My first noteworthy advice for anyone planning lengthy adventures abroad is even though you think you are a free and trustworthy citizen of good standing and the whole rest of the world will be happy to have you as a tourist, do not buy a one way international ticket.   In my opinion, if everyone gets the reaction that I got when I got to the Delta desk at Newark, it should be illegal to sell one way tickets.  Especially on line.  That being said, everything actually got better after the first Delta rep said, “ok, maám, you need to step over to the side; you are not going to be getting on a plane today”.  Luckily, she was wrong.  Although it took over an hour with two other reps and their bosses to determine that buying a fully refundable return ticket within 90 days would allow me to leave the country without a visa (and then purchase that ticket….), I did make the plane and arrived in Managua last night, on time.

If my first day here is a sign of what is to come than this whole project is going to come together magnificently.  First, the meeting I thought I was having in the morning was postponed until the afternoon, which allowed me to stay in the hotel and watch the whole inauguration on television.  Then, Michael, the CEPRODEL employee who met me at the airport, came and picked me up again and took me to the main office.  I met with Marvin, the CFO, who explained to me the whole national system of the micro finance bank and drew wonderful diagrams with arrows and the names of all the cities where they have offices.  Even though he emphatically told me many times that he knows nothing of agriculture, we still got into a good conversation about diversification and the financial viability of different farms.  Then I met with Miguel, the Executive Director, who invited me to visit a housing cooperative tomorrow with him and also to go to a meeting with the whole León office at the beach on Thursday.  And Carlos, the Credit Manager, seemed to immediately understand exactly what I want to get out of my time here, and assured me that working with the field officers in León, visiting rural farms, and talking with the farmers there are all possible.  I feel warmly received and very optimistic about going to León on Friday. The agenda tomorrow : meet with the American Embassy, buy a cell phone, and go visit a housing cooperative.  A very full day.

A few practical notes –  I am still figuring out this website, but I think that if you click on “comments” at the top of this post, you can comment on my journal writing, and it won´t show up here but it will in the archives (and I will get it!).  I think wordpress does that so if there are lots of comments you don´t have to scroll through them to read the entry underneath.  Someone try that to confirm!

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