Saturday, October 27, 2012

León, Nicaragua - October 27, 2012

It's only been 4 months but we have finally finished searching for English speakers in La Paz Centro. There are already 4 bible studies in progress but now the task will be to call back on all the interest.. While we were finishing up the last couple of blocks we came across this interesting tree. It is a Jicaro Tree and here in Nicaragua they use it to make a drink called Semilla de Jicaro.

Jicaro Tree

For the last few weeks plans have been underway to celebrate Brad and Lydia's wedding anniversary. Personally, I think the kids just wanted an excuse to get together and party! Thanks Brad and Lydia for giving them a good reason!

So... this wasn't just a quick "lets get together on Friday" plan... No, this was a full out fiesta at Poneloya Beach. They arranged to have a Pelibuey slaughtered and cooked for the occasion and then made arrangements for the rest of the meal (potato salad, tortillas, cupcakes and pop). They organized rides for everyone to and from the beach and somehow they managed to keep the rain at bay! The evening was a huge success - everyone had a great time. Good job guys!

Decorating the rancho

Hanging baloons

Hanging decorations

Beach scenes from Poneloya, Nicaragua

Sergio Sr and Ruth

Michelle with the restaurant in the background

kitchen activity

The happy couple: Brad and Lydia

Dinner: Pelibuey, potato salad and tortilla - yumm

Talia, Fanny and Amanda preparing the plates

Brad and Lydia recreating their wedding dance

Dogs trying to get a bite of the delicious meat

Ben and Marissa

Erica, Natalie and Lenin

Tom and Theresa

Desmond and Shannon

Talia, Elga, Mariela, Fanny and Elfa

Michelle, Miguel and Gina

our very own Vanna! (aka Scarlett)

Gustavo and Octavio

Pat and Debbie

Sergio Sr & Jr

Sergio and Marcia

Sergio Sr and Sandra

Monday, October 22, 2012

León, Nicaragua - October 22, 2012

Rain, rain go away. Come again another day! October has turned out to be the rainiest month yet. It will rain for hours through the night and then rain again during the daytime. Unfortunately, it doesn't care if we are out in service or not. It's not unusual to be caught in a downpour. The nice thing is - it doesn't usually last very long. The downside is you are usually already soaked and the roads have little rivers running through them because the storm drains can't handle all of the water. Oh, well. At least it's warm rain!

On the way to the meeting on Sunday we were walking past the house where we usually pick up our lunch after the meeting. The problem lately has been that we have a study directly after the meeting and we don't head home until about 12:30 - buy this time they have sold out of everything. As we are checking out the sign - hopeful that there might be something left over for us one of the ladies - Anna - asks us what we want to have and they will keep it for us until we come by! We managed to score some Pollo Asado - our favorite. Sure enough, it was waiting for us - all labeled so that nobody could think it was for anyone else.

We had movie night at our place to prepare for the video part on the Theocratic School "Young People Ask - How Can I Make Real Friends". We invited all the young ones in the congregation but only 3 could make it . We enjoyed the movie as well as some pop and homemade Plantain chips.

Sergio, Fanny and Mariela

So... all you eagle eyes - Here we are out in service last week. Who can spot the recent change? First person to come up with the right answer wins an ice cream at Eskimo! Trick is - you have to come to León to get it!

Debbie, Pat, Brad and Lydia

Pancho is settling in and is a little more receptive to us. Not all lovey dovey yet but we are growing on him. Good thing he loves bananas because he will let us feed him and will "step-up" at least once a day. So far he will only do this for Lydia and Debbie - hopefully he will let Pat feed him to.  The other night we were enjoying a nice spaghetti dinner with some fresh bread from the local bakery - Pan Y Paz  when Pancho flew onto the table to get his share. He is becoming quite the "family bird" as long as we don't touch him. He is practicing flying more and more and pretty soon he'll want to go outside so we'll have to be really careful or he'll be gone!

Monday, October 15, 2012

León, Nicaragua - October 15, 2012

This last week has been filled with new experiences and challenges.

We had the visit with our new Circuit Overseer and his wife - Todd and Lori Schleper - which we thoroughly enjoyed. They are originally from Vancouver, Canada but have spent the last number of years in Honduras working in the Spanish field. They were recently asked to step back over and help with the English field. They have suggested that we try and approach as many people as possible as we are walking along the streets and asking them if they speak English. We have found great success with this method. They suggested that we set up information tables at the Universities and locations where English speakers frequent (like La Union Grocery store).  Quite often we have difficulty finding people at home - even when we have made appointments with them - they have suggested that we get email address and keep in contact with interested ones that way.

Pat and I were thrilled to enjoy the whole Pioneer Meeting with Brother Schleper and hope that we can enjoy many more in the future. We also had a nice "picnic" themed lunch with them on Wednesday (potato salad, cold chicken, tomato, cucumber and nice fresh buns from Pan y Paz Bakery).

