And so the end is near, yesterday I took my bow at the curtain, or rather – the school gates of La Nueva Esperanza Primary School. Ya, terminé, the children’s catchphrase, sums things up – yep, I’ve finished. I can still hear the echoes of “adios, Profesora Lynda, que le vaya bien” as I walked away from the schools gates. Farewell, Nicaragua is just a days away.
12 months. 366 days. One whole year. At times it probably seemed like I hadn’t written very much. I attempted tweets but for some reason tweeting was really hard from Nicaragua. Facebook, on the other hand, was as easy as one-two-three. In fact, my early updates were so prolific one friend wrote this:
“Lynda: given the quantity and frequency of your contributions here, have you ever thought of having a chat with Mark Zuckerberg and suggesting that there should be a change of name to LindaBook…? You could then do a reverse takeover and franchise Facebook to the rest of us. Interested?”
It was a chore trying to find twelve months of updates – particularly because I was updating four or five or even more times a day – and that became even harder when Facebook gave me a timeline I didn’t want. How people stalk on this social media is beyond me because I found it hard to stalk myself.
That said, after several days (over several months) and several hours of trawling, copying and pasting, I have some of my updates.
I hope it wasn’t such a chore for my FB friends to read my musings. Not all are on FB – the following four blogs are particularly for them.
Lyndaloo Sat-Nag Services (London branch) employed for one last time in 2011. How could the driver not know Lansdowne Road was closed? It’s been out if action for 8 weeks. Lyndaloo Sat-Nag Services are relocating to Nicaragua and the Caribbean. First stops Managua and Granada. Already well-versed on the Lat-Am-Carib taxi etiquette ie there’s always room for one more. Taraaah for now …
Later that night, 28th September: Lyndaloo has stepped outside of her comfort zone. I’ve been up for 26 hours although lots of little sleeps in between. There’s a cucaracha aka a cockroach in my broken shower. I’ve taken to prayer and am hoping the beast is dead. Believe me, the Nicaragüenses don’t want to hear my Banshee scream – the Cubans are still recovering – and that was in 2003. I’m under a mosquito net and stinking, stinging and choking from the deet spray. But Netty is up and running. What a contradiction: poverty yet top technology!
1st: Good Morning from Nicaragua! Bikram yoga at 6am. Off to the market (again) it’s addictive. Cooked a pot of chicken casserole. My name is La Cocinera!
Later that day: Market purchases: 2 frying pans and a pillow! You can see the volcano from the market. It’s an amazing view. The market is as foreign markets should be: loud, colourful and busy. Tried out a place where the locals eat, yesterday – delicious – only 45 córdobas about $2 for meat, black beans (frijoles negros), green banana (yes! I’ve arrived, home sweet home) rice, spaghetti (?) tomato, lettuce and some chillied cucumber and carrots plus a drink.
2nd: Have been asked to join the Nicaraguan Olympics high jump squad. That’s how high I just leapt when the cucuaracha I thought I’d killed came back to life!
3rd: School induction day. I’ll be helping out at La Nueva Esperanza. The school is not on a road – I’m at a loss to describe the non-construction!
5th: There’s poverty and there’s poverty … We are desensitised to: the starving babies, the food queues, the beggars etc. But nothing prepared me for the woman who was begging for money for sanitary towels with her young child at her sign. I leave you to conjour up your own imagery of the state of her shorts 😦 That was yesterday.
13th: Today’s offerings: two sprinting pigs (Usain and Asafa), one lone bull. A road around the corner has been tarmacked (whoohooo!). Off to a Marlyn Monroe play. No school tomorrow – they’re celebrating el día de la raza.
18th: I popped my head around the door. Our eyes met across the crowded room. His beaming smile tore at my heartstrings. He leapt up and waved – in the way 6-year-olds do: “me please, pick me”. Roger, San Ignacio, Granada, Nicaragua.
19th: Nicaragua is on alert. It rained for 11 hours (not the UK rain but RAIN – diluvia). There’s no school again tomorrow. I’m thinking of my babies: Roger, Miguel, Manuel, Lucia, Yesli and Teresa and hoping they are safe in their homes.
23rd: What did I do today? I popped to Mombacho to get acquainted with the volcano. I met all kinds of animals along the way but I wasn’t quick enough to snap the clucky hen and her chicks – she fled as I approached.
1st: This passage almost broke my heart.
