Tuesday, March 6, 2012

What is Poverty?

If I were to ask you "What is poverty?", how would you respond? This post is meant to be interactive...think about what poverty is to you, and leave a comment. Don't worry about saying the "wrong" thing; I'm not looking for any specific answer. I want to know what YOU think when you hear the word poverty. It can be a word or two, a sentence, a paragraph, whatever you feel. Your answers will help me in a future blog post that will be based on your answers, my experience here in Nicaragua, and a book I am reading called When Helping Hurts. If you'd rather your comments be anonymous when I use them later, please don't hesitate to send me your ideas in an email or Facebook message and indicate that you'd like them to remain anonymous.

Y para mis amigos que sólo hablan español...porque quiero que ustedes participen en esto tambien! Si te preguntara "¿Qué es la pobreza?", ¿cómo me responderías? El propósito de este post es que sea interactivo...piensa en lo que es la pobreza para ti, y deja un comentario. No te preoucupes por equivocarte en la respuesta; no busco una respuesta específica. Quiero saber lo que TU piensas cuando escuchas la palabra pobreza. Puede ser una o dos palabras, una frase, un párrafo, lo que tú quieras. Tus respuestas me van a ayudar en el futuro para hacer otro post que estará basado en tus respuestas, mi experiencia aquí en Nicaragua, y un libro que estoy leyendo que se llama When Helping Hurts. Si prefieres que tus comentarios se mantengan anónimos cuando los utilizo después, por favor mándame tus ideas por medio de un mensaje por correo electrónico o por Facebook e indica que prefieres que tus comentarios sean anónimos.

Thank you y gracias!

email: asullivan531@gmail.com

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Feliz Cumpleaños!

January and February is a marathon of birthdays in Martha's family, which means I have had access to lots of cake and piñatas in the past two months! So what's the recipe for a stellar birthday in the land of lakes and volcanoes? Lots of food, cake, music, dancing, and of course a piñata (I honestly have never seen so many piñatas in my life!)

The first birthday in the marathon was Martha's dad, Angel. We had a wonderful typical Nicaraguan meal of carne asada, tortillas, ensalada de repollo, y gaseosa.
The fork and knife are just for show. To become a true Nica, I had to learn to eat everything with my fingers!

While blasting dance music (salsa, merengue, cumbia, etc), we hung out and talked for awhile...
Martha's sister Patricia came to visit for the weekend with her son.

I'm pretty sure there's an unwritten law in Nicaragua that you're not allowed to smile in pictures

The birthday boy with his favorite daughter (though maybe I'm a bit biased)


Dancing! Martha's dad was the first one up!
And what's a birthday without cake?
The kids sure had a good time sampling the cake haha

Birthday #2
The next birthday was for Martha's nephew, who turned 3. They invited over some of the neighborhood kids to celebrate with cake and a piñata.They also served vigorón, which is a typical Nicaraguan food made of chicharrón (fried pork rinds) and yucca, though I forgot to get a picture.
The chavalos with mom, dad, grandpa, and Tia Ana (Martha)

Now with me!

Birthday boy sampling his cake! In case you're wondering, yes we did eat it with our hands.

You're supposed to dance while whacking the piñata - great job Martha!

p.s. the candy is already gone. We're just hitting the piñata for fun!

Look at those moves!

After the piñata was dismembered, the kids used the parts as swords and shields to continue playing!

Look at the air he got!
Birthday #3
Next was Martha's son, who turned 7 years old. They were going to have a piñata, but decided to fill their inflatable pool to let the kids cool off for a bit instead. Sidenote - I have really missed having an easy way to cool off in the heat! Nobody has pools around here, and we've only made it to Rio Grande to swim once...so most days are spent sweating from about 10am until dinner time. Yum.

Anyway, the kids had a great time playing in the pool, even before there was water in it!

Hermanos! Playing in the empty pool. Love their imaginations!

Birthday fun!

Tobi was the lifeguard :-) (The pink is from when he rubbed against the newly painted pink bike)

Chair = improv diving board

Pause the fun for some breakfast

Cutest hermanos ever!

Botando el agua!

Love it! Ultimate "water slide"

Arroz aguado. I helped cook this!
Enjoying the meal! Arroz aguado con gaseosa (soda)

We had more people than planned, so I had to wash extra bowls and spoons. Note that the "sink" is outside!

Eskimo (ice cream) and video games. A boy's dream come true!

Birthday boy cutting his cake!
I think it's safe to say he enjoyed his cake!
Anyone wondering how to sing Happy Birthday in Spanish? Here you go! (By the way, since I have been working on this post, this song has been stuck in my head and driving me loca!)

Celebrating in school! Aren't the kids so cute in their uniforms?

Congratulating the birthday boy with a hug!

I'm pretty sure I'm going to take these kiddos home with me...if I ever leave, that is.
Birthday #4
Ok, so this birthday isn't at all related to Martha or her family, but it was still fun! There is a volunteer from Japan that is working in San Luis Gonzaga (the school where I taught English), and her birthday was this past Monday. Of course, they had to do a big celebration for her in the school. All of the kids gathered on the cancha (basketball court) for some singing and dancing, then one of the classes had a piñata and cake for her.
All of the primary students on the cancha singing to Kanako!

Preschool student dancing to Danza Kuduro. She danced way better than I do, hands down.

Kanako with some of her 4th grade students and the piñata

I love her smile!

Ya queremos pastel!

 That evening, we had a birthday party for Kanako at the nun's house (the nuns are the ones who run San Luis). They had a special mass, then Kanako served Japanese food that she'd spent all afternoon cooking for us. After came another piñata! See what I mean that piñatas are important here?!
One nun is dancing and trying to whack the piñata and another is standing on a table controlling the piñata. Who said nuns can't have fun?!

She ended up grabbing the piñata and ripping it open with her hands to dump the candy out!

Rachel aka Raquel dancing with one of the party attendees
 So, there you have it. Now please excuse me as I go (pathetically) attempt to learn to dance so I can actually participate at the next birthday party I attend :P