Monday, December 22, 2014

Day 24 - Day 25: Leaving Nica

Day 24 - Ran for 35 minutes around a gorgeous crater lake with  howler monkeys cheering me on. 
A sweaty selfie:
The road went down then up down then up, but it felt good to be back on pavement. I definitely did not bring the correct running shoes for running on trails. When I got back to the hostel, I threw on my swimsuit and took one last swim. It was so quiet and peaceful - I swam out on the dock and got to watch an osprey fish. I also saw two golden-breasted MotMots on my run (the Nicaraguan national bird). My poor little iphone camara could not capture them, but I took a  photo of Karen's bird book. 

They are really pretty and have this very impressive tail. Then, I tempted fate by laying in the sun without any sunblock but it just felt so nice. Once the restaurant opened, I order a large bowl of fruit (which I happily shared with Karen) and some pancakes. Delicious! And, with complimentary coffee. 

At about 10am, we started the drive back the Managua Airport. Karen navigated brilliantly and arrive with perfect timing. Returning the car and check in went smoothly. And, the flights were easy because I  basically just slept through all of them. However, the experience of going customs in Miami I will never forget. We saw a man collapsed and with volunteer samaritons performing CPR. It was intense! I don't know what happened in the end, but I fear there is not a good prognosis. I was also surprised HOW LONG it took to get help. It was definitely over 12 mins until paramedics showed - I would just think at an airport they have them stationed ready to respond.....

Day 25 - Jet lagged and on only 3 hours of sleep, I only managed to run 15 minutes. But it was nice to run with the mutt again. I finished the last of errands (still dont have all my xmas shopping done :/) and got packed. Pedro came into town via Amtrack and we had a nice Hannukah super with my parents.

 It was really great seeing him again and I am excited for our next set of holiday travels. One our way to Boston as I type... 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Day 20-gorgeous sunset run

Day 20-gorgeous sunset run

Karen joined me today on my run - i made her take an obligatory running selfie. Luckily, tonight we were able to arrange it so we got back before dark. We set the Timex for 30 mins and headed down the road. We jogged passed the youth  baseball field (which was being used by some teenagers for soccer) Got some cat calls and 'i love yous' however I think they were probably all directed at Karen :) We passed Julian's house and continued up a hill until we came upon a guy trying to manage 3 cows and it looked we might spook the cattle. So we turned around (which just conveniently happened to be at the top of the hill) and cruzed on down with a gorgeous skyline with oranges, purples and pinks. A super peaceful and fun run after a very successful full day in Sabana Grande. 

This morning we held our community feedback meeting to update the community on our progress, share the information we gathered from the interviews in June, and discuss potential collaborations for the future.  I am always a little nervous before a community presentation - will people come? will they be interested? will they understand? Overall, I think it was very successful and we got a lot of great information for next year!

FYI - there was a moment that maybe this would be the second run without a shower ... we got back from the run and the water was definitely off. I had consigned myself to just a little whore bath in my room - when Vidalia came back with a bucket of water. While it was dark, the 'shower' felt amazing. And, I came back to a nice 8 legged friend in my room...see photo

Karen and I are going to light a candle for the first night of Hanukah and enjoy a hearty Nicaraguan supper! Rice and beans, mmmmm

Day 19 (12/15) - a MAJOR victory

Day 19 (12/15) - a MAJOR victory

Today I arrived in Sabana Grande. A red eye flight to Miami and then just a quick jaunt over to Nicaragua and I am transported to another world. I am writing this blog while tucked up under my mosquito net with the wonderful sounds of the 'Sab Grand' - a man chopping wood, the crickets, the cat, the cow and the frog, the occasional firework and the music from the large sound system of a graduation party just a few blocks away...Such an interesting blend of modern and timeless sounds. 

We arrived in Managua (only slightly delayed), picked up an airport sandwich and then was confronted with the sad news that Hertz only had large trucks to rent(a free upgrade). While a truck would be nice for the country roads, I was not about to tackle the busy streets of Managua (dodging people, horses and the out of control buses) in a large truck. So we stepped over Budget and rented a nice dependable Toyota Corolla. We had a pretty easy drive - luckily the navigation was pretty straight forward. One right out of the airport and then just keep going straight. It was really interesting driving this route that we normally travel in a large bus - a much different perspective and I noticed a lot details that I have never seen before. 

Arriving at the Solar Restaurant, our 'mama' kenia was there to greet us. We drove over to her house, greeted Susan, and got a little settled. Tonight is the night of Hilario's sons graduation party (Jeyme) - Hilario is one of the vet promoters that we have worked very close with over the last 2 years. With Susan, we walked over to HIliario's to join the party! A very fun time (though I am sure that a lot of people were a little scared of the Gringas) but we jumped in there and helped warm up the dance floor. After a few songs and a little rice and beans, Karen and I were both Zombies from all the travel that we had to say our good nights....

