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Central America Semester, Fall 2012


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A child is a delicate creature. In a poverty-stricken country such as Nicaragua suffering is rampant, and children are among the most affected. Hunger and sickness can be devastating to a young child who is developing and especially needs as much energy as possible devoted to their own growth. Often the results of hunger, of sickness, can be deadly; sometimes, the results are far worse than death.

American companies manufacture all sorts of unhealthy products. Foods are one of the most well-highlighted examples – think Food Inc, think Supersize Me1. It makes sense that these products, which are legal in the United States, would be so heavily concentrated on. After all, we’re very concerned about what is in our food. We pay very little attention to products that are illegal to sell in the US (Not entirely true – there is quite a bit of attention paid to illegal drug trafficking) that it's become somewhat of a nonissue that a US company still produces a certain type of very powerful shoe glue. The fact that it's sold to Central American countries is also not a very big deal. We've overlooked the fact that the glue is illegal to sell in these countries as well2, but that's a minor issue in the minds of the companies that distribute their product. They also don't care that the glue, designed to fix shoes, more often provides a different kind of fix.

In a week it's hard to absorb the different stages of Los Quincos3,4. Children as young as 3 are addicted to a chemical from this particular type of glue, which they can acquire in the marketplace bottles of the glue for less than the price of a meal. For the poor children who live in the marketplace, this is their way of warding off the hunger, for inhaling the glue gives the illusion of a full stomach. What's more, the stuff gives a high - The street name for the chemical in the glue is Pega, which literally translates to Hit5. And, it's addictive. The process of withdrawal described to the group reminded me of how my parents tried to describe what Ray Charles went through in rehabilitation, when I was too young to properly understand what an addiction was - and the same age as some of the kids in recovery. In the filter house, the first stage of the Los Quinchos program, street kids are put in an in-house treatment program. It's hardly fair to call them street kids - one Pega addict who looked no older than 15 revealed himself to be 22, as old as the oldest among our group of dragons. There's also young kids, as I mentioned, and they're the 18-20%6 that usually make up the success stories of Los Quincos. The 20% that make it through the full program of the filter house move on to La Finca, the farm, or alternatively the girls’ house.

The boys of La Finca live some 10 minutes walk outside the city6. Despite their distance from the population center, and their relatively rural location (Although it's near a city, the transformation from bustling college town to forest is almost instantaneous, with little to no suburb in between.), the farm has experienced several robberies (sometimes of the cute baby chicks but of personal belongings as well). To combat this, Los Quinchos got a grant from an Italian company that will allow them to build a fence around La Finca. Although the cost of the raw materials for the fence was covered, the cost of the labor was not, and so it was our job to help put up the fence. We worked two mornings on building the fence and spent quite a bit of time entertaining the boys. Dillon became extremely confused when a young child came running up to him yelling Estas Caballito! (You're a little horse8!) It soon became clear that what they wanted was for us to give them piggyback rides at full speed. When we couldn't run as far as they wanted, they insisted on forcing us to run into each other (while they were riding our backs) as the cute little kids kicked, punched and grabbed at each other. I was reminded of many days spent mediating swimming-noodle fights between young campers at summer camp.

The girls’ house was a similar distance away in the opposite direction. When we arrived there, we were greeted with hugs all around. We had brought colored pencils and art supplies to entertain the girls. However, some of the girls thought of something that they thought would be far more entertaining. As one member of our group observed, "I just don't think it's possible for a white person to dance as well as a Latin person. I mean, they can, but it will always just be a white person imitating a Latin person dancing. White people can't dance, guys9!" These girls seemed to have this already figured out, because they pulled 4 of the guys into one of the bunk rooms and forced us into a Macarena dance-off. Needless to say, I won the dance-off, with the assistance of Michael (I put this in for my sister's sake, who right now thinks I'm making a really stupid joke, and she'd be right.) Speaking of my sister, I want to give a shoutout to my sister and all her various friends who have subjected me to similar tortures10. Through this experience I've learned something. Preteen girls, the world over, will NEVER give up the opportunity to make a teenage boy do something that makes him feel uncomfortable, humiliated or just plain silly.

1As an aspiring filmmaker, these were the most obvious examples. I’m interested to know if those two popped to the mind of others as they did for me, given their cultural significance not only for filmmakers but in general

2There’s a joke I wanted to make here, but I’m at a loss as to what it was.

