Week Two - A bad start but, we're still alive. ;-)
A view of the countryside
Monday's plans came to a screeching halt when Josie awoke at 2am vomiting. She was quickly followed by me. About six hours later Levi joined us. Blech! No fun! We've been pretty puny all day even though the getting sick part didn't last long. So, this morning Lee made arrangements for us to stay at the hostel one more night. We will move tomorrow after our Spanish class. And, the beach will just have to wait for another day...
Tuesday we had our Spanish class. We were still not feeling 100%, it's hard to recover when it's so hot and you don't want or feel like eating anything. We managed to work through it with Power-Ade and Pringles. :-) Our class went well, just made us feel like we know SO little. Our brains will get a workout every week!
Then we got to move! We have an apartment now! Yay!! It's really a tiny house with two bedrooms, a jack-and-jill bathroom and a room with a small kitchen, table, couch and TV. As I said last week, it's hard to find a place that is furnished and that includes all the perks we have here. The one nice thing is that we have another family in the apartment two doors down. And, just a few days ago the husband's parents came to visit too. So, we are all witnesses in the apartments, three in a row! The negative thing about being in this apartment is that it is far (about 4 miles) out of town. That means we have to leave an hour before our meetings so that we can take the bus most of way and then walk about 10-15 minutes to the Kingdom Hall. And, the service meeting is at 8:15AM! We are getting a lot of practice with early mornings, and walking a lot.
Our living room, kitchen, dining area:
Wednesday was service. We had a nice group, I think they said we had about 25. The poor brother conducting, Sergio (we call him Big Sergio because there's a young brother Levi's age names Sergio as well,) didn't know what to do with all of us. We were assigned some territory not very far from where we live. So, that means we had to get back on the bus. The territory was small but, by the time we were finished with it, we were finished too! We felt like such wimps! We had a little break for a cold drink. The stand was out of gaseosas (sodas) so we had to buy from the girl with the cooler and the pile of oranges. After our refreshments we decided to walk towards town. It was a lot farther than we thought. The good part was that one young sister caught up to us and brought Levi to a return visit on the way. There was a young man that spoke English she had met before in a little store. Levi was able to share a scripture and the January Watchtower and Awake magazines. Then more walking. We called it exploring.
Our break-a for a Coca:
It's interesting, here they have stands with mostly fruit, not a lot of vegetables, all over the place. They will leave you the smallest little sliver of sidewalk to walk on so they can pile their wares for sale. They have oranges that they peel for you (with a knife), then they cut it in half and sprinkle sugar on it. I saw one that looked like they sprinkled powder creamer on top. Of course, they have other fruit peeled and cut as well. It just looks unappetizing to us with the bugs flying around and the dust and dirt in the air. I'd rather just buy the whole fruit to clean and cut myself.
Speaking of fruit. There are so many different kinds of fruit here! We see them in the store, or on the stands, and we think "What is THAT?" We thought it would be nice to try a new fruit every few days to see if we can find any new favorites. So, after a bible study the other day, the sister I was with (Ashlee) saw a tree with this VERY strange looking fruit. It looked a little like the fat caterpillar in "A Bug's Life", minus the cute little face. The woman told Ashlee, in Spanish, that we could have some and that it was very good for you. So, after we walked away Ashlee told me about the fruit. She said it was called Noni. The people here do NOT like it and that it is a superfood with anti-cancer properties and such. She said the woman told her that you should let it get soft and then blend it with some orange juice and strain out the pulp. I thought "Cool! I have an awesome fruit that will make me healthy!" (Side note - Don't they sell Noni juice at home? Isn't it very expensive?) Well, I put it in the fruit basket to ripen. Then I thought I'd do some research on the unusual fruits we find here, including my Noni fruit (oh, it's also called "Dog Dumpling", that wasn't encouraging to me.) Here's a link to a funny YouTube video about the fruits here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crQZdZwDZPs So....did you watch it? That video made me NOT want to try my cool fruit. Then, the other day we came home and there was a funny smell in the apartment. I located the source of the stink, my Noni fruit. I smelled it (yuck!), then had Lee verify that it was terrible (isn't that what you're supposed to do? "Hey, this stinks. Smell it." ;-)) Lee threw it in the woods. So, no more Noni. And, I'm not too upset about it. I mean, who wants to eat something that tastes "somewhere between old pickles and gym socks"? (Didn't you watch the YouTube link? It's the last fruit but, it's pretty funny.)
