Uncharted Territories

Published: June 4th 2014
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It has already been 12 days since I've arrived in Nicaragua, and the time has flown by! For anyone who hasn't heard, I am working as an intern through the Foundation for Sustainable Development (FSD) for 9 weeks this summer in Jinotepe, Nicaragua. My time here has been a blur of orientation, integrating into my home stay, and 3 semi-awkward days of work. FSD's internship place interns in an organization where they then work to create a project the organization feels is important and that can be sustainable after the intern leaves. This has so far basically translated into a first week consisting of varying degrees of success in getting to know the organization, asking questions, finding my place within the organization, and finally developing an idea for a project (which will most definitely be altered in the future). As a result I have learned to slow down, ask questions in a variety of different ways, and to just be open to hanging out and talking to people to get to know the organization and community. There will be more to come on the work front, but I am very excited about some ideas that have already come up!

While work may have been a bit frustrating at first, my home stay has turned out to be a wonderful experience. Before arriving I was a bit unsure of how I would fit into my Nicaraguan family since it is composed of my "mom" was an 82 year old woman named Doña Socorro, her husband the 90 year old "dad" Don Antonio, her 72-year old brother Don Agusto Jorge, their 26-year old grandson Yasser who is only here at nights and on weekends, and their housekeeper Doña Aura. But, I have since learned that Doña Socorro has the biggest heart and is the sweetest mother I could ask for and they have all made me feel welcome and very much at home. Día de las Madres happened to be last Friday and it turned out it's a national holiday and that the entire extended family was coming to visit. With five children who have children, some of which have children of their own, it made for a very full and festive house. I couldn't have asked for a better introduction into Nicaraguan life! Food has also been an adventure, but what I can say from experience is that gallo pinto is for sure a staple of the diet, as it is present at basically every meal, but is also thankfully delicious!

Tomorrow is day 4 of work and I will be meeting with my supervisor as well as with the FSD site team to talk about my work plan for the next 8 weeks. Should be interesting...wish me luck!

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The smarter alternative to walking 5 km up a paved road in midday heat.

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