Sunday, September 03, 2006

Bievenidos a San Ramon, Matagalpa

Writing from Managua at the Case del Cafe (wireless internet):

"Welcome to San Ramon. Its been a week of whirling winds here in Nicaragua. And I'm not talking about the weather. Since my last blog I have been trying my best to build a beautiful nest (nido) for Cynthia and me to live in for the next year. After linking up with a dear friend Chris Bacon - and his wonderful wife Maria Eugenia (Mari) I feel like I found the secret stash of twigs and leaves to construct a super comfortable home.

Since every family member and friend is a bit tense about the idea of us living abroad, especially in the rural areas of Nicaragua, I can honestly assure each and everyone that our life here is going to be safe, fun and well shared with a kind, local community.

Before I left the states Cynthia and I usually had to field a troubling question for which we had no anwer. Where are you going to live? Cynthia always looked at me and shrugged and then we'd offer our uncertain answers...Jinotega? Matagalpa? The Northern Mountains? Esteli? Up North? You the central highlands?

Well to all our friends and family who doubted we'd even go to Central America, let alone Nicaragua, here is our address.

Bradley Wilson, Casa de Dona Yelba, Detras del Estacion Shell, San Ramon, Matagalpa, Nicaragua. (The beauty of this address is that you need to have friends here in San Ramon, Nicaragua to interpret it).

And if you think that it isn't an address, then you've never been to Nica. You see, addresses are not based on central planning and numbers. Addresses are relational. So, directions are relational too. In Managua for instance the 4 cardinal directions are represented like this: (North - "toward the lake" - South "to the south" - West is "up" and East is "down"). As you can see - if you aren't completely confused now - the directions are based on the location of Lake Managua and the mountains in the West of the city.

So Cynthia and I will be living in Ms. Yelba's House (our landlord) behind the Shell Station (which isn't really that close) in the quaint town of San Ramon in the province of Matagalpa - 12 kilometers outside of the city of Matagalpa.

If you want a synopsis and first impression of the town here we go:

San Ramon is the birth place of coffee in Northern, Nicaragua. It is more tranquil than the now bustling city of Matagalpa which is overpopulated and at times overwhelming. San Ramon is surrounded by green lush mountains dotted with the foot prints of simple agriculture and coffee farms. In the city horses and cows vie with cars and buses for paved street space and a constant flow of people move from place to place greeting each other with the common "Adios" or "Hola" (Hello) or "Que te vaya bien" (roughly in short "I hope that all goes well") or Oye (I'm listening). When people see me - and I kind of stand out - you'll hear "Oye Chele" - or "Whats up whitey." There are older ladies in town who make and sell fresh tortillas in the morning and afternoon, and our neighbors produce and sell their own raw milk. We'll be able to get fresh milk and cheese daily just by reaching a pitcher over our fence, boiling it and adding it to our coffee. I've already tried it...Its wonderful! The pitfalls of a town like San Ramon is that its a bit more remote from telephone and internet connection and sometimes the lights do out. Well, really, this isn't unique for San Ramon. The problem recently is that copper prices have risen and some robbers stole the wiring from a part of the telephone poles between Matagalpa and San Ramon. It rendered the town phoneless for the past week. But, with a cell phone and a short 15-20 minute bus ride or drive to Matagalpa I think anyone can stay connected.

More to come including pictures of out little abode and some notes on friends I've run into so far like Alex Mansell (Tyler's roommate and family friend), Chris and Mari Bacon (research partner) and Ayn Setright (the director of my study abroad program here 6 years ago) who just so happened to be picking up her new cohort of students at my hotel this morning in Managua.

Surprises around every corner.


Maeve said...

Yay! It sounds wonderful. I am so glad you've found a happy 'nest' I'm sending you my love and prayers.

nishat said...

The scents and color of the world of Nica is spreading all the way to Jersey...thanks for writing so eloquently.Love and a HUGE hug, Nishat

Aunt D. said...

Best wishes to both of you. What a great way to keep in touch. I'll be checking in regularly. All's well here in Virginia. We survived the hurricane...just rain 2.5 inches to be exact. Looking forward to some crisp, cool weather. Take care,
Love, Aunt Doris

lauraandcyrus said...

what's up, whitey? sounds like an amazing time so far. the only thing that would make it better is some jerk(ed) chicken while relaxing in a hot tub and watching movies under the stars. much love from seattle!

le monstre said...


Bob Weber said...

Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful experiences with us all! Can't wait to see your photos and more. Sending all our love from the Weber clan!, Bob

Sham said...

Welcome to your new home!! May it bring you much happiness, laughter and the pitter patter sound of small feet!! We miss you already, but are delighted to be in your old home for a while. Keep writing - AND WHERE ARE THE PHOTOS?!!! - Sham, Joa & Arian.

sean_el_beasto said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
sean_el_beasto said...

Oooo, jungle! I'm sending a postcard!