Yes, I’m Alive in Nicaragua

It has been six months since I last posted a blog.  I’m sorry for the lack of attention to the news from my paradise.  Some of you may not understand the reason for my being out of touch and there are several causes.

In mid-April, the troubles (my friend from So. Africa calls it) began in Nicaragua.  The troubles affect us physically out here in rural Rivas Department in much the same manner as it is affecting the folks in the large cities and other parts of the country.  The September issue of the New Yorker magazine has a wonderfully accurate article titled Fake News: Crisis in Nicaragua written by a reporter who came here to see for himself and write about it.  I recommend that you read the story online to understand some of my angst.

Rancho Santana among most of the other tourist areas all over the country is suffering greatly by the cessation of travelers.  More than 90% of the businesses in our area are closed temporarily and some of them permanently.  This, of course, has meant that many people are out of jobs.  I am proud to say that the owners of Rancho Santana and the RS department managers have done their best to keep the Nicaraguan staff working, while sending the “gringo” employees back to their countries where they have job opportunities.  Other businesses that are still open have thinned their staff and reduced the salaries of those still employed.  This same situation is occurring in all Departments. Soy triste.

Although I consider myself Nicaraguense now, I commend USA Ambassador to Nicaragua, Laura Dogu, for her clear headed guidance and information posting to US citizens.  The STEP alerts are non-judgemental and factual.  So much for Reason #1.

Reason #2.  In June, Rivka and Brian Bent sent me a ticket to come to San Juan Capistrano, CA to house and dog sit for them while they traveled to the Wheels and Waves Event in France and Spain.  This is the fifth year that Brian was invited to participate as a performer and he took Rivka and Esther along for the fun this time.  I was thrilled with this great opportunity to see my CA families who came down to SJC to see me.  Also I connected with many friends who I haven’t seen in 20 years.  Since I was in charge of a five bedroom house, I could invite friends to spend a sleepover with me. The weather was GRAND.  I didn’t have to wear three layers of clothing to stay warm.  I was able to visit with the Bents upon their return for a couple of days before I ventured back to my home in Nicaragua.

While I was away, an Australian friend stayed at my condo for a couple of weeks to be away from the troubles that were severely affecting her house in Laguna de Apoyo.  It was definitely a win-win for both of us.

Another win-win is that I now have a permanent roommate, Sherry Long.  Sherry is my friend Abby Smith’s mother and had been living in Granada for one year.  When the troubles began, Abby didn’t think that Sherry was safe where she lived and that was the case.  Sherry has a dog.  It became impossible for her to walk Rue in the area around her home.  So now I have a roommate and friend.  Sherry is somewhat of a hermit which works great for both of us.  She stays in her room most of the time and doesn’t mind the series of dinner guests that parade in and out of my home.  I believe we definitely have a win-win.

Since my decision was made to no longer rent my condo on Airbnb or to others than Sherry, I finally decided to empty the “personal locked closet” where I stored all the precious items that I didn’t want used by renters.  It took me a whole day to empty the crates, rearrange most of the kitchen, sort out and give away duplicates, and then work on a redecoration project.  I now have new sofa cushions and pillows, new pictures on the walls from my stored stash and a sense of contentment that I haven’t felt since I moved from CA five years ago.  I’ve got my feet on the ground again.

OK, so that you don’t get the idea that I am sitting here eating bonbons, I have taken on a new 5 day a week job.  I’m the ESL teacher for the INATEC certificate program for adults at Fun Limón.  I have four levels of classes–one beginner’s, two level three and four, and one level six.  I teach Tuesday through Friday from 1 to 6 with an hour break between two levels.  On Saturday, I teach a new group from 8 to 12.  Classes began on August 28th and will continue for 10 weeks.  The salary is a pittance but this keeps me off the streets and is fun.  Since most of the students except level six have very little English skill, I am using a lot of Spanish and they are helping me when I need to be corrected–another win-win.

I will continue to review and edit online medical courses for Continua because I have my mornings free to research, study, and review the medical stuff.  All of this keeps me thinking positively about our future here.

Please stay in touch and if you want to follow what is going on in Nicaragua, I recommend the website news or #sosnicaragua.

The quilt was one of my Aunt Hilda’s.  I don’t know how old it is but I think it is probably at least 60 years old.  It’s all sewn by hand.

The I AM calligraphy hung in my houses in CA since the 1970s and I’m happy to see the George Bernard Shaw quote back up on the wall here along with Brian’s early paintings and the water color that Greg did when he was about 6 yrs. old.

The modern lady is a painting by my roommate Sherry Long.  The collage is done by students at Una Escuelita compiled by my friend Pope Noell, the owner of Una Escuelita.

Hope you all enjoy.

Solo el amor prevalece.

2 thoughts on “Yes, I’m Alive in Nicaragua

  1. Margie, I am relieved that you are OK. The news about Nicaragua is depressing. The great news here is that our 28-month-old grandson gets cuter every day. Ann and I take care of him three days a week, and Lydia’s husband’s family take him the other two days. Rod and Lydia will never need a baby sitter. Lydia is expecting a little girl in late January. My Spanish is still pretty bad, but Mateo will ultimately teach me. Rod and his parents are from Bolivia, so we agreed that they will only speak to him in Spanish. He talks a lot now, but one has to listen closely because he does exchange English and Spanish words. He has figured out that he should use “water” at our house and “agua” at his other grandparents’ house. It is interesting to watch him learn two languages at once. If only we as children could have learned two languages. I think my grandmother, your Aunt Frances, understood German. After my grandfather died, my Dad, who was then only 11, said Grandpa Vollmann would visit and speak in German. I also remember my grandmother when she was quite old speak with great disdain about someone who spoke “Plattdeutsch.” Did Aunt Hilda or your Dad have much exposure to German? He and his brother both came from Germany together. My mother’s father came from Germany when he was a teenager, so there was definitely a lot of German in her house and neighborhood on George Street near St. Alphonsus. Did your grandparents speak any German? How about your Mom’s family? I assume she was from Indiana since she met your Dad there.

    I am rambling, and it is late. It is always good to hear from you. Cousin Al

  2. That quilt is gorgeous; the one above your bed – wow! Did aunt hilda create it?

    I am happy to hear you are grounded. 😊

    I’m happy to hear you and Sherry are rooming together well…

    And it is wonderful to see your art work back in your home… and your roommate is a wonderful artist! Yeah!

    Love you 😍

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