3Los Quincos is the name of the program that we worked with for a week in San Marcos. La Finca, which translates to “The Farm,” is the younger boys living complex. I forgot what the girls house is called – I’m not sure if this has to do with the fewer number of visits to the girls house or the fact that as a man I subconsciously prioritized the group I could identify with more in my head… It’s probably the former; I have the tendency to be very cynical and interpret things WAY too much.

4Why do I use italics for both foreign words and movie titles?

5…And now for random English words as well…

6The statistic we were given was â…™ to â…•.

710 minutes at my speed, which is about 20 minutes at a normal person’s pace.

8Caballo can be used in many different forms. It is used to speak of the animal, a horse. It can be used to refer to a fool, someone who is tonto as described by Claudio, a young citizen of El Lagartillo. It can also be used to describe a person as a stud.
9This quotation was taken directly after this person failed to perform a dance move being taught to him by a latin dancer. It also spawned the phrase flamboyant mandance in the yak of the millennium posted by Jackie and Maura.

10Also, a shoutout to my history teacher Rachel Hirsch, who taught me how to use what she calls “Smartass footnotes,” as frequently as possible. As you can see, Rachel, I’m putting them to good use.

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Central America Semester, Fall 2012

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In which I describe our experience in San Marcos and make a fool of myself.

Rock Pulak,Central America Semester, Fall 2012

Description

A child is a delicate creature. In a poverty-stricken country such as Nicaragua suffering is rampant, and children are among the most affected. Hunger and sickness can be devastating to a young child who is developing and especially needs as much energy as possible devoted to their own growth. Often the results of hunger, of […]

Posted On

10/23/12

Author

Rock Pulak

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A country is not of one voice, but hundreds, thousands intertwined together. The inhabitants of which are of the same flesh and blood. A mother, a father, son, daughter. To quote Siddhartha, (a book I have steadily fallen head over heels for along this trip) struck me as relevant in a time engulfed by factions. It helped remind me of how interconnected we are to each other as a people in a world so small. The actions of one nation are felt by those hundreds of miles away.
-“the water changed to vapor and rose, became rain and came down again, became spring, brook and river, changed anew, flowed anew. But other voices accompanied it, voices of pleasure and sorrow, good and evil voices, laughing and lamenting voices hundreds of voices, thousands of voices… They all belong to each other: the lament of those who yearn, the laughter of the wise, the cry of indignation and the groan of the crying. They were all interwoven and interlinked, entwined in a thousand ways…all the voices all the goals, all the yearnings, all the sorrows, all the pleasures, all the good and evil, all of them” – ‘Siddhartha,pg. 134.
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Central America Semester, Fall 2012

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Far and Few in Between

Maura Cecilia McMahon ,Central America Semester, Fall 2012

Description

A country is not of one voice, but hundreds, thousands intertwined together. The inhabitants of which are of the same flesh and blood. A mother, a father, son, daughter. To quote Siddhartha, (a book I have steadily fallen head over heels for along this trip) struck me as relevant in a time engulfed by factions. […]

Posted On

10/23/12

Author

Maura Cecilia McMahon

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Here in Central America, there have been many instances which havecaused me to do a double-take. Gorgeous views, horrifying stories,astonishing events, just plain odd sights. El Salvador was simplybrimming with examples of these, such as bananas that taste and smell likeapples, and babies who drive cars*. Likewise, it was not unusual tocome across an sorrowfully bedraggled french poodle or cocker spaniel,listless, wandering the street. These dogs, breeds which people spendgood money for in the states, were abandoned by their owners duringthe war. As my host brother described it: "No. You are just toofluffy! You were made to sit on a satin pillow with a bow around yourneck, not to dig through trash." I am not entirely sure which one ofthose options a dog would prefer, and certainly no animal (regardlessof fluff-o-meter) deserves to be abandoned, but the point is clear. Itis astounding how quickly situations can dramatically shift.


Another activity augmented by contradictions was our visit to theMercado Oriental in Managua, Nicaragua. As the biggest market inCentral America, directly adjacent to the biggest dump in the same area, wehad been thoroughly briefed on what to expect. I was prepared for thepoverty, the looks and shouts directed at us, the pega-addicted street children, theprostitutes, and the chaos. I experienced all of that. But there werethings I wasn't prepared for, and those are what I took with me. Aswith all things, the market is neither entirely bad nor entirely good. Expectingthe worst, it was the best that stood out to me. The lousy smell I wasanticipating was replaced by the inviting aroma of fried foods and theconfusing clutter I felt at first was overcome by the exciting bustleI began to be energized by. Watching for unfamiliarity, a teenage boystarting to laugh at a girl's words in such an utterly familiarway stopped me in my tracks. I have seen that face a hundred times,but this time I saw more. It was an amazing experience. And for me,unlike nearly all of my companions, it was positive.

