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Monday, February 1, 2010

Ora Bolas - Letra

Oy! Oy! Oy! Mira aquella bola, la bola, la bola, donde vive ese nene.
¿Quien es ese nene?
Ese nene es mi vecino
¿Donde vive el?
El vive en una casa
¿Donde está la casa?
La casa esta esta en la calle
¿Donde esta la calle?
Está en una ciudad
¿Donde esta la ciudad?
Al lado de un río
¿Donde está ese río?
Está en Argentina
¿Donde esta Argentina?
Está en América del sur
Del continente Américano
Cerca del oceano
De la tierra más distante
De todo el planeta.
¿Y como es el planeta?
El planeta es una bola
Una bola por crecer... (bis 3)

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Pictures...Feliz Año Nuevo!

Feliz Año Nuevo! It´s new year´s eve day here in Nicaragua. Courtney and I are in the department of Jinotega enjoying internet, a good Nica lunch and visiting friends. It´s a rainy day here but I´m sure that won´t put too much of a damper on the spirits and festivities of the Nicaraguans. New Year´s is more of a family holiday with a big dinner and then the burning of a stuffed man who represents the old year at midnight. I´m not sure I´ll be roaming the streets at this hour to witