Living on the hill in Bella Vista at Rancho Santana

Yes, I must admit that I am probably part gypsy and love the life. Since March of this year 2015, I have been living and caretaking my friend’s house on the hill in Bella Vista in Rancho Santana. It is a hard life up here. Many of my friends don’t have a car that can make it up this hill. Too bad for them, although I do go down the hill and pick them up on occasions. You will see in the photos why I love it up here. And why this view prompts me to get my house in Guasacate built before I am too old to enjoy it.

The busy life that took place in July took several weeks to wind down. Aproquen’s Burn Prevention Campaign was, as usual, an inspiring success. We visited five schools—three in Granada area, and two in Nandaime. Over 650 pre-school, kindergarten, first and second graders, plus their teachers and some parents, received the information, coloring books about what is fire, crayons, drinks, cookies and a sweet. The older children enjoyed a giant piñata and both sections played the ticket game to see who got the Aproquen heart which meant that they won a backpack (mochilla) stuffed with school supplies. Honestly, I don’t know who has more fun at the Burn Prevention Programs, the kids or we the team.

The last day of the campaign is the 8 hour seminar for doctors and nurses. This time we added the fire fighter team from Benemerite Grupo de Bomberos to the attendee list. Although there was a rather large blip in the logistics for the seminar—the room, I thought we had arranged for the day at the Hotel Granada was cancelled due to a misunderstanding between me and the convention coordinator—we were given another suitable room the day before the event. This blip was a good lesson for me to make sure I confirm every last detail the week before the event.

Minor blips cannot alter my enthusiasm for what the team does at the seminar. I was emphatic with the seminar participants when I delivered their textbooks that they needed to study the book if they wanted to pass the exam and receive their certificate. Maybe it was their enthusiasm to learn something new, almost 90% of the group passed the exam, including the six bomberos who sat in the front row and paid the closest attention. I was more than thrilled when Dra. Icaza gave me the results and later the certificates to deliver to the participants.  Those that didn’t pass were assistants in hospitals and didn’t have much academic background.

For me it is the little things that make a huge difference. The week after the Aproquen Burn Campaign I drove again to Managua to have Hengel, the little boy who received an arm prosthesis, and his mother interviewed for La Prensa, the major Nicaragua newspaper. Dra. Icaza talked with the interviewer about the cooporation between Aproquen and the Global Medical Relief Foundation (GMRF) in the US that sponsored Hengel’s trip and medical attention. Aproquen is following up Hengel’s physical therapy needs so that his muscles will become strong and hopefully next year he will be able to receive a more sophisticated and prettier arm. At this moment Hengel is all smiles and using his new arm and its limited hand mobility.

That same week after Aproquen, I acquired a consulting job for a wound care patient in Nandaime. This was an exciting opportunity for me because I not only helped the patient and her family but I also went to her Clinic appointment at the Vivian Pellas Hospital in Managua. The Clinic ortho doctor was interested in my recommendations for the patient and appreciative of my interest in working with the family to supervise daily wound care in her home. Now I just stop by the house in Nandaime –1 hour from where I live—when I am passing the area for other trips to Granada or Managua. So far so good in the wound department, progress is being made. Thanks to my friends who sell me Bio2 Cosmeceutical AminoPlex in the US at a price I can afford.  I had the patient using AminoPlex with the daily wound care.  The ortho doc is impressed.

Now back to living on the hill in Bella Vista. There is a pair of turkey vultures that come almost everyday and either sit on the pool deck or cavort on the lawn around the pool. My friend, Barb who owns this house, named the pair Henry and Henrietta a long time ago. I think they have an offspring that comes with them so there are the three, no so attractive birds, which entertain me in the mid-afternoon. They are not in the least bit afraid of me and cock their heads as if they are listening to me talk to them. Oh, you may as well know that I have always talked to insects, animals, and plants. Doesn’t everyone?

Another perk of living on the hill is that the sunsets from here are even more spectacular than down at the condo. (If this is possible.) Everyone who has ventured up here for sunset seems to think the same. Sunset with friends and without always consists of watching the sun and clouds with a drink in hand. Drinks are not always alcoholic either. Whenever we want to socialize, we invite someone to “sunset”. This is a wonderful ritual that has seemed to develop over the ten years that I have been coming and living here in Nicaragua. We had a similar ritual when sailing. I love it. Everything else stops for sunset up here.

An idea that has become an accomplishment of the past three months is the organization of the El Limón Salons. Several friends and I had been talking about a need for this type of community for quite a while—years to be exact. Now we have come together on a monthly basis, getting better at the logistics each month.  We had our fourth Salon with 16 people in attendance on August 30th. What a thrill to meet some new folks each time, enjoy the speaker and their topic, and have fun. We are on a roll and will continue. My years attending The Inside Edge in Orange County were a great assistance to help get this group off the ground and running—at least walking for now.

Yes, this has been a good month. A cousin of mine, Terry Little, who lives in Nairobi, Kenya connected me with his friend whose daughter was volunteering for two months in northern Nicaragua, Ocotal, Nueva Segovia. Lorna and Ajuma Abungu came to visit me for two nights up here on the hill. We had a wonderful time enjoying the peacefulness up here and comparing the many similarities between living in Kenya and Nicaragua. Nairobi is a thriving metropolis in an advanced country and Managua is a “becoming” city in a third world country. Interesting social and political similarities however.

Yes, I do work as a team member with Aproquen.

Lots more I could write now, and I’ll save that for the next blog adventure.


Bombero at work in the Aproquen Burn Prevention Program

Hengel at his La Prensa interview
Hengel at his La Prensa interview
Another outstanding sunset
Another outstanding sunset
Aproquen and Coci Nica are joining to prevent burns and create more efficient cooking in the home.
Aproquen and Coci Nica are joining to prevent burns and create more efficient cooking in the home.