Posted by: HelenRortvedt | 7 March 2006

In like a lamb…

Despite my previous weekend in Nicaragua’s Lion (Leon), March has rolled in here in Jinotepe more like a lamb. Just a little hustle and bustle about turning in grades for February last week, and the mercury has been rising slowly and steadily towards “summer” in the tropics. The calm start of March has paved the way for it’s departure as a full-fledged Lion. We’ll see…

I have 4.5 weeks left in my internship, which at times seems like a lot, and other times, I find myself begging the calendar for a few more days…mostly Saturdays and Sundays, but still. The chaos at Juan Jose has leveled off into a dull, predictable (and often frustrating) stream of half interested students in and out of the English Lab 42 times a week. That’s right. I have 42 different classes. Thank goodness I don’t have to do it all on my own…

Aside from the doldrums of the English Lab, life in Nica has taken a sharp turn into the fast lane, it seems. I have basically scheduled every minute of free time and weekends from here on out until my Semana Santa (Holy Week) departure from Jinotepe on April 8th.

This past weekend, I ventured down a very rocky, dusty and (at times) treacherous road, complete with streams, cows and hitchhiking campesinos. We made the trek in a car that rivalled Mike Shoemaker’s 1987 Geo Prism (in which we made the arduous journey from St. Olaf down the length of I-35 and onto the National Seashore outside of Corpus Christi, Texas without 5th gear and with well over 200,000miles…) Only this time, it was a 1987 Hyundai, and we did not have the luxury of the US Interstate highway system. We arrived finally at El Astillero, a small fishing village just over the Carazo border into the Rivas department on the Pacific coast. The beach was gorgeous, empty and protected. It made for great swimming, and a killer sunset. The bay is flanked to the North by an estuary (the mouth of the Rio Escalante), so I of course (nerd that I am) had a great time playing the the freshwater (agua dulce) and then running into the ocean just steps away at high tide. We arrived back in Jinotepe around 8pm, after a seemingly endless drive back. I managed to escape sunburn once again, so I was altogether pleased with the outing.

On Sunday, I went to Masaya to visit a friend of mine who is also an FSD intern. We walked all over town, including straight up the ridiculously steep and exposed hill that dominates the town to the old Fort-turned-political-prison, Coyotepe. The view from the top was amazing, and the Nica boy scout-led tour (no joke, the Nica Boy Scouts “patrol” the fort and offer tours) was less than impressive. We have made plans to explore as much as we can in our few remaining weekends. This weekend we will check out the beaches near San Juan del Sur (she is convinced she is going to teach me how to surf…), then the following weekend we plan to head into the mountains of Esteli, and then after that, My dad and I will head back into the mountains the following weekend near Matagalpa before my final weekend here in Jinotepe approaches. Dad is scheduled to arrive next Wednesday here in Nicaragua to do a volunteer job with Winrock International, and I am really looking forward to his visit! I also have to find some time to make a trip to the Nica Immigration office in Managua and beg them to extend my visa, so I can stay for Semana Santa, and go to the Isla de Ometepe with Andrea.

While I don’t love my internship, (there are lots of downs and sporadic ups) I had a great teaching moment this morning, so I feel good right now. Yesterday was another story entirely. I left feeling very down and frustrated. But, in general, it is the people I am meeting and the places I am discovering here in Nica that keep me motivated. I am loving this country, if not the work I am doing here.

I will post pictures later on, have to run to a meeting. Hope you are all well!



  1. SMELLY! I’m having a great time reading your blog. Makes me a bit jealous. Just for the record, it was a 1991 Geo Prizm and 5th gear worked until about Kansas on our way home. Love ya, Smell. Hope things continue to go fabulously.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: