Hi all, Jordan here. It’s been a crazy, busy, and great 3 days since we last posted.
On Friday, we got up super early (5:30 am) so we could catch the 6:30 am bus to the town of Rivas. This “chicken bus” is an experience in and of itself. People pile into the bus so tightly that people stand on the stairs while they are riding. So the bus is just a normal school bus, but we estimated that there had to have been at least 75 people crammed in that thing at once (and that’s a low estimate). So the bus ride was about an hour and a half to Rivas, and we were there to buy shoes for the kids in Las Salinas to use for soccer. One thing I learned in Rivas is that everything in Nicaragua seems to be a process. Every place we went into took a long time, both on the store’s end and on our end (the soccer coach and some other natives accompanied us). We had a delicious lunch at a restaurant in town, and it only cost around $4, which was mind-blowingly cheap. We did some shopping of our own, including supplies for some of the educational pieces we’ll be doing here, and then we got ready for the bus ride back. We had to RUN to the doors of the bus, because people rush the door like they do at the mall on Black Friday. Once we all got onto the bus, we waited for a long time (everything is a process) before we took off. During that time, food vendors walked through the already overstuffed bus, and we were shoved up against the seats as they walked by. Needless to say, the bus might not have been the most pleasant experience, but we had the true Nicaraguan experience riding it.
We stopped in the town of Limon to see the Ford Foundation, which is an organization that helps out in the community through education and farming, as well as other ways. They were hosting a big fair on Saturday for the community, which we were able to attend.
The fair was a super fun experience, and we were able to see a lot. There were kids who did cultural dances, lots of different food and craft vendors, and other organizations like the library and another local clinic. There was also a soccer tournament that the kids from Las Salinas competed in, and we saw some of the shoes we purchased for them being used on the field, which was cool. We returned to Equilibrio and the chef taught us how to make Nacatamales. These are Nicaraguan tamales, which are at least 3 times as big as the tamales I’m used to seeing.
Today was our free day, which we will also call our “bucket list day.” It started out with surfing lessons at 8 in the morning. Our surf instructor, Morrie, is a New Zealander, and he was a great teacher. We had a lesson about how waves are formed, and then did a lot of practice on the beach with how to stand up. Then we went into the water, where we all managed to stand up on several occasions, which was super exciting. We finished around 11:00, and we went to the yoga studio, where we were able to eat the Nacatamales we made the day before, and have a little rest time to recover from surfing and get ready for our next adventure. At 2:00, we had Favio, a gentleman from Las Salinas, meet us at the yoga studio with his horses so we could go on a horseback riding trip on the beach. It was a beautiful ride, and we even had some majestic galloping down the beach. We finished our ride at Magnific Rock, a resort overlooking the ocean, and we were able to hang out there and watch the sunset.
We had an absolutely incredible day, and now we are properly board burnt, sunburnt, bruised, and sore from all of our adventures. The past few days were a change of pace from working in the clinic, and we definitely were able to immerse ourselves in the culture with the fair and going to Rivas. We will have another day of work tomorrow in Las Salinas, and then we will head to Granada on Tuesday, so stay tuned!