Well, I told you I would tell you about the Nicaraguan Sign Language (NSL) meeting last time. Here's the pic again.
It was Wednesday night last week we went to the NSL meeting. We first of all did not know where it was. They don't seem to use addresess here. Well, I'm told the addresses are based off of the churches, even the congregation names are based off of the churches. So, it's very confusing. We were given a general idea of where the Kingdom Hall was, a different one than we are going to for the English meetings. So, we took the bus and started walking in the general direction we thought it was. As we were walking Lee noticed a man flagging down a taxi and heard him say "Salon del Reino" so, Lee asked him if he was going to the NSL meeting. He was! We all crammed in the taxi and off we sped for the KH. We got there just in time!
The meeting was interesting. Nicaraguan Sign Language is different than American Sign Language. We are told it's about 75% similar. We noticed some signs that were the same except for a letter. For example, the sign for water in ASL is a "W" by the side of your mouth. In NSL it is an "A" by the side of your mouth. That's because "water" is "agua" in Spanish. Get it? The numbers are quite a bit different in NSL however, the letters are almost all the same except for "T". The ASL letter "T" is a bad word in Nicaragua! Even for those not in sign language!
Some of the time I thought I knew most of what was said. However, there were a few times I felt completely lost and had to try to catch up. Lee felt he knew what was going on for most of the meeting. They are studying "My Book of Bible Stories" in NSL and it is available on jw.org, so we were able to prepare for the congregation book study. Both Lee and Josie gave answers. I chickened out at the last minute for mine because I thought it didn't really answer the question correctly. Oh well, next time...
Here's a link to the NSL on the JW website if you want to check it out: http://www.jw.org/apps/index.html?option=QrYQZRQVNFVTr&txtCMSLang=E
They do not have the bible in NSL. They do not get the Watchtower study articles in NSL either. The brothers here have a lot of work to do for each meeting. Those of you who were in ASL a long time ago know what it's like! And, you appreciate how far ASL has come!
As in ASL the meetings are very quiet. That was interrupted by fireworks going off nearby. I thought Lee was going to hit the floor! It was VERY startling. Another thing that we noticed at the NSL meeting was that they do the same schedule as the Spanish congregations, which is pretty much the same as the English congregations. So, they have more than one chapter in the bible reading each week.
It was very nice getting to know the brothers and sisters in the congregation there. There are not many in the congregation. Only one elder and two ministerial servants. As you can see from the pic above the sisters are handling the computer and camera for the meetings.
There have been a lot of families visiting Leon English congregation recently. We have one family of four from Virginia, a family of four from Washington state, and us too. Then we had one family of five from Canada that was here for a short time.
Now back to this past week. Sorry, I wanted to catch you up with the NSL meeting from the previous week. Okay, let's see what else? Our meeting last weekend was changed because of school for the elders in the Spanish congregation. We had our meeting on Saturday and preaching on Sunday. Not too much to report there. Just a nice normal weekend.
On Sunday night we had our first company over for dinner. We invited Nate and Ashlee, with their adorable baby girl Liliana, and Mariela. I wasn't sure what I should cook them for dinner but, Lee wanted to get some fish from the market down the road. He went to the market bright and early Sunday morning. He came back with two medium sized red snapper. He said they cost a total of $1.50 (US)!! He said that would have cost about $10-15 at home. And, they were fresh off the boat that morning!
So, we decided to make fish tacos with cabbage, guacamole, plantains (the sweet, ripe ones) and beans and rice. I was a little nervous making beans, rice and plantains for people that live here since they are staples. I'm happy to report that the beans were a huge hit! (I make the Cuban-style beans with onion and bell pepper.) They cleaned up ALL the beans! And, Mariela, the native Nicaraguan, said they were the BEST beans she's ever had in her life. WOW! Of course, everything else was yummy. We cleaned up the fish tacos too. :-) We had a great time getting to know them.
Monday we had to catch up on the laundry! Man, it piles up quick here! Since you are so hot and sweaty, and it's dry and dusty, your clothes don't last long. I think I need to do a load of laundry every day. So, not a very exciting day but, necessary business.
Tuesday we were back at Spanish class. We still feel like we don't know much but, being immersed in the language during all our daily activities helps us to recognize more words. Now we just have to work on our memory! We had our first homework from class. We were supposed to work on verb conjugation. Lee and Levi were assigned ten sentences. She told me I should do twenty sentences! Practice makes perfect, right?
