Saturday, July 28, 2007

Veintiseis de Julio

Sunset over Granada:
(Click to enlarge)

Friday, July 27, 2007

Veintisiete de Julio

Today, the Rhythm in the Barrios volunteers (armed with giant construction paper ties, john lennon sunglasses, and a wig made from a showercap and cottonballs) put on a musical performance to introduce the school kids to musical instruments! We went to two schools – one along the highway and one in the jungle at the bottom of a volcano (a one-room school). The kids absolutely loved the show ~

(Click to enlarge)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Veinticinco de Julio

Today, I biked around to all the barrio schools of the city with my camera. My assignment was to capture Rhythm en los Barrios in action so the organization could use the photos to raise money for the program! They will put the photos in a calendar and on the website, etc. to inform their donors about the success of Ritmo en los Barrios. It was great for me to be able to do this because exactly a year ago I had a vision of using my photography in this way and here I am – living my vision.

This trip is very confirming that everyone has the power to do nearly everything they dream up.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Veintiquatro de Julio

Almost every day near sunset, the boys from our street stand beneath our balcony calling out , “Chepe!! Chepe!”, to see if Adam is here to play baseball with them. They use the street as their field, telephone poles as bases, they hit a tennis ball using their fist as the bat, and usually play barefoot.

Rainy day details:

(Click to enlarge)

Monday, July 23, 2007

Veintitres de Julio

Today we printed out several of the photos that I have taken of the locals. We will be on a mission for the next two weeks to search for these people and give them the photos of themselves. It shouldn’t be hard. It’s a small town and everyone is “same-time, same-place” around here. We’ll find the bread man cycling down the street around 6pm, the kids in the marketplace will be at their parent’s vegetable booth all day, the neighbor boys are always sitting on the curb down the street, and the barrio children are always playing outside in the dirt. They will all be thrilled to have photos of themselves, I just know it.

But since I didn’t take any photos today, I shall post some images I took several weeks ago of a school parade.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Veintidos de Julio

Cemetario de Granada

The rich people at sunset:

The poor at sunset:

Details of the dearly departed:

(Click to enlarge)

This was taken of me:

Taking this photo:

And this is Mauren, a fellow artist and volunteer:

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Veintiuno de Julio

Laguna de Apollo is a fresh water lagoon with crystal blue water and colorful fish surrounded by mountains and giant stones that are perfect for jumping off.

Dying for a swim, Teddy, Adam and I get on our bikes and begin our trek thru a busted barrio called La Prusia. Along the way, we ask a few locals which is the best route to the laguna.

You’d think we’d have learned by now not to ask the locals for directions.

“Este camino es mejor. Es muy facil,” says one amigo, while the next fellow says, “No. Este camino as muy DIFficil. La otra ruta es major.”

In the end, we had chosen an UPHILL dirt road that led to a perilously rocky DOWNHILL hike to the lagoon. Et maka no sins. But oh well – it was a good workout.

Even though the oxen herding hombre warned against it, we left our bikes tied to a tree at the top of the hill because the downhill hike was too narrow and hazardous to take them with us.

At last, we arrived at the Laguna! It felt like we had found a secret place, for there was not a soul around (besides a local family playing in a small wooden boat around the bend). For an hour we swam, attempted a few photos with my underwater camera, and passed the pair of goggles back at forth to marvel at the fishies.

The sun was starting to set on us, and since that’s the way scary movies begin, we packed up our stuff and began the hike back to our bikes, sharing the path with a few angry oxen along the way.

Our bikes were safe and sound so we flew the whole way home – DOWN HILL! J This time I peddled and ADAM rode the pegs (probably a cultural faux pas – but it was fun!)

Later, we find out that a few friends of ours were recently robbed at machete point on the exact same trail …. And I was worried about seeing SNAKEs! Ha.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Dievinueve de Julio

Viva la Revolucion!

On July 19, 1979 the Sandinistas revolutionized Nicaragua by kicking out a lousy dictator (Samosa) and placing Daniel Ortega as el presidente. (If you want the details, look it up). Every July, a portion of Nicaragua gathers in its capital city Managua, waving black and red Sandinista flags to celebrate the 1979 Revolution.

Despite several warnings, we ventured to Managua ourselves.
At 3pm we hopped on a capital-bound express bus and traveled for an hour alongside the parade of free buses transporting fanatic Sandinistas, also on their way to the rally.

As soon as we arrived at the plaza, I did a quick headcount and arrived at the figure 8,198,210 hundundred bizgillion people. I could have crowd surfed for DAYS.

