A little Duran Duran to get the creative juices flowing. Cynthia and I are sitting at the end of a busy day, recuperating after a busy week and preparing ourselves for our first observation of Nicaragua's national election on Sunday, November 5th. Cynthia just reminded me that today was also our first day eating rice and beans for 3 meals. We are deepening our love affair with the northern highlands everyday. After a month of crazy feeding schedules, cooking experiments and some intestinal infections caused by eating out too much (so it has been diagnosed) we are breaking into the local cuisine and local markets. Our house assistant Veronica hooked us up with a local farmer who produces Yucca, Chaya (variety of small squash), and Ayote (variety of large squash). We are also buying beans and rice in bulk and venturing into the cavernous market in La Guanuca. On my recent trips into the campo (countryside) I am meeting and making friends with a lot of farmers who have gifted platanos, bananas, oranges, sweet limes, mangos and peppers in massive quantities. Cynthia and I are well stocked.
This past week gave us a bit of a scare for the first time since arriving to San Ramon. Cyn took ill and over the course of 24 hrs. got very dehydrated. We went to a clinic in Matagalpa where she was diagnosed with a digestive infection. After a night in the hospital and a few IVs Cyn was back on her feet and back to her art work. She's been taking it easy for the week and has finished her meds. She'll start back up with language school next week, but only 3 days a week from here on out. I am so proud of Cynthia, she has passed through her first (and hopefully last) major health hurdle that stares down every gringo in Nicaragua.
From the Sports News Desk, I've been playing and coaching soccer for the Pumas a local team. Last week I scored my first goal (and probably my last) and we won our first game of the season. Our team is a bit of a motley crew. This past week the coaching staff (me and Alvaro - my research partner) decided to start all the youngest players on the team (and the gringo) to give the chavalos (boys) a chance to strut their stuff. We've been having a tough time as a team because of divisions caused by big age differences among the starters. Feuds were erupting between the adults and youth on the team over practicing, drinking/smoking, and talking trash. It looks like the young guys (16-18) won their position as the starters and we'll just have to wait and see if the older guys stick around for the rest of the season. This old gringo, for one, is planning to stay and see if these young guys can make it to the finals.
We've done a bit of traveling lately in our new car (La Chelita) and with friends Alvaro and Ivonne (see picture above).On Saturday we ventured out to an area called El Chile. El Chile is an indigenous community about 40 minutes outside of San Ramon. Getting to El Chile is a trek. The roads are not paved and you have to cross a few rivers/big streams (thanks to our manly mobile we made it without any problems). There we visited a weaving collective formed by a group of indigenous women.