Here's the boys at Spanish class:
Wednesday we were back in service. We went out to a very rural territory, called Ruben Dario. It takes ten minutes to walk to the bus stop, then about 20-25 minutes to get there on the bus. Then there are all dirt roads and lots of little houses, some more like shacks. There are lots of little kids playing in the street, one little toddler was naked and SO incredibly dirty. They all look happy and healthy though. In our territory we are only looking for people that speak English so, we do a lot of walking trying to reach all the houses and people we see. I unfortunately wore sandals that day and my feet and shoes were super dirty when we got home. We tried to find a couple that Lee spoke with the previous week but, they weren't home. All in all, we had a good time. Just hot and dirty by the time we got home!
Here's Josie making a friend in the rural territory. (Don't worry we carry, and use, LOTS of hand sanitizer. And, we take every opportunity to wash our hands. And, I don't let her touch the mangy-looking dogs!)
Here's Josie making more friends in the rural territory. Handing out candy to the kids.
And, when we got home she had more friends visiting. These two live in the neighborhood. They are very well-fed compared to most of the dogs here. The one on Josie's right is named "Lassie".
Wednesday night we were invited to a going-away party for a family, the Marsh family, that was visiting from Virginia. Well, the parents and daughter live in VA but, their 21-year old son lives in Pennsylvania, where they used to live. It was fun. We had some snacks and some dancing. After our busy morning I was ready for a nap but, I enjoyed watching my kids and everyone else dance. At one point Levi was dancing with three of the local girls! Watch out! Then Josie swooped in and took him away from them. Smart girl! ;-)
Here's Levi with three of the boys that were leaving. The one with the grey shirt was part of the Marsh family.
I know it's a bad pic but, count the girls dancing with Levi. Yup, three of them. ;-)
And, the part that made me smile. When Josie came to steal her brother away to dance with her.
We get to see many interesting things on our walks to and from the meeting. Here is a pic of the cows across the street from the bus stop. Behind the trees is the San Cristobal volcano. It's been smoking a little but, it's about two and a half hours away from here (I'm told.)
This is one of the beautiful buildings being restored in town. Our little friend, Ryan, said that it looks dangerous. Yes, I agree with you Ryan! I'm going to take some more pics of things that are kinda "dangerous" here, like the streets and sidewalks!
Lee wanted to show you all the condiment packaging here. Mayonnaise, mustard and ketchup. I like how there's a pic of a bottle on the ketchup bag, just in case you weren't sure.
Thursday night we had meeting. It was such lovely weather that night. Since we weren't sweating to death we took the opportunity to take a family pic. I thought my friends would be happy to see that Josie and I are preserving our whiteness. And, yes we are enjoying ourselves! Can you tell?
This is my favorite little helper. She washed a whole sink of dishes for me. That made me smile too. :-)
I had a little time to relax on the porch over the weekend. I thought you might like to see the view from the porch. There's a little house across the yard, and one next to us. We are very secure with a wall or fence all the way around the yard, and a gate. And, there's a guard at the entrance to the neighborhood.
Here's a close-up of the bouganvillea for you:
Sunday we had meeting. Here's a few pics after the meeting. After every meeting we stack up the chairs. The kids think that's an invitation to play on them. Ahem...
Here's Josie with a few of her friends. The tallest is Mercedes, then her sister Sofia. They are part of the Larson family from Washington state. They are staying in the little house next door. Josie will not be happy when they have to go home next week! In the front is Natalie. She is from here in Nicaragua. She's three years old and a real cutie. In this pic her little face kills me!
There was a family from Canada that have recently moved to Nicaragua, a town in the mountains, I don't recall the name. They came to visit over the weekend and came to our meeting. They really liked Leon but, they are in a Spanish congregation and would like to stay in Spanish. I'm sure the friends here were trying to see if they wanted to move here though. This is their son, Levi. Yup, another Levi. He's nine. This is where I found him after the meeting. Reading old bound volumes of the Awake magazine. We went to lunch together with his family and another sister in the congregation here. He was very funny. Such a little boy. Reminded me of some of the things my Levi used to say.
One of the healthiest horses I've seen around here.
We had more company for dinner on Sunday night. This time we had Hazel and Francinette, two young sisters in the English congregation. We asked them to bring their parents who are in the Spanish congregation. I made spaghetti and meatballs for dinner. And, coconut banana bread for dessert. It was yummy! And, they all loved it too. It's a challenge finding things that are familiar in the stores at times but, I've been able to make quite a few things that taste like home.
We had fun playing after dinner. The kids played with the girls, they are 14 and 21. And, we played Bananagrams with the parents. Their parents don't know much English, and as you know we are learning Spanish. So for the game we played English words and they played Spanish words. It was fun. And, we got to try to use the things we're learning in Spanish class. It was a nice end to our week.
So, that's where I'm going to leave you. I hope you have all had a good week. Enjoying the snow in NC and hopefully staying safe and warm wherever you are.
The Bachman Family