Kids in La Paz Centro
La Paz Centro continues to be a rich field of bible studies. While we were at La Paz Centro last Friday we were able to search two more blocks.  Pat found a fellow and demonstrated the bible study arrangement with him. Shannon and I found a Spanish family who have recently started studying and they were so excited that we called on their door. The twenty year old son speaks some English and we found out that they have family in Granada that are also studying.   We only have a few more blocks left to search and then we need to start calling back on all the English speakers that we found.

Lydia and Pancho
On the challenging side was adjusting to a new housemate. Who knew that birds had distinct personalities and could be a challenge to look after? Well, I had no clue, that's for sure. Pancho really hasn't decided if he trusts us yet but he does follow us around like a little dog. He doesn't like it if we get too "personal" like trying to feed him with our fingers (be careful or he will bite!) Also, he is a Houdini - he can escape from his cage at will.  Bananas are no longer his favorite food - he now loves the butter cookies that we buy from the bakery. He loves them so much that he even flew from his cage to our dining room table and then allowed Pat to feed him by hand.

Because we are such novices with birds we have had to resort to the assistance of our very own congregation "bird whisperer" - Lydia. Lydia has had birds all her life and knows how to get them to do just about everything and anything. I'm sure she will do a great job at training Pancho as well as us.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

León, Nicaragua - October 7, 2012

meet Pancho our little rescue Chocoyo

We finally have a tenant for our bird cage. This little guy has had a tough go of it. He found his way to a friend of ours backyard and it was obvious that he couldn't take care of himself and needed a new home. We have decided to call him Pancho. He is a little stressed right now and has been pulling out his feathers on his chest. I read that this could be a sign of "stress". After we "stuffed" him into a small cage he endured a bus ride where he was the center of attention with the little kids. Once I got him home we couldn't convince him to move into the larger cage and literally had to pull him off his perch and put him into his new home.

We have discovered that he likes bananas and his new wooden perch. He always calls back when he hears the rooster crow from behind our house. He also responds whenever Pat whistles to him. We hope that he will eventually perch on our fingers and will stop biting us.....

Monday, October 1, 2012

León, Nicaragua - October 1, 2012

Believe it or not but blahhh days can happen even here. We woke up this morning and the sky was overcast - no problem, it usually clears up.... not today! I think we've had about 10 minutes of bright sunshine and that's it! I put the sheets out on the line by 9 am and at 1 pm they were still on the damp side. The temperature gauge (on the computer) indicated that it was 29⁰C but, it's felt chilly all day! How can that be???? Oh, yeah - we're in the winter season. 

Virgen de Mercedes - Leon, Nicaragua
The month of September is when León celebrates their "Fiesta Patronales". One way they do this is by carrying an image of the Virgen de Mercedes through the different barrios (we thought the celebration was for Mary). Last Monday was Barrio Guadalupe's turn.  When we woke up on Monday morning we noticed that many people were out decorating the fronts of their homes as well as doing an extra cleaning on their sidewalks. Everywhere looked spic and span! Through the early evening we noticed that more and more people were gathering outside our house. There were so many people selling everything you can imagine (to eat!). There was pizza, hot dogs, candy apples, quesillos - but no popcorn! For the kids people were selling little blow up toys as well as the colourful flashing lights like what they sell back home at special events. About 8 pm we could hear fireworks and we realized that as the "Virgen de Mercedes" was going through the barrio they would set off the fireworks as it passed. We saw some really interesting fireworks (they would be illegal in Canada) that when they exploded in the sky a little parachute with a light attached floated down to earth - they were really cool! The festivities finally ended about 10 pm only to be repeated in another barrio later in the week.
crowds following the procession

Jose Luis and his "Rice Stuffing"
We had a good week in service last week and ended up going to La Paz Centro twice. We found another young man who speaks really good English - he works at a nice Seafood Restaurant so it is convenient for calling back on him. We can enjoy a delicious lunch and have a short bible discussion with him if he isn't too busy.  When we called on Jose Luis on Friday he had a nice surprise for us - "Rice Stuffing". It was really tasty - the only thing is we had already eaten lunch at the Seafood Restaurant and we weren't hungry at all - but we made ourselves eat it so that we didn't offend him.

Next week we have the visit of our new Circuit Overseer and his wife - Todd and Lori Schlepper (not sure of the spelling). He is originally from Canada - I believe from the Toronto - but I'm not sure where Lori is from. We are hosting them for lunch so we will be able to get all the details. We're looking forward to the visit and the fact that we will be able to attend the Pioneer Meeting.

We are in the process of planning our next trip to Costa Rica - we have to go next month. This time we are going with another couple from our hall. We have found a nice 2 bedroom house in Playas del Coco that we hope to rent - it has a pool and is close to the beach. We will be able to save some money by making breakfast and lunch - well, dinner also if we have too!

Pictures from the week:

Pat giving a Sunday Public Talk

a well behaved duck on the bus to Leon, Nicaragua