NICA2012, Day 8: Enjoying Nica Hospitality

Day 8 (Home visits) – Today we started the home visit/clinic process over again. We drove to a small neighborhood on the other side of Managua, a community called La Hoyada. From my journal: “The village is one of contrasts.  There are massive mansions with security guards and large walls, then across the street are shacks and huts.” The shacks and smaller homes were grouped together in the middle of the mansions; those were the people we were to serve. We were based out of the Molina family home.  The family home was the center of the community, a place where people gathered, and everyone knew them.  Just like in El Crucero, we started with a day of home visits. I was in a group with Natalie and Katie, with Pavel as our translator, and a young local guide.  Some groups had to take the bus out to their home visits, but we had the homes surrounding the Molina’s.

¿Dónde nació? ¿Cuál es su fecha de nacimiento?

The people of La Hoyada were, overall, much more welcoming and open, though of course there were a few who didn’t really want to talk to us.  One woman didn’t even attempt to understand Katie’s questions, and would just look at the translator.  I think we may have embarrassed her – she hardly knew her children’s birthdays, and none of them had been vaccinated or received parasite treatment.

The home in the picture above was a sweet abuela, who was raising her (very shy) granddaughter.  They came to the clinic and to the party we had later in the week.  We sat down under a large tree in their front yard to talk.  This was the only home where they caged their hen – and they even had a goat on a rope!

Pavel was interested in showing us all of the local agriculture, so we stopped and looked at starfruits, plantains, guayaba, and peppers.  We kept the pepper, and Evan ate it later. (Pavel paid for his dinner!)

We ate lunch at the Molina home – Sra. Sylvia and some other ladies from the community cooked for us, and served us.  Rice, veggies, beets, baked plantains, and Jamaica tea. We also had these short, fat bananas that were so yummy – the best banana I’ve had.

Home visits are tiring!

Jenna and Brittany were feeling sick at lunch, so they stayed at the Molina’s to rest. Pavel stayed with them and Marta came with Nat, Katie, and me to translate.  By far the most interesting home was “Casa de cuatro hermanas.” It was a compound-style area with several homes.  4 sisters, ages 55-85 all lived there with their children and grandchildren. We talked to the oldest one first, and she talked forever about her current medical issues, and her grandson that lives with her to care for her.  She said that one of her sisters lived next to her, and then these two ladies came outside to see the visitors (us). Then she tells us, “Oh, they’re both my sisters!” Then another lady comes out – “Yes, that’s my sister too!” We filled out four census forms for the family – at least twenty people.  I was asking all the questions at this house, so I got plenty of Spanish practice in! They had two parakeets and a parrot, all of which squawked loudly at some point or another.  Among all the commotion, and the sisters talking, Marta just kept shaking her head saying, “This is not a family; it’s a village, a village.” When we got to the form for the fourth and youngest sister, she didn’t know her age or birthday.  They all argued back and forth for a few minutes, and then one of them finally said, “Well, I’m 57, and she’s 2 years younger. So she must be 55. Yes, that sounds right!” I didn’t understand everything, but could pick up enough with body language and mannerisms to know that it was just a loud, loving family. We stayed for 1 1/2 hours, and laughed the whole time!

We returned to the hotel, and had about two hours of downtime before dinner.  I think Brittany was the only one who managed to shower, and the rest of us sacked out before we could bathe.  I work up 10 mins before we had to be on the bus, and everyone looked a little zombie-like on the way to dinner.  We had dinner at a typical Nica restaurant.  I didn’t eat anything out of the ordinary – fried chicken and papas fritas.  My meal came with a side salad too, which looked really yummy, but I couldn’t eat it.  Journal note: “I miss not having to worry if food is safe to eat!”

After dinner, we talked Marta and Pavel into going for ice cream.  Dessert is a luxury, so we had only had a Nica dessert once or twice since we had been there.  We went to a place called “Pops.” I had coco (coconut) and chocolate ice cream in what they call a “canasta” – basically a waffle bowl.

A yummy treat!

We said goodbye to Kevin that night, because he had to leave for the airport at 4am the next morning.  Most of our team was there for 13 days, but he and Casey were there for 9. Kevin was quiet, but interesting – I wish he had gotten to stay longer!

Journal note: “This is officially the longest I’ve ever been out of Louisiana. Not sure what I think of that at this point.”


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