Here's a pic of Levi opening a coconut for me:
Thursday we decided we had to do some laundry. Now, we don't have a washing machine here. We have a wash sink with a scrub board (is that what they're called?) attached. I've never washed ALL of my clothes by hand so I had to do a little research on how I should proceed. Google is great! Now I know a lot more about hand washing clothes. It's a time consuming process, and it gives you quite the arm workout. My poor wrists are sore after every load! (I have skinny wrists that already give me trouble sometimes when I type too much, knit, stuff like that.) Now, we could have our laundry washed here at the apartment at 50 cents a piece! (That's expensive here.) Or, we could take it into town to have it washed. Again, it would cost us and we'd have to worry about the smell, or getting all our clothes back. So, we decided to use the Dr. Bronner's liquid lavender soap I brought (it says on the bottle that it's 18-in-1 soap!) and a pinch of baking soda to wash, with a little vinegar in the rinse water to keep our clothes from being stiff after drying on the line. I'm happy to say it was successful! However, the laundry is never done! There's always more to do. We need to try to get in a good routine of washing so that there's less at one time. I have a load to do in the morning and then we will be caught up...for like ten minutes...
Here's Josie and I doing laundry:
My laundry products. Who knew it could be so simple?! Can you see how much soap I've used? I've done about 8 small loads of laundry and it looks like I haven't even opened the bottle. (You're only supposed to use about 15 drops in each small load. The website said 1/4 cup for a regular washing machine, which is about 40-50 gallons of water. That equals about 1 tablespoon for 10 gallons of water!)
The highlight of Thursday was, after we hung the laundry, we went to the beach! We have never seen the Pacific ocean so, it was a first we all shared together. The sand here is very dark, and the waves can be strong. We were told to go to a little place called Playa de Roca. There's a large outcropping of rocks that protect a little nook of the beach where it was calm and nice. We explored, just a little, had some lunch at the little restaurant on the beach and then took the bus back home.
When we arrived home from the beach we had no water! It seems that all three apartments share the same garden hose for our water. Not really, it just seems that way. Not a lot of water pressure. So, when the others are showering, or running the water for laundry, there's a little dribble that comes out of our faucet. We were able to all get showered and clean before the meeting though. And, I used the 'breeze and bus' method to dry my hair. Walking to the bus stop the breeze was blowing strongly and then the bus windows are open for yet some more styling of my crazy hair. Dry by the time I got to the meeting.
Funny story about our shower. When we walked into our new apartment the first day I looked into the shower and thought "Hmmm. That doesn't look safe." See for yourself! (Below) We asked some friends about the hot water heater attached to our shower head and found out they are called "widow makers". Did I say that there's no hot water? Nope, all the faucet handles have cold water. Lee said it makes the plumbing easy. So, I used the little water heater for my shower the first night and it seemed to work okay. It's not exactly hot but it makes it warm enough to get under easily. Otherwise it's kind of like getting in a cold pool, you just have to get past the initial shock and then you're okay. Lee took a shower and tried to fiddle with it during his shower and it shocked him. He said even though I couldn't feel it there was electricity flowing through with the water. Yikes! So, Lee tried to find out if he could fix it for me. No go. He located some electrical tape (it was only taped with masking tape!) and disconnected the electric from it. He's good with that stuff. And, my head was achy from it for a few days! I probably killed a few brain cells, or electro-stimulated my scalp to grow my hair. Like I need that. Glad we're not going to die from taking a shower though.
Here's our shower. Can you see the wires poking out of the top??!! It's a nice roomy shower though!
Thursday night we had the meeting. The fun part was when the power went out. Wow, it was DARK! The brothers hopped to action and got a little generator running for the lights. No fans though. Thankfully the power was only out for a short while. Then we had the lovely breeze from the fans to keep us cool.
Friday was service again. This time we had about 40 people! Josie and I had plans to go on a bible study with Ashlee (see Noni story above) and her adorable little girl, Liliana. (That was one of the names I had on my list when I was pregnant with Josie but Lee wasn't into it.) The boys went with two different brothers. I'll let Lee tell you about his experiences in the next post.
Friday afternoon we were invited to the congregation soccer game. We traveled with the Larson family (our neighbors two doors down) to the medical University fields. We were the first ones there and we couldn't reach anyone by phone so, we weren't exactly sure we were in the right place. After a little wait we were pleasantly surprised that we were indeed in the right place.
The rainbow after the soccer game. The main rainbow was a triple and there was another faint rainbow above the bright one. We could see the whole arc too. Amazing!
This is Ashlee and her adorable baby girl Liliana, after the soccer game. Ashlee and I were part of the wall-o-women guarding the goal on our team. We were a great offense!
Okay, I'm going to leave you with this last pic of the Nicaraguan Sign Language meeting we went to on Wednesday night. They need TONS of help in sign language. I'll tell you about it in the next post.
Much Love to you All!
The Bachman Family