So, here comes the great victory! I was SO contemplating not running - I mean I had been traveling all night /day and it was after 9 oclock, pitch black (very few houses in Sabana Grande have reliable power) and well that all seemed to a viable excuse, But I knew I would so sad to just throw away the last 2 weeks of hard work (and I was lucky to have Karen here to motivate me!) 

So I slapped on those running shoes, grabbed my flash light and did my first night trail run! I figured if I ran for at least 15 mins - I would for sure fit in a mile. The stars were amazing, I saw a giant ant hole, and only almost fell twice! 

Day 21 - a Sabana Grande hill work out

Day 21 - a Sabana Grande hill work out 

Wow - I got about 11 hours of sleep last night! It felt amazing - one of the good things about Sabana Grande is that there is no shame going to bed once its dark.

Woke up at 7 am - I was able to snooze through the roosters. 

I headed out the same direction as yesterday - however, when I got to the top of the first hill (it was only a slow hill - not anything super steep) I was only at about 11 mins and I wanted to go 15 mins out and 15 mins back. So I ran over the top and started to head down the other side - and it started going down STEEP. I kept going down thinking I am just going to have come back up.... but I kept heading  4 mins down the hill. Turned around and SLOWLY made my way back up....(I admit I had to power walk a bit up the hill) But it was a great leg workout...

I got back Susan and Karen were enjoying breakfast - I did a quick, refreshing 'shower' and joined them. Susan had brought over some fresh made juice - orange with lime. Karen is teaching me how to manage susan (aka shut my mouth). We had another productive day. We attended Hilario's workshop on how to make an organic fertilizer. And then he opened the silage (it looked and smelled good)....

Do you know what also looked and smelled good - MY LUNCH. This running blog is beginning to talk more about food then running :/ It had to be one of my favorite meals at the solar restaurant (though I do still love those empanadas with hot sauce). Today we had this cucumber salad with mint and a squash dish with cumin and of course (rice and beans!). I have to learn how to make yummy beans. 

In the afternoon, we worked with HIlario visiting the houses that he vaccinated in June. It was such an amazing experience! To hear that these families havent had any chickens loss to diseases! Esp cause we know that some of these families are used to loosing all their chickens every year... Maybe, our work in the community is really making an impact...

Okay its almost 8... its dark and the crickets are .... so a completely appropriate time to crawl under the mosquito net. 

Day 22-woke up a little stiff

Day 22-woke up a little stiff

This morning, I woke up a little stiff. I didn't sleep very well last night - did some tossing and turning. But, I pulled myself out of bed for a little morning run. I ran for 25 minutes and found a little stream (almost dry) but I ventured into the jungle a little bit. O' and I almost tripped over a chicken. 

Not the most exciting day in Sabana Grande - after my run, it started off with a long frustrating talk with Susan. But, Karen said I did an amazing job at keeping my mouth shut. Susan says the most ridiculous (and flat out incorrect) things, but she is not very good at considering other viewpoints. So it is best to just smile and nod...

We took a quick trip to Ocotol to talk to some vets (but they were all closed) and check internet. No messages from Pedro :( but I suppose that I did tell him I wasn't going to have internet....Back to the Solar Restaurant for lunch and then we passed the afternoon with Julian visiting more houses that were vaccinated. Karen came with me to deliver a gift to Rumalda (it was nice to see her but I have actually really enjoyed staying at Vidalia's). 

So it is sad to say that this was probably my last day in Sabana Grande. I tried to take lots of pictures, but it really won't be able to capture its beauty or charm. Who knows if I will ever be back again.... but so many great memories and I hope some happier and healthy chickens...

Day 23 - last run in Sabana Grande

(Other posts are saved on my iPad and will be uploaded once I have reliable wifi) 

This morning I woke up early to go one last run on the roads of Sabana grande. Reasons were two-fold: 1. It would be a nice way to say goodbye to a town that has played such a large part in shaping my vet school experience and 2. I knew once I got to Laguna apoyo I would want a beer! 

It was nice little jog. I'm still feeling pretty stiff and sore. Don't know if it's due to the trail running or the stiff hard bed. I'm hoping I am feeling more natural when I get back to a real bed and the streets. 

We said all of our goodbyes and left around 8am for Laguna de apoyo - my favorite little relaxation spot before we head to the airport tomorrow morning. 

Unfortunately my fav little spot was booked (I never would have imagined!) but we found beds at the hostel a few beaches down. It was a little loud for me but I still got a nice swim in. The day visitors have all left and it's so nice ... I've got a tona, a hammock chair, and done bob Marley playing 

Day 11 - 18....a blur of dark wet run

 A blur of dark wet runs and end of the semester madness