But the biggest contradiction I have yet to encounter is betweenthe atrocious histories and the amazing attitude of the people here.Everyday I meet new lovely, openhearted people. They are so kind tome, so hopeful for the future, so full of joyful life. Then I hearwhat has happened to them, what they live with everyday, hownegatively my country has affected them. The deaths everyone hasendured, the torture and fighting, all the physical/ financial/psychological oppression opposed currently and in the past. And yetdespite all of that, or perhaps even because of it, there continues tobe a strong and vivid population. They comprehend the differencebetween what our country has done and who we are, even when we are unable to do so ourselves. It is aprecious quality, and found in in staggering amounts here.

Humans are such stupefying creatures. Capable of so much, of suchseemingly contradictory things. Because I am the only person I cantalk about with any slight degree of confidence, and also I amsufficiently self-centered, I will now relate this all to me. People haveoften described me with tones of confusion or surprise, citing myoutwardly oppositional tendencies. In larger groups I simply sit in
silence, often staring at the person who is speaking with an almostcreepy intensity. But then get me into a smaller group, especially ofpeople I am super comfortable with, and good luck shutting me up.Personally, I occasionally feel that the more Spanish I learn, the lessI feel I know. And every time I act or dance I wait for theinevitable "You're a completely different person!" or "I have neverseen you like this!" I am bound to hear. And yet- I am not a differentperson, it is all me. At times my attitudes may seem a tad strangetogether, but they all come from the same brain. All thecontradictions** I have been writing about may, in fact, not be thatodd. Various reactions can sprout from one event or cause.
This yak went places I never expected it to when I began. I lookforward to seeing what else grows from the fantastic stimulus providedby this trip. Love to my family, I am sending happy thoughts.

*Our time in El Salvador was sandwiched by this one. Nearly the first
thing we saw in the country and the last vehicle we passed on the
border was a car controlled by exceedingly small children... Oh alright,
they were on the laps of adults, but besides having a special affinity
to the horn, they appeared to be quite accomplished drivers!

**This word is in my title, I am allowed to use it with unending
generosity. "Contrary to popular opinion, contradictory contradictions
contradict each other." Sorry, now I just enjoy typing that word.

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Central America Semester, Fall 2012

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Purebred Mutts & Other Contradictions

Emma Rain,Central America Semester, Fall 2012

Description

Here in Central America, there have been many instances which havecaused me to do a double-take. Gorgeous views, horrifying stories,astonishing events, just plain odd sights. El Salvador was simplybrimming with examples of these, such as bananas that taste and smell likeapples, and babies who drive cars*. Likewise, it was not unusual tocome across an sorrowfully […]

Posted On

10/22/12

Author

Emma Rain

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Central America Semester, Fall 2012

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yakolantern

ross,Central America Semester, Fall 2012

Description

dubstep

Posted On

10/22/12

Author

ross

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Howdy!

Jus´ a lil´ update on our time here in El Salva considering we´re off to Guate tomorrow. It´s been swell alright - four of us want to return after the course ends. Here´s what a typical day looked like:

6:45 - geeetup

7:15 - eat some breaaaakfast

7:40 - roll over to spanish class at CIS (Centro de Intercambio y Solidaridad)

8:15 - arrive late (le dang)

10:00 to 10:30 - straight chillun during break

12:00 - LUNCH LUNCH LUNCH. Pupusas. Yum.

AFTERNOON - heck it´s a cop out. i already know. we´d do something educational like visit museums, permaculture institutes, or city monuments.

5:00 - Ice cream break. Shout out to Sarah it was called Sarita´s and was dumbgood.

6:00 - Play indoor soccer/cards/ninja with Allison and Joshua (homestay siblings)

7:00 - Din´ Din´

8:00 - discussion (debate?) on marxism/judaism/societal progress with Roberto (host dad) IN SPANISH

10:00 - discussion on how great the CIS is with Sam (for real, doe)

RINSE AND REPEAT.

