I had a visit last week from the PCVL (Peace Corps Volunteer Leader) from Jinotega. She's also an environment volunteer who's in her third year, and her role is to support all of the volunteers in the department. We sat and chatted in the park for awhile, and she had a TON of questions to ask me. It's nice that PC is checking up on us, but how many times can I say "I really like my host family," "I don't have any problems with my site," and "No, I haven't had any security issues." Mostly the meeting made me feel really good. I've been slightly worried that I'm not doing enough to integrate. Mostly it's just me being a perfectionist and always thinking I could be doing better than I am (being in the Peace Corps has made me much more self-aware of these kinds of things). However, she kept telling me how great it looked like I was doing. Apparently, one of the guys that works on the bus knew my name and told her which bus stop to get off at. Some ladies that she walked by knew where I lived and pointed her in the right direction. My buddy Napoleon, who works for the alcaldia and is in charge of cleaning the park, had a nice chat with us and told her about my craft group and how he helps me collect trash for our projects. One of the profesoras from the school walked by and told her how excited she is to work with me this school year. My counterpart's grandson ran past us in the park and said hi to me. So, check me out...integrating into my community! woo hoo!
I just got back today from a trip to Niquinohomo. I got to go to Granada and check out Volcan Mombacho. It's a huge, dormant volcano that overlooks the city of Granada, the isletas, and Lake Nicaragua. The original plan was to walk up, which I was told takes 2-3 hours. However, we got a later start than expected, and walking all the way up and back down would have meant getting home pretty late. So, I decided to pay for us to go up and down in the pickup trucks that are used to transport people. Somehow, we lucked out and they charged us for 2 Nicaraguans instead of 1 Nicaraguan and 1 extranjero. It costs $15 for foreigners, but I ended up paying just $12 for the two of us. The trip up the volcano, which would have taken at least 2 hours on foot, took just 10 minutes in the truck. We walked around on some of the trails at the top that go around the crater and checked out the view before grabbing some tourist-priced sodas and chips and heading back down in the truck. I definitely hope to go back there and hike another one of the trails which says it takes 4 hours and requires a guide. Luckily I have almost 2 years left here, so I'm sure I'll have the chance to go back, and maybe I'll even save some money next time and hike up.
|the isletas of Granada, formed by the volcano erupting|
|Laguna de Apoyo|
Coming up next: At the beginning of February, Nica 60 has an in-service training on how to make improved stoves and ovens! They use less firewood and produce less smoke, which makes them an environment and health-friendly alternative. Hopefully I'll be able to build some in La Concordia eventually!