Some people have requested a “day in the life” blog post. I wasn’t sure how to capture that in one post, but I did create a sort of guided meditation for all of you if you’re interested. I think it will give a bit of a glimpse of my day to day, but I also want to note that I am not trying to paint a “reality” of what it is like to live in Nicaragua. I am only one person and view my day through my personal lens, which means privileged and as an outsider. If you’re interested…read each bullet point and then close your eyes to try and picture what it might look like and what you might feel. I’d love to hear your reactions, but I’d especially love to learn about what your days look like if I were to do the same activity.
Thanks for the interest in my life, please know I am always eager to hear/read about all of yours. Sorry for the length!!
• Wake up at 7:00a.m. (sometimes feeling rested, but as of late still feeling tired), eat oatmeal, read a brief entry in “All the Saints” as a daily devotion, and then leave house at 7:30a.m. to go to the bus stop.
• As you walk your 5+ minutes to the bus stop, you will pass many Nicaraguans, who have probably been working out of or in their house for many hours before you awake.
• You get to the bus stop, not having to wait too long for one to come by since you have 3 different options to take to work (unlike one communitymate who has 1, very infrequent option and no set schedule to follow for buses.
• You race to get onto the bus and it is already filled with many people. You travel (or climb over people) to get to the back of the bus after paying your C$3 cordabas bus fare (22 cords to US$1).
• You hit the side of the bus if you cannot make eye contact with the driver/money collector so you can get off at your bus stop (about 15 minutes away from your house).
• Exiting the bus, you can see the colorful mural that marks the walls of Pajarito. You cross the 4 lane expressway (with caution…don’t worry, mom!) and immediately see co-workers and residents walking around through the gate, as you smell the delicious breads and postres baking in the panadería.
• Entering the gate, around 7:50, you greet the guard as you sign-in into your very own, (and passed down from 2 JVs prior) green notebook.
• You are immediately greeted by name, hug, and/or kiss of a resident/a couple of residents on your walk to your area.
• As you enter your area, you greet the other 7 co-workers (5 of which are Nicaraguan, 1 volunteer from Japan and another from Germany) who are also in your area. Placing your backpack on your chair, you plan or prepare for your day: Cutting strips of magazine for recycled jewelry class, mapping out yoga poses, picking the books you will read, and reflecting upon whom you feel could use additional attention and presence.
• You walk around the different dormitories greeting residents and co-workers…picture the smiles, tears, laughter, screams, friendly and sometimes uninterested responses or encounters.
• Begin your activity and exude all of the positive energy you can give to the residents, wishing you felt you had more to give.
• After pausing for a quick merienda or snack of cookies, fresco, or fruit, you continue with an activity…this time, it’s your storytime corner and you dive into, pretty animatedly, the lives of the characters in your story. You insert questions about the colors on the page or the characters in the story…and maybe even throw in an action/song that makes you feel a bit more like yourself at work and gets laughs from residents.
• It’s 11:30a.m. and you travel to Hogar Ositos to help with lunch. Depending on if the food is already in the hogar, you might journey to the kitchen window to help pick it up or start right in breaking down/mashing/shredding the meal for the 3 residents you feed. Grab a towel to place as a bib for the resident you have fed for the past month and will feed for your 2 years. Explain the dish and that it is time to eat with a smile and comforting voice (although they might not be able to understand you or respond…it feels most dignified that way). Serve the meal spoonful by spoonful. And after, have your resident open their mouth and pour in the water or fresco. Picture fast eating days and others very slow, depending on the food or day of the resident.
• Then, it’s your time to eat, but before you leave Ositos…give an applause to/praise 3 other residents because they have finished all the food on their plates (they are 5 years old and are able to feed themselves). You won’t be able to prevent your smile when those same 3 ask for “un beso” and point to their cheek before you exit and they nap.
• You’ll eat the same food as the residents and will sometimes eat inside with those who work in your area or eat outside with the two younger co-workers who are in your area.
• After lunch, you can take a workplace accepted nap at your desk to rejuvenate for the afternoon’s activities. You’ll pretend to be still sleeping and get tickled by two residents who like to sneak up on you. Immediately, you’ll be filled with both laughter and acceptance.
• Continue with your activities or help with a co-worker’s activity. Maybe even help with some English homework of one resident…which may or may not include belting “my heart will go on” by Celine Dion (solo) because they need to practice it for class
• Have a random chat with one of the educators and feel filled with excitement to be building relationships with co-workers and Nicaraguans.
• You leave the conversation and are greeted by a resident…they have invited you to join them/purchased a piece of cake or glass of soda for you…and you are again, filled with love.
• Next, you see a resident you wished you had spent time with as they look lonely sitting by themselves.
• End your day at Pajarito with saying goodbye (hugs and kisses) and collecting your belongings from your desk. Head to the gate to sign-out and step out to the bus stop. Wave to the cooking staff and the residents you can see from the other side of the fence.
• Step on another crowded bus and watch your worksite’s walls become smaller—filled with love and a mind full of thoughts about those I leave behind.
• Walk home from the bus stop—waving to the two women you’ve befriended at their tortilla stand.
• Sometimes travel for your once a week trip to the internet café, or home to quickly change for your run at the school next door, or if it’s Friday…head to the kitchen since it’s your night to cook.
• After dinner as a community, you might have “community” or “spirituality” night if it’s Tuesday and Thursday night, respectively. You might also have the night free—which might mean journaling, writing a letter, reading, listening to music, playing a game, studying Spanish, or chatting with a communitymate.
• Around 9:00p.m., begin getting ready for bed and then hopefully drift off to sleep to get the much needed rest for the next day. But before falling asleep, give thanks for another day in Nicaragua and for the ability to learn and to build relationships.
Repeat (really, in never quite the same way) and embrace the beautiful lucha of your new life.