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Central America Semester, Fall 2012

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El Salvador Update (im not tryna write sumthin real gucci)

Team ROR,Central America Semester, Fall 2012

Description

Howdy! Jus´ a lil´ update on our time here in El Salva considering we´re off to Guate tomorrow. It´s been swell alright – four of us want to return after the course ends. Here´s what a typical day looked like: 6:45 – geeetup 7:15 – eat some breaaaakfast 7:40 – roll over to spanish class […]

Posted On

10/20/12

Author

Team ROR

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Gringo: (n, slang) Any person of foreign origin, particularly an American. If you’re reading this, the word probably applies to you. It is meant sometimes as a disparaging term, but more often refers simply to anyone Caucasian in ethnicity and appearance.

Cuajada: (n) A local milk product. Pure curd, squeezed into a ball form, without any form of additive or chemicals. Similar to Mozzerella, but without the stringy qualities and a slightly stronger, saltier flavor. Most gringos would consider Cuajada a cheese, but it’s a slight distinction only a Nicaraguan would understand.

Socialista: (n) Socialist

Capitalista: (n) Capitalist

FSLN: (n) The political party in power in Nicaragua.

Democrata: (n) An American politician associated with one political party.

Republico: (n) An American politician associated with a political party in opposition to the Democratas. Both Democratas and Republicos are capitalistas, with very slight differences in opinions on trivial issues. Most Nicaraguans would consider Democratas and Republicianos the same, but it’s a slight distinction only a gringo would understand.

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Central America Semester, Fall 2012

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A Developing Dictionary, part 1.

Rock Pulak,Central America Semester, Fall 2012

Description

Gringo: (n, slang) Any person of foreign origin, particularly an American. If you’re reading this, the word probably applies to you. It is meant sometimes as a disparaging term, but more often refers simply to anyone Caucasian in ethnicity and appearance. Cuajada: (n) A local milk product. Pure curd, squeezed into a ball form, without […]

Posted On

10/15/12

Author

Rock Pulak

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We write to you in the most elegant form we can think of stop Telegram stop Current location stop Hotelito at the Los Quinchos HQ outside of Managua stop A land where the streets are paved with gallo pinto stop Los Quinchos boys full of energy stop Bill the unicycle man gone stop Flamboyant mandance stop Púchica púchica stop Contemplating Argentinian haircut stop Where in the world is Carmen Sandiago stop stop Hunger Games are go stop Hammock swings in full motion stop Recoving the creature through a dialectical movement stop No running water stop What is a shower stop High five question mark stop Mosquito truck exclamation point stop Batidos all around stop What the bunny stop

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Central America Semester, Fall 2012

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Yak of the Millenium

Maura and Jackie,Central America Semester, Fall 2012

Description

We write to you in the most elegant form we can think of stop Telegram stop Current location stop Hotelito at the Los Quinchos HQ outside of Managua stop A land where the streets are paved with gallo pinto stop Los Quinchos boys full of energy stop Bill the unicycle man gone stop Flamboyant mandance […]

Posted On

10/15/12

Author

Maura and Jackie

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“This is where you shall paint” stated my host mama. A blank green wall stared at me begging to be addressed. It felt almost dream like to pick up a brush, dip it into the red paint and lay the first stroke on this pristine surface. It felt incredible to lay out the first outline, almost therapeutic. It was a relatively large space to work with, and for this ISP, independent Study Project, I would need as much time as possible. I painted what the community has strong roots in, one that everyone in the community could relate too.

The children of El Lagatillo and the occasional Dragon + passerby, made the piece what it is. It took many hands to create the mural project, and ideas were passed back and forth between the community. The piece would not have been the same without the aid of helping hands, the piece would have remained unfinished.

-Maura McMahon

[post_title] => Texas Walker Ranger Mural Love [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => texas-walker-ranger-mural-love [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2012-10-15 00:00:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://yakyak.chandigarhsoftware.com/?p=39699 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 285 [name] => Central America Semester, Fall 2012 [slug] => central-america-semester-fall-2012 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 285 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 243 [count] => 61 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 14.1 [cat_ID] => 285 [category_count] => 61 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Central America Semester, Fall 2012 [category_nicename] => central-america-semester-fall-2012 [category_parent] => 243 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/fall-2012/central-america-semester-fall-2012/ ) ) [category_links] => Central America Semester, Fall 2012 )

Central America Semester, Fall 2012

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Texas Walker Ranger Mural Love

Maura McMahon,Central America Semester, Fall 2012

Description

“This is where you shall paint” stated my host mama. A blank green wall stared at me begging to be addressed. It felt almost dream like to pick up a brush, dip it into the red paint and lay the first stroke on this pristine surface. It felt incredible to lay out the first outline, […]

