I know that I have been away from my blog for a while now, but I hope to write a bit more frequently in order to continue to share about my life here in Nicaragua…
With December quickly approaching, I am coming upon the time of entering my 2nd year as a Jesuit Volunteer, which means many things—receiving new volunteers and beginning a new JV community, saying goodbye to my current 2nd year community mates as they complete their time as a JV in Nicaragua, reflecting on my first year and looking at ways I can mover deeper towards my goals of accompaniment and solidarity building, and also receiving visitors from home. In December I am expecting a visit from my boyfriend and in January a visit from my mom and one of my aunts. I am very excited for the opportunity to share my life with them.
Upon thinking more about this time of visitors, I realize that there are many loved ones I will not be sharing my life with in Nicaragua, tangibly, that I really wish to keep including in my time here. So, I have decided to kick up my blogging a bit with things I am thinking about and doing as well as share with you all some photos of my house and community that I have been meaning to post since last December!…
For now…here is the house I live at and the people I live with!
It is a space I am so grateful to have and share with my JV community mates and Nicaraguan friends, but it is also a place that we, as JVs, struggle with—particularly when it comes to living out our values of simple living and social justice. It is definitely much larger than the houses of our Nicaraguan neighbors and friends and it is behind a large wall that can make one feel pretty removed from the neighborhood community. It certainly requires additional effort to reach out to people in our direct barrio and to make the house feel approachable, but we are continuously working the bridge that structural divide and thinking of ways we can be mindful of the privileges we have through the house that many Nicaraguans do not have access to. Here are a few: each person having their own bedroom and having a space to retreat to for time to be alone, a refrigerator, garden of green space, a large living room area to host gatherings, living next door to a school and therefore not having a lot of loud noises at night, and having guards at the school who also watch over our house because we rent from the school…the list can go on and on.
Hopefully, in this short amount of space you are able to picture a lot of what my community and I think about in regards to our very tangible privilege of our living space…it certainly is a part of our daily reflection as we seek to build community in Ciudad Sandino.
Outside of House…we have two entrances, this is the one I enter and leave out of most
Once you enter the white gate, you enter our garden area and patio…the other house you see towards the right is a house that hosts three Nicaraguan teachers from the school we rent the house, that is across the street.
This is our sala or living room (pictures taken last december). I took these pictures last December so hence the xmas spirit (though we have xmas lights and streamers up year round). You can see we have space to sit and chat as well as a section where our large dinner table is. We have dinner together almost every night as a community.
Along the wall of the living room we have our library filled with lots of great books on justice, spirituality, theology, history, and other pieces of literature…without a tv as a distraction (as well as no schoolwork)…I have really enjoyed the pleasure of leisurely reading. You can´t quite see it, but it extends with an ironing board filled too!
Behind the bookshelves, you can see our kitchen. Complete with stove, microwave, and toaster oven…though we try to really not use those electrical appliances very often.
Here is one aspect of communal living, for me, some of the less enjoyable aspects…our chore wheel and cooking & watering schedule.
As you leave the other door of the sala, you enter our laundry space for hanging clothes…this covered, yet open space has really come in handy when we need to have our clothes dry in the rainy season. We have a laundry washer, but we actually wash our clothing by hand instead as a way to save electricity and water.
Our phone (which we share as a house of 5 without cell phones) is also a part of the laundry area. So, Mom and Garrett…here is where you can picture me sitting when you call!
As you exit the laundry area, you see our lovely hammock that is always a nice stop when just coming home from work or to nap in on the weekends. That door behind the hammock is the one that leads to my room!
As you can see from the hammock picture, we also have a mural that was completed by the JV community before I came. Many JV houses have murals that each volunteer then puts their handprint on…here is ours:
Translation: Walker (or traveler), there is no road. You make the road by walking.
As you enter that door you see behind the hammock, you see this!
The door that my towel hangs from leads into the bathroom that I share with fellow 1st year community mate, Elspeth. (Another very atypical aspect of our house compared to other houses…each two rooms has its own bathroom and shower.)
And here is my lovely community!!
From Bottom row to Top…
Elspeth(1st year) and Adrienne (2nd year)
Tony (2nd year), ME, and Bianca (2nd year)
We are on retreat in La Garnacha
So, I hoped you like the brief tour and that you can maybe picture a little bit more where I am living with my 4 community mates.
Hope to be posting more blogs soon…