Blogs from Masaya, Capital Region, Nicaragua, Central America Caribbean


My first stop in this trip was Masaya volcano. My hotel was a a cabin in Nindiri with a spectacular view of Masaya lake. Very quiet and beautiful place all to ourselves. Definitively a place I recommend. Check this video taken there: It's not my first volcano. But it's the first with an actual lava lake!! for this, I needed to go in the evening. To make sure of the location, I went by day at Masaya volcano park entrance. But then, what a deception!! An american acrobat did walk above the crater on a metal wire last evening, and the volcano was closed for 3 days to leave time to disassemble and clean it all..... I planned to go back there at end of vacations, but sadly, corona virus alerts made me cut short my ... read more
bleu gray tanager
Our cabin
lava flow

On one of our days in Granada we went with a few people from the hostel to see the Mesaya Volcano. We did an evening tour so we would be able to see the lava clearly. The shuttle left at four and we stopped half way at an artisan market and did a bit of souvenir shopping. We got to the national park around 5:30pm and then had to wait around a bit until it opened at 6 - the key is to be at the front of the queue! We were driven to the top and got out to look into the crater. It was amazing - I can see why it's known as the 'Mouth of Hell'. It was loud and the thunder and lightning just added to the effect of it. We weren't ... read more
Me at the Mouth of Hell
With Fabian
The sky in the background!

Masaya is one of 18 distinct volcanic centers that make up the Nicaraguan portion of the Central American Volcanic Belt. Formed by the subduction of the Cocos Plate beneath the Caribbean Plate, this belt of volcanoes runs from volcán Tacaná in Guatemala to Irazú in Costa Rica. In 1979, Masaya became Nicaragua's first national park, named Parque Nacional Volcan Masaya. The park has an area of 54 km² and includes two volcanoes and five craters. Volcan Masaya is about 30km west of Granada and is one of Nicaragua's most active and unusual volcanoes. In contrast to most other volcanoes in subduction zones, it has been erupting mainly fluid basaltic lava. At the time of the Spanish Conquistadors, it contained an active lava lake and it is rumoured that there were attempts to extract the volcano's molten ... read more
The lava pool. Super huge and super bright.
An attempted selfie with the lava pool
Slightly different view of lava pool

A small puebla in the region of Masaya called San Juan de la Concepcion hosts the La Mariposa Escuela de Espanol. A teacher colleague, back in Oregon, recommended the school to me and the idea of taking some Spanish classes here. I spent four nights at Casa de Gonzalo with a beautiful home-stay family and four nights at the school which is also an Eco-hotel, rain reforest area, dog sanctuary, bird, horse and monkey rescue. The personnel at the school encouraged students to use the village as their access to language learning. In no time, my brain had switched from English to Spanish and the genuine people were kind and welcoming to a giant white woman from North America. Through the lense of my camera and speaking Spanish I befriended the puebla of San Juan de ... read more
San Juan de la Concepcion
La Mariposa Escuela de Espanol
San Juan de la Concepcion

And so my time here in Jinotepe comes to an end. In nine weeks this community has truly become a home to me. I have gained a new family in my home stay (¡muchisimas gracias a mi familia nicaragüense!), worked alongside the wonderful employees of the Centro de Salud Jinotepe, and explored the natural beauty of Nicaragua. The 15 minute walk to and from work twice a day has become the most natural activity and I can't imagine that I will not be doing it again next Monday. At the Centro I have been welcomed as a fellow employee and I feel comfortable and useful there. I have gained at least 8 new mothers in form of the nurses and doctors who work at the Centro, all of whom love to check in and remind me ... read more
Final test
Anticonceptive Activity

Advice for giving a condom demonstration to adolescents: - Be prepared for uncontrollable laughter in response to the presence of a dildo and condoms - Explain the importance of using a condom multiple times because they were likely laughing and didn't hear the first time - Be flexible with how the presentation goes, you might need to try something else to get the attention of the adolescents - Bring plenty of condoms for everyone to try, because in the end no one wants to be left out of the fun! I walked into my first condom demonstration last Tuesday with only a vague idea of those pieces of advice, a dildo, and 5 condoms, graciously lent by the epidemiologist and the pharmacy in the Centro de Salud. Last week's class was the main idea with which ... read more
Explaining the correct steps
Learning in partners

Six weeks feels like six days when doing development work. I can’t believe how fast the time has flown by and that I now only have 3 weeks left working in my community, with the Centro, and with the wonderful people I have gotten to know here! Before leaving for this trip I thought 9 weeks was going to be an incredibly long time to do a project, but I have figured out very quickly that it is really only enough time to scratch the surface. It has been interesting as well to meet volunteers in other programs that are only here volunteering for 2 or 3 weeks (normally a decent length for a trip but now equal to the amount of time I have left) and I can’t even imagine at this point being here ... read more
Quiz time!
Myths & Facts -  Demonstrating what not to do...
Ensalada de Fruta para las Embarazadas!

First, if you don’t know the history of Nicaragua, go do some research. The country has a very recent history of war (both the revolution and later the Contra War) which is remembered vividly by those who fought during those years - both as part of the revolution or just to survive. The revolutionary group was called el Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional (FSLN) and is also the political party currently in power. The politics today are very complicated, and people here have varying opinions about the current political groups and issues, but this post is not about that; it is about reminiscing about the past. The grandparents I live with have five sons, three of which were active during the war in the southern part of the country and have some incredible stories to tell. ... read more
FSLN Caravan
El Ostional Beach
The family

The first meetings! Success comes in many different sizes, and in the last few weeks they have ranged anywhere from getting used to a spanish keyboard to actually holding my classes and having participants! There is, however, good news and bad news for this week. The good news. I have now successfully held two of my meetings and people actually showed up! First, I just want to say that Midwives are amazing people and invaluable resources in their communities. I have so much respect for anyone who takes on that responsibility, especially in a semi-rural, developing place, and the extent to which they know everyone in their community is incredible. My first two meetings took place in La Competencia, a neighborhood in Jinotepe, and all we had to do to spread the word was tell the ... read more
Cathedral in León
León + volcanos
Sunset on Las Peñitas beach!

Lunch of fresh avocado and mango straight from the tree? Yes please! I've had the opportunity to visit two rural communities in the last few days with the Centro de Salud - El Tanque and San Esteban. Of course the main focus was the public health aspect - vaccinations, consultations, a few pap exams, and treatment of any standing water against mosquito larvae - but I can't deny that I also loved the fresh fruit and the lovely countryside! The visits only happen once a month to each community and it sounds like not all the inhabitants get a check-up out of the trip, but it is a good effort and a decent amount of people are reached. For example, today we set up a clinic in one of the houses in San Esteban and locals ... read more
Fresh Mangos!
Learning about water treatment
Clinic in the field

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