Posted On

10/15/12

Author

Maura McMahon

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The square in downtown San Marcos is a relaxing change from the crowds in Managua and the bussyness of Leon. College students hang out under trees in the park, children run between street vendors selling fresh bread and bootleg DVDs, and everywhere you look the streets crawl with our favorite mode of transportation: the tuk tuk. Picture a motorcycle wearing a hat, add an extra wheel, and squeeze in six humans - that´s the gist of it. 7 cordobas per person and you get anywhere in San Marcos, though you might share the ride with another person and perhaps a chicken or two. No one minds going out of the way to drop someone else off; the rush of the wind and the zip of the ride are worth it. It´s also worth noting that the tuk tuk´s small size and great velocity make speed bumps its mortal enemy. Hold on at all costs.

Traditional taxis exist in Nicaragua too, just not in San Marcos.They crowd the streets in Leon and Esteli, where we spent weekends between our more rural stays. But unlike home, where hailing taxis requires conviction and aggression, here a simple head nod suffices. Subtlety is a learning curve, and it took us (Michael) a few tries to realize he didnt have to jump directly infront of the taxi.

At 3 o´clock this morning we upgraded from three wheels to 12, for the 14-hour Tica Bus ride to San Salvador. The reclining seats, leg room, and broad windows are a nice change from the public buses we´re used to riding here. They´re the old yellow buses of our childhood, brightly painted and souped up with a better stereo system and fewer safety restrictions. The world "full" takes on new meaning as more and more people pile in, clinging to every inch of the bus.

To add to the adventure, the bus runs on "Nica time," which means it arrives anywhere from five to 50 minutes late. Once we take our seats, the stampede begins. First, food vendors take the stage selling bread, tamales, Ensa, empanadas, roskias, and other pastries. A brief intermission and then more vendors, selling everything from razors to remote controls, antidepressants to the word of God. Some Dragons are used to being dramatically preached at while trapped in a small vehicle, but most are in their "growth zone."* Once the bus starts so does MTV, and the onslaught of loud, Latin pop. To Oli´s dissappointment, she is unable to dance to her heart´s content because, as one Nicaraguan man so eloquently put it, "you´re a big woman."

Just as cramped as the busses are the cattle cars. The one we´ve taken the most is an old Toyota pickup with a metal cage around the back. The gate is a bit stubborn and has to be expertly slammed into place with a rock a good half dozen times before we start moving. Periodically, it re-opens and we have to stop the car to readjust. In order to fit everyone inside, we have to stand up and lean out through the metal bars, Michael and Claire even perching atop the truck itself. Six-year-old Claudio, the son of one of our Spanish teachers, inspired us to snatch at the passing leaves and flowers while in motion. When a Dragon succesfully captured something that caught his eye, he would yell in delight: "Que rico, que rico!"

The type of transportation we´ve enjoyed most, however, is walking. (Just kidding, it´s cattle cars, then tuk tuks, but this is a close third.) The beautiful three-day trek from Esteli to El Lagartillo was our first experience hiking for such an extended period of time. The rolling green mountians, thick forests, and grazing animals were as breathtaking as they were exhausting, but they taught us that the road less traveled can often be the most rewarding.

It´s fitting that this trip is full of unconventional travel, considering that our decision to take a gap year in Central America is a less direct route to the adult world and college. And we wouldn´t change a thing (except maybe ride in more cattle cars and tuk tuks).

*During orientation week, the instructor team taught us the concept of comfort zone, growth zone, and panic zone, emphasizing that we should try new things and test our limits in order to learn and gain more from our experiences. [post_title] => The Road Less Traveled [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => the-road-less-traveled [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2012-10-14 00:00:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://yakyak.chandigarhsoftware.com/?p=39704 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 285 [name] => Central America Semester, Fall 2012 [slug] => central-america-semester-fall-2012 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 285 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 243 [count] => 61 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 14.1 [cat_ID] => 285 [category_count] => 61 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Central America Semester, Fall 2012 [category_nicename] => central-america-semester-fall-2012 [category_parent] => 243 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/fall-2012/central-america-semester-fall-2012/ ) ) [category_links] => Central America Semester, Fall 2012 )

Central America Semester, Fall 2012

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The Road Less Traveled

Dillon McCord, Michael Gellman, and Alexandra Gurley,Central America Semester, Fall 2012

Description

The square in downtown San Marcos is a relaxing change from the crowds in Managua and the bussyness of Leon. College students hang out under trees in the park, children run between street vendors selling fresh bread and bootleg DVDs, and everywhere you look the streets crawl with our favorite mode of transportation: the tuk […]

Posted On

10/14/12

Author

Dillon McCord, Michael Gellman, and Alexandra Gurley

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¡SARITA!

