Friday, August 24, 2012

A change in routine - Casares, Nicaragua - August 2012

The beach - Casares, Nicaragua

Ahhh, the salty air in your face, sand between your toes, the sun on your skin.... that’s the life.

We decided that since our lives will be a little more hectic in the coming months it was time to take a few days vacation while we could. After renewing our Tourist Visa on Monday morning in Managua, we headed down to a little fishing village on the Pacific coast of Nicaragua called Casares. We stayed in a small, boutique hotel called Hotel El Casino – before you ask, NO there is no casino in the place and we didn’t find out why it was called that. The hotel itself is right on the beach and for $25.00 a night (add $10 for air conditioning) it was in our price range.

We arrived on Monday afternoon about 3:00 pm and quickly settled into our room and the holiday rhythm... you know, a dip in the ocean, a walk on the beach, a drink at the bar, and dinner on the patio! A person could get used to this life.

moving a boat - Casares, Nicaragua
We had an ocean view room and were very surprised when we woke up on Tuesday morning at how busy the beach was yet surprisingly quiet. There had to be at least 100 people (men, women and children) going about the daily business of unloading the nights catch. We sat on the top deck with our morning coffee and watched as boats arrived with their catch and then were “moved” up onto the higher part of the beach. This was quite a process with logs being placed under the boat and the crew and family moving the boat backwards, moving the logs to the back of the boat and repeating the procedure until the boat was in its “parking” spot for the day.

Not being a fish expert I can’t tell you what types of fish were in the buckets that went past the hotel on the way to be sold at the markets but each day there seemed to be a good catch. The fishermen and their families all seemed to work really hard.  It was sad to see young children working alongside their parents and not going to school.

relaxed from our vacation
The sand on the beach is brown and you can walk for quite some distance before you reach some large rocks and a house that overlooks the ocean that stop you from heading any further towards La Boquita beach. On the beach you will find areas with large rocks that make it impossible to swim in the ocean. However, at some point in time a “swimming pool” was built into the back side of some rocks to catch the ocean water at high tide and thus allow for a nice swim in ever changing water. Unfortunately, there is a LOT of garbage on the beach and there doesn’t seem to be any effort to clean it up. Too bad because it truly is a beautiful spot.

The hotel had a good restaurant and the food was always fresh and delicious with a nice selection. There are a number of comfortable sitting areas where you could enjoy a book or watch TV.

We had a wonderful little getaway ..... here are some pictures from our trip.

moving boat equipment - Casares, Nicaragua

Interior view, Hotel El Casino - Casares, Nicaragua

Kids fishing - Casares, Nicaragua

view from the beach, Hotel El Casino - Casares, Nicaragua

rocks on the beach - Casares, Nicaragua

pigs on the beach - Casares, Nicaragua

boats on the beach - Casares, Nicaragua

the nights catch - Casares, Nicaragua

Fish - Casares, Nicaragua

boats on the beach - Casares, Nicaragua

Fish - Casares, Nicaragua

pool on the beach - Casares, Nicaragua

sunset - Casares, Nicaragua

Sunday, August 19, 2012

León, Nicaragua - August 19, 2012

Making dinner by candle light, dining by candle light - doesn't that sound romantic? Well, that's what life has been like this week.... well, one night anyhow.  A storm came through on Saturday afternoon and knocked out the power. No problem, we'll just wait a little while and the power will be back on and then we can cook dinner..... well, over 2 hours later it was dark and the power wasn't back on. Dinner had to be prepared by candle light and since we only have two of them the light was pretty dim - but we managed quite well and didn't burn the tostones!

We've had an exciting week in service. We had our usual study with Jose Luis in La Paz Centro. This week in addition to his secretary Heidi sitting in on the study there was also a couple of his friends who listened in. One of the fellows lives here in León and has asked Pat to call on him. We also started a study close to the bus terminal here in León. I had met him back in March when we did a census of his block. It took me a while to call back on him because I couldn't find his shop. When I finally found the store he was reading the magazine I left him and said "I thought you had forgotten about me!" This fellow sure knows his bible and is able to quote scriptures that he has memorized. In spite of knowing many scriptures he says that he has trouble understanding what the bible teaches and he is thrilled that we can study with him. It is a bit of a challenge studying with him because he owns a very successful shop that sells saddles, ropes and well everything associated with horses. We are interrupted many times during the study by customers coming into the store but we just keep going when he has finished serving his customers. Many people in the community recognize us as Jehovah's Witnesses and we are frequently asked for Spanish magazines. We've started to bring some Spanish tracts in service with us so that we can at least leave something with them.

Tadpoles in La Paz Centro
The rain has been a bit of a challenge this week. Umbrellas are part of our gear now when we leave the house because you never know how quickly those dark clouds are going to start dumping their load. On Tuesday night we were only about 3 minutes away from the Kingdom Hall when it started lightly raining. However, by the time we were only 1/2 block away the skies opened up and by the time we reached the doors of the Kingdom Hall we were soaked. Umbrellas don't help too much because with the force the rain comes down it bounces off the ground and soaks you from the bottom up... Taxis also have a hard time because the roads quickly become small rivers and they have trouble negotiating around the city. Take a look at the picture below. You will see some tadpoles. You would think that these are growing in a pond wouldn't you? Nope, they are growing in a puddle..... I've never seen that happen back home.

 So... can you believe that we have been here almost six months? We have a hard time believing it but our passports don't lie and we need to go into Managua tomorrow to extend our Tourist Visa. This will be the first time that we have gone to MetroCentro Mall on our own, so we are looking forward to it. The process is quite simple because the Interlocal bus goes to the UCA Bus Terminal which is right near the mall. We can ask to be let off at the mall or just walk about the distance of a block to the mall - so it's really easy. Time sure is flying by... we'll be in San Salvador for the convention in just a few weeks. Can't wait to see the new releases!

Here are a few other pictures from this week:
Ashlee and Lily getting ready to go out in service

Nathan cutting up the fish he bought for 80 cords- yum lots of fish tacos!

Preparing for the Pioneer School picture (Spanish)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

León, Nicaragua - August 12, 2012

Rain has finally returned to León to the great relief of many! We didn't get any real rain for about 2 months and everywhere was dry and dusty again - just like the summer months (remember-we are in the "winter" season here in Nicaragua). With the rain has come a few challenges in service - mud, mud, and more mud, along with large puddles. In this picture you can see how the homeowner has strategically placed some rocks so that people can reach their door without getting their feet wet - you can bet that I let Pat take this door so that I wasn't the one to loose their balance and get all wet!

Our congregation has enjoyed many visitors that have stayed for a few weeks or more. It has been a pleasure to get to know them. You can be sure that they are put to good use when they are here. Quite often they are roped into giving demonstrations, helping with the mic's and well really used anywhere and anyhow we can! We look forward to Shannon and Desmond who are arriving in a couple of weeks - can't wait to see what the brothers have in mind for you!
Jake and Scarlet giving a demonstration
Although we are sorry to see them go back home we really enjoy the opportunity for a good PARTY! Thanks guys!
smiling faces at Jake's party (we really are sorry to see him go!)

shaking a leg at Jake's goodbye party
Our Kingdom Hall also serves as the literature depot and so there is always a lot of coming and going with brothers picking up their shipments. However, this week was the first time we saw the literature picked up with a horse and cart - it helped to remind us just how different our new home is....

On another note, our Hall is being used for the Spanish Pioneer School for the next two weeks - we're sure that everyone who is invited to the school will have an amazing experience.  The English Pioneer School is being conducted in San Salvador - we are hoping to attend the school next year.