León

The rainy season, which took a long break in the middle and frustrated many farmers, is making the most of October. We´ve had steady rains a couple times a week in the late afternoons, which means gorgeous afternoon light in the city.

There´s alot going on right now.  I´m trying to tie up a bunch of loose ends before I leave to go back to the states in two weeks  (marking the end of my ten month Fulbright).  Some of those are work related, some are just small things like making an effort to go to those museums and restaurants I´ve walked past for ten months and always thought, I´ll go there soon, but haven´t ever made it.  Even though I´m coming back in December, it´s nice to have this mental deadline to give myself a push and be extra productive and thoughtful about how I spend my time.

treblereelLast Thursday my friend Sterling Vasquez, the director of a contemporary and folk dance company, invited me to dance some Irish reels at his 15th anniversary show at the municipal theater here in León.  I somehow managed to get a nice costume together at the last minute.  It certainly wasn´t what I used to dance, but it felt good to spend a week remembering some old material, making up some new things, and generally stretching and getting into shape.  I enjoy representing that part of my culture and past here.  Nicaraguans understand the importance of traditional music and arts, and are incredibly receptive when you offer to share yours.  There was a Fulbright snapshot moment backstage with me in my Riverdance-esque black and all the little girls in their long satin traditional Nicaraguan dresses, each exclaiming over the elegance of each others dresses and dances.

yamilette

Yamilette, one of the participants from Las Limas, tries her hand at grafting a lemon sapling.

Friday was a workshop at the reforestation project.  Eighteen of the participants came.  There were two main themes: establishing tree nurseries and grafting; and fitopathology, or diagnosing and treating plant diseases.  We had a practical excercise where anyone interested was invited to try grafting a tree.  Afterward we held a general questions and answers session, which successfully turned into a very useful discussion about what the next stages of the project will be and how we can help limit the damage of the impending six month drought.  After the discussion ended, Luis and Vernonn completely surprised me by presenting me with a certificate of appreciation for spending my grant working with their project.   awardIt was a really sweet gesture, a beautifully designed certificate, and

gave me an excellent opportunity to  in turn thank all the farmers for being so welcoming to me at their farms.  I ended by asking them all for two things: that they always be open and trusting in expressing their opinions of the project with us, and that they take enjoyment in the process of designing and diversifying their land.

javicumple

It took us a full forty-five minutes to pick up a truckload of friends and family. I took this picture at about 1:30 am as we were getting ready to repeat the forty-five minute return loop. Javi and Anna are in front.

Last week was Javier´s birthday.  Javier is a friend and young biology professor who is working in the mangrove forests along the coast at my favorite León beach, Las Piñitas.  The traditional birthday song here starts ´En las Mañanitas´ (In the early morning).  A birthday celebrants family should wake them up very early in the morning with gifts.  Realistically I´m not sure how often that actually happens, as nearly all the birthday celebrations I´ve been to have been pretty late night raucous affairs.  But Javi had plans to go to Granada with his girlfriend Anna and so wouldn´t be around to party in the evening.  So at midnight the night before we rounded up a crew and, with some scheming with Anna, managed to sneak into his house and wake him up at 12:30 am on his birthday.  According to the song, a very properly celebrated Nica birthday.

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