It’s been quite a whirlwind since we last saw you. Sorry for the delay in posting this yak. You know how we are with computers. Now where to start… !

First of all, we wanted to say that we miss you and that the group feels so small without you. Whenever we’re picking up to go somewhere and checking to see if we have everyone, it feels so strange to count to 10 instead of 11. Michael, for one, has noticed a dearth in Broadway musical knowledge and is mourning that loss terribly (the rest of the group barely manages to put up with his antics).

Right after our delicious Cinnamon Roll in Achuapa, we went to visit the cooperative that El Lagartillo is a part of. We visited a homeopathic health center and heard the founder’s amazing story of how alternative medicine saved her from degenerative arthritis. We were so inspired by her story and her efforts to bring a more holistic view of health to her community that half the group has joined the instructors in a boycott of sugar. As you can imagine, Oli has been riding the struggle bus and Ross has been eating sweets for two. After the Homeopathic clinic, we visited another part of the cooperative, which was a plant that processes sesame seeds into oil. Peep the pics. Nuff said. (PHOTO A1).

Maura finished her mural (we’re posting a full yak about that eventually…) and Jackie and Rock (jk Chema and Jose Angel (jk just Jose Angel)) finished the smoothie bike!! The first smoothie was just papaya and water, needless to say there weren’t too many takers, but we got some good combos in before we left. The final hours of work on the mural were jam packed with lots of helpers, including Yajaira and Juan Ramon. (A2 and A3)

Friday night we had quite a fiesta. It started with a dead pig. We know how much you wish you were there for that. It ended a lot of awkward dancing. Some of the notable couples were Yomar with Maura, Yomar with Clara, and Everyone with Jose Angel. In between all that was a particularly spectacular dance performance featuring Emma, Ian, Ross, Clara, and Michael, as well as (ohmygod) Greybim, Lisbet, and Maria Jose. We danced folklorica wearing sombreros and flowing skirts, and were called “elegant” by a famous Nicaraguan dance critic (Dhyana). (Do we use enough parentheses?) (A4)

The next morning we had a gratitude ceremony by the stone altar… oops what? I mean table… and The Orb. Ross, as cultural ambassador, was careful to arrive early and beautifully orchestrate the entire shebang. Just kidding, he arrived 50 minutes late with his backpack on, ready to jet out of El Lagartillo. All jokes aside, it was a beautiful ceremony. Everyone gave a speech in Spanish to show our appreciation to the entire community for taking us into their homes. The most memorable was Ermelinda’s. She spoke to us about how special it is that we were able to be in El Lagartillo, sharing in their custom and way of life for three weeks. She made special reference to you, saying how full of life and energy you were while you were here, especially with your host family. She also said that you gave everyone so much of yourself that even though your stay was cut short, your presence lasted in El Lagartillo until the end. Our goodbyes with our host families were bittersweet, but nowhere near as heartwrenching as Dillon’s goodbye with his gaggle of fan girls.

We are writing you this Yak from Los Quinchos headquarters in San Marcos. This is our second day here. We’re all pretty exhausted and losing our voices, but happy. Yesterday we saw the Dragons sponsored soccer team in action. Their jerseys are sweet. This morning we went to La Finca, which is the second house that the boys in Los Quinchos go to through the program. We all worked on building a wall around the property to prevent chicken theft. Despite the juventúd of the boys there, they lived up to their self-proclaimed titles as machete experts. In the afternoon we visited the girls house, Yahoskas, and were greeted a stampede of hugs. While most of us drew pictures and played the marimba, the boys were pitted against one another in a vicious dance off. They also schooled us in acrobatics.

Now we’re off to get some dinner at the organization-run restaurant. We’ll write again soon!

¡Te extrañamos muchísimo. Hasta pronto!

~ROR

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Central America Semester, Fall 2012

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Sarita

Team ROR,Central America Semester, Fall 2012

Description

¡SARITA! It’s been quite a whirlwind since we last saw you. Sorry for the delay in posting this yak. You know how we are with computers. Now where to start… ! First of all, we wanted to say that we miss you and that the group feels so small without you. Whenever we’re picking up […]

Posted On

10/11/12

Author

Team ROR

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