The gathering had the air of a funeral. Even while the national anthem was playing and the flags were waving wildly, few people smiled. In fact, most people looked pretty callous and rough hearted. At first, I hid my camera under my jacket due to all the drunk mofo’s stumblin’ around startin’ trouble, but pretty soon I was sitting atop Adam’s shoulders with my back against a palm tree snapping the sea of red and black flags until the sun went down.

The darker the sky got, the drunker the people got.

So we decided to skip out fast before the tidal wave of belligerents was released.

We started heading toward the field of free buses, hoping to catch one back to Granada, but found out that they weren’t leaving until midnight!

Hell Na. We are NOT getting trapped for 5 hours in this cantankerous crowd, pumped on politics, spoilin’ for a fight.

We start weaving in and between the maze of busses (and some muchachos pissing in the grass), lookin like some stupid gringos, “A Granada?? Saliendo ahora? Qual autobus? Quando va a ir a Granada?”

In our search, we happen upon a stream of cars exiting the area and (breaking my No Hitchhiking after Sunset rule) we stick out our hopeful little thumbs to hitch a ride back.

Unusually, we were ignored by every passing car – so you can stop biting your nails now, Dad.

In FACT, you can start thanking your answered prayers because at that very moment we were approached by a shadowed man with a giant drum attached to his chest – “Hola!” he says. “Ustedes viven por la calle Santa Lucia, si? Ustedes connocen Lilly? Yo trabaje para ella, se recuerdo?”

YES! YES we DO live on Santa Lucia Street and YES we DO know Lilly and YES We DO remember you from the very first day we arrived.. And How the heck do we get home??

“Follow me,” he says.

And as we follow our friend Huicho in the dark, across town, through the 8,198,210 hundundred bizgillion people, he kindly scolds us for venturing to Managua on the craziest day of the year. “Managua es muy peligroso.”

(This trip made us ever grateful that we randomly chose Granada to live in instead of Managua. Granada es no muy dangerous. In fact its one of the safest towns in Central America.)

Huicho led us to the buses returning to Granada and as soon as we hopped on the bus, it took off town-bound, leaving the raucous multitude behind.

Riding home, we felt a sort of Santa Lucia pride, for all of our traveling companions were nuestro vecinos (our neighbors) from our street! Not only was the bus heading back to Granada, but it dropped us off right in front of our house! Buses here don’t do that.

Viva la Revolucion!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Diecisiete de Julio

Our bus broke down this morning.

FORTUNATELY, we had two bikes between the three of us (Adam’s and Teddy’s, with myself standing on the pegs of Adam’s bike).

UNFORTUNATELY, it’s all UPHILL to the school and these bikes are plain cruel on even a slight incline.

We cycled uphill with our thumbs out for a bit, and then hitched a ride on an 18 wheeler for the remainder of the trip, tossing our bikes on the bumpy platform bed of the truck.

The trip home is always fun, coasting downhill on Adam’s pegs under a canopy of trees, dodging the potholes and the oncoming busses.

It’s even more fun in the rain holding a guitar.

I hadn’t yet taken photos of Adam’s 3rd grade choir class, so I hopped on the back of his bike this afternoon with one hand on his shoulder and the other holding a guitar tied in a clear plastic bag. As we zipped thru town, the warm rain soaked us head to toe, temporarily blinding my eyes so I couldn’t be a back-bike driver (“watch that pothole!” “don’t run into that kid!” “you’re going the wrong way on a one way road!”).
It's very freeing to not care about running make-up, messed-up hair and wet clothes.

We made it to the school, tucked down a muddy road and Adam taught the most adorable kids ever how to sing Cielito Lindo along with his guitar.

Tonight as I lay in bed in the dark, my smell sense magnified, I realized nothing around me, including myself, has had a proper cleaning in months. When water availability is sporadic, clothes, sheets, floors, dishes, and bodies don’t get cleaned as often even though they get dirty and smelly much faster here. Everything, including myself, smells like musty mildewed dirt and when there isn’t much one can do about it… being clean becomes less and less important. Going to bed with dirt caked to my feet, like the kids do in the barrios, doesn’t bother me anymore. Eating with dirty hands or with a spoon that’s still a bit crusty from breakfast isn’t as gross as it used to be. Putting on a shirt for the 9th time that has been rained on, sweat in and used as a napkin is no big deal. And falling asleep with my face in a pillow that smells like rotten egg just reminds me that, in the grand scheme of things, it really doesn’t matter.