The day started at 7:45, with a balanced breakfast of eggs, rice and beans, and fruit. By 8, we split into three groups to go hiking.
Today was a light day for my group. We rode in the ambulancia part of the time and walked maybe 15 minutes or more to each home. We visited somewhere between 7 and 10 homes from 9AM-1PM.
My task was to observe the condition of the latrines, the yards (such as if there was a pigpen and if garbage was compiled) and to see if water filters were clean. There were some surprising finds at some of the homes.
Some homes lacked a kitchen and/or a bathroom, while did not have water filters or pilas, a sink to wash clothes. And in one of the latrines, I observed some pups sleeping on the ground! Not only were the observations fascinating to me, but also the families themselves.
All the families we visited were very generous. At one home, a woman gave us some bread (who by the way didn’t have a kitchen). Perhaps she picked it up at another home or a bakery. At another home, a mother, daughter, and granddaughter were present with me and a group member. With some extra time at the home, the mother demonstrated how to make guajada (a type of cheese), tortillas, and avena. Then she offered us some of her fresh made cooking.
We talked about the usual things such where I was from, my hairstyle (because this was the first time they saw locks), and how common foods in Nicaragua are in the US (such as beans and tortillas). I found it difficult to understand some things with their dialect, but they were patient and helped me learn. Not only were the home visits exciting, but also the hiking itself.
At some point of the hike, I was able to chat with Donald, an AMOS staff member. He told me that it’s his eighth year working with AMOS. That’s quite a bit of time! He also claimed that he once spoke English very well but since hasn’t practiced it. Yet, he can understand when people speak it. He says my Spanish is great, but I beg to differ. I just happen to understand his Spanish well. Funny how language works huh?
After the home visits, we had a nice lunch of beans, rice, and tortilla around 1. Some kids were around too, wanting to play with us. It was stormy out again, but that didn’t stop them. They played Dona Ana on the porch, singing in the rain. I could have played, but I didn’t want to get soaked.
Instead of playing games, I talked with some of the locals for a bit. They wanted to learn some English, and they actually already knew some words. They could count to at least 30, say the alphabet, knew hi, how are you, goodbye, hello; mother; and father among others. The hardest part though was the pronunciation. For example, instead of pronouncing the t sound, it would come out as ch. That’s interestingly the same thing that happened in San Jose de Mula.
And we also made an animal friend: a white Shih-Tzu who we named Amigo. He would sit or lay under the dining room table with us often to keep us company. We often forgot that he was there though and the poor thing got hurt.