replacement for the doctor.  

Gripé has fascinated me since my very first trip to Nicaragua and work at the Clinic.  It is definitely a seasonal disease, like the flu, and is more dangerous to the very young and very old, like the flu.  Since it is such a common occurrence down here, I am not sure if it is a viral or bacterial infection.  From the information I get from the doctors at the Clinic, I don’t think they know the etiology either, what is the root cause of the disease.

Enough of gripé.  The past four weeks have been a major study in acquiring patience, a subject that I seem to learn over, and over, and over some more.  My Mom used to play Solitaire a lot and I believe it was not so much out of boredom as it was a study in patience.  AARP games is about to run out of forms of Solitaire that I haven’t tried and when I win a game twice I go on to another form of the game.  I suppose I could read some of the many nursing journals that I brought down with me, but reading takes a modicum of concentration.  Maybe reading would be better for acquiring patience.

In case you may be wondering why the need for patience now, let me count the ways.  First on the list is my application for Nicaraguan residency as an investor.  I want to continue to work and receive an income of some sort here.  As a retired resident, you are not allowed to receive an income.  My attorney in Managua had me come to his office three weeks ago to fill out the paper for the Ministry of Finance (MIFIC).  That was an interesting exercise and the first step to be certified by MIFIC as an investor.  I do qualify as an investor under the law since I have spent more that the $50K required in the country.  Remember, I am buying a condo that has rented full time for the past three years.  My investment more than meets the requirement.   The commercial property that I purchased and want to build a project–lavandería, auto storage for longterm parking, auto wash, cyber cafe, and office for rent. is more in line with what the NI government wants for an investor.  Questions on the form were related to, “How many people would the project employ?  And what is the goal of the project?”  My attorney also wanted me to put down the Cuidadores de Personas program on the form, although I certainly don’t have an income from that project and doubt that I ever will.  However, maybe if I am patient long enough that program will also become a success.  Caregiving certainly is a successful business in the US.  As a result of this application, I had to go to Managua last week to bring two MIFIC employees out to see my projects. Remember Nicaragua is a poor country and the government can’t afford boondoggles outside of the office.  So the applicant has to provide transportation.  I could pay for a taxi.  For me going to Managua means having a driver who will negotiate the Managua madness of traffic.  I like the three hour drive as it is beautiful and Managua is certainly a lot cleaner now than it was in the past, even though it is a chaotic city. There are two men who I like as drivers, Byron Vasquez lives in Limón Uno, and Edwin Chavez, lives here in Limón Dos. Both of these men are drivers for Rancho Santana and I have known them for years.  Neither of them speak English because they are too shy and afraid to do so, however, they understand English VERY WELL.  Byron particularly is fun to have as a driver.  When we start the trip, I describe the mission.  Byron then accompanies me to all the venues that require Spanish speaking only.  He listens carefully to the instructions then repeats for me the jist of the conversation.  When I start speaking my Spanish and he senses that I am going down the wrong road with my words, he jumps in and sets me back on the straight path of the conversation/interrogation. Byron has now been with me on two trips to the Ministry of Extranjeros, to MIFIC, and to MINSA–Ministry of Health for my Cuidadores de Personas project.  The most recent trip to MIFIC required two trips to Managua to pick up and return the two women employees.  They apparently thought my application was verifiable and said they would ok my Certificate. 

Here is where the patience comes in though.  Now I have to wait for my attorney to finish the papers for formation of a corporation for the commercial project.  As in the US, a corporation only needs two people at the beginning to be a legal entity.  My attorney, who is fluent in English because he lived in So. CA during the wars here, is the other person at present in the corporation besides me.  The corporation is called Dos Hermanas–Two Sisters.  I thought my friend was going to be my partner and we call each other sisters.  Dos Hermanas is a more friendly name than Dos Amigos in this culture, at least from my perspective.  So Jaime Hernandez, the attorney, is registering the corporation as Dos Hermanas in Limón Dos.

Second on the list of patience propagating elements is the wait for quotes on building the commercial project. I play Solitaire rather than do something constructive. 

I honestly do more than play Solitaire.  This week, I made juice from two new, to me, fruits–granadillo and calala.  I love calala–passion fruit.  The granadillo was too thick and rather tasteless until I added a bit of the concoction I make of boiled ginger root and lemonade that I use to mix with jimaica–hibiscus–tea.  There are a lot of us Julia Child like individuals down here.  Fortunately we are all willing to experiment and share–the good, and the bad concoctions.

News from my compound is that we will have two more babies here within the next six months.  I need to get busy making hooded towels again.  This was my ALWAYS gift for new babies in my family.  I think that some of my older grandchildren still have their towels that I made when they were born.  Good terry cloth lasts forever.  I’ll have to see what I can buy here when I go to Managua again as the selection of items is tenfold greater in Managua then in Rivas.  Did I mention that there is a PriceMart in Managua? PriceMart was started by Sam Price who started Price Club in the US and then sold to Costco.  PriceMart looks like Costco.  Of course, I got a membership.  Where else could I get salmon to bake and mushrooms?  I almost cried when I went to the frozen fish section and saw the salmon in several forms.  One thing I found interesting at PriceMart is that there are the sample stations AND they give out samples of Flor de Cańa rum and Chilean wines for tasting.  Can you believe tasting wine or rum–ron in Espańol–before noon?  No, I didn’t sample the ron but I did sample the wine before I bought a box of Chilean cabernet.  I said I wasn’t driving.

Hopefully, I’ll have some interesting Thanksgiving stories for the next blog.  There is usually a big feast at the restaurant at Rancho Santana and several other places as well.  I’m going to RS for the feast.

Photos for this issue:   Stickball in the road in front of the house,  The Guzmán cows–vacas–escaping from the backyard,  Fresh pasta project at Dixie’s kitchen (the pump wasn’t working so no water for this event–welcome in our world),  Mombacho Volcano from Pan American Highway outside of Nandaime enroute from Managua.