“On October 30, 1998, Hurricane Mitch tore into Nicaragua, causing the worst natural disaster of the twentieth century. Days of torrential rain and winds of up to 200 miles an hour laid waste to vast expanses of the country. Thousands of people died, entombed in mudslides or drowned as rivers broke their banks and flooded towns and villages. Roads, bridges, houses, crops and animals were swept away. In a desperate attempt to escape the violence of the waters, people climbed trees and clung to the roofs of their homes. More than a week later, hungry, cold and often sick, the majority of survivors were still waiting for help to arrive …”
2nd: Breaking bug news. Just when I smugly thought I was over my cucaracha issues. I discover that a hopping, skipping cucaracha look-a-like that fell from I-don’t-know where in my room like it was trying out for the 2012 Triple Jump team is a cockroach mutation. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaargh. Forget the wagon! Pass me a strong Nica Libre…
18th: Once upon a time far far away in Nicaland there lived a man who sat in a chair on his doorstep watching the world go by. One day along came a cheery girl who said hello to the man. The man looked on wearily but returned the greeting perhaps with a frown, perhaps with suspicion. The next time the girl saw the man she said hello and smiled. And so it went on for seven weeks. This morning when I saw the man and said hello he gave me the biggest smile. fnwl♥
21st: while you’re stressing about how much to spend/what to buy for people for Christmas remember that sometimes the simplest and most inexpensive of gifts are the best. For example, maybe the best and most precious gift you can give this year is a little of your time.
26th Nov: So much for my lie-in? I think the families on either side are deaf. On the right – the recorded mass started just before 6am and on the left it sounds like there’s a disco going on – can actually hear the words of the songs and I’m wearing earplugs!!!
30th: …And I’m setting up a new business LyndalooHugsFromNica.com since I’m busy administering virtual and real ones at a rate of knots at the minute 😀
1st: School’s out! Summer school starts on Monday. j-19= Jamaica minus 18 days.
Later that day: I’m in a cafe where breakfast which includes – fruit and coffee on top of your order – is served until 3pm. It’s 1.30 – whoohooooooo. I’m having an Ernest Hemingway day 🙂
3rd: Just about back in one piece from the volcano in Leon. Only consumed half of it. Had to be coaxed down by the guide – well, I don’t do adventure and danger and there was far too much of it today 🙂
4th: La Virgen. La Concepción. La Purísima. A big deal for many Nicaraguans. It culminates in a big shouty fest on Wednesday called La gritería. Quién causa tanta alegria? La concepción de María”
15th: Did I mention that I’d been on the radio this afternoon. Live radio! Ana S too! Because we’re fabulous and Nicaragua had to find out about us 🙂
16th: A week of thefts. This is what has been taken from me or from La Casita this week:
3 x erasers
2 x pencil sharpeners
1 x knife (the only one that chopped vegetables)
1 x chopping board
1 x package sent express delivery from the UK containing a few treats from Hetty Daffodil 😦
1 x my peace (my patience with certain people has evaporated)
fnwl ♥ – just about 😦
17th: My first Christmas party today – in London – via Skype! Whoohoo – let’s see if it works out ok. fnwl♥
18th: Why I don’t make a habit of hanging out with 18-20 yr olds: BECAUSE I HAVE TO CARRY THEIR DRUNKEN/COMATOSE ARSE HOME – ALL 6 FT 3 OF IT IN A TAXI IN GRANADA, NICARAGUA CENTRAL AMERICA. Yes, that’s me shouting.
On a lighter note: tonight there were more disco beaux than I could shake a stick at. There were the usual Mr Thrusty-hips – I had to use dance/yoga counter poses with them. But one in particular with an indigenous name I couldn’t quite get because of the music, whose ancestors are from a Guatemalan Tribe I couldn’t quite make out because of my disco-deafness, aged 24 was very handsome. He had a very agreeable chest and I told him so. Speak as you find, I say 🙂
19th December: I flew to Kingston, Jamaica
20th: OMG have found Internet access in Bridgeport!!! A wa’a gwaaan! Gooooooood Morning!!!!
21st: Three components of the Jamaican defence have been called out. Joyce came back from the shops in a hurry forgetting the toilet paper. That wasn’t in my just-in-case packing and I have no standby. (Just in case we are overrun with terrifying armed military I’ll pack …)
23rd: Next time you snort some cocaine, puff on a spliff or even some crack, think about what you’re doing to countries like Jamaica. This morning from about 7am a group of women where in heated debate about drugs in the area. “My baby’s going to become a runner when he goes to school – a drugs runner,” lamented one woman. (I’ve not been able to post my recording). Think about that next time you’re on a high and remember how you’re to blame for the decline of this beautiful island. Sermon over, it’s time for me to eat. The chef is at work so it’s boiled eggs for me 😦
If I ever work out the technical problem, I’ll add the video!
New Year’s Eve 2011: No complains about 2011: I set my intention, I ignored the critics, the detractors and the moaners. I only mingled with the good folk and I went forth and had a good time. I only looked on the bright side even when things seemed bleak. I stuck to the my favourite mantras: “Live as if you were to die tomorrow, learn as if you were to live for ever,” “It’s never too late, it’s never too bad, and you’re never too old or too sick to start from scratch once again.” So for 2012 it’s the same ole same ole but cranked up some more. My resolution? Inspire and be inspired at every opportunity. Just in case I’m not online when you hit 0000 01.01.2012: HAPPY NEW YEAR. ¡FELIZ AÑO! From JA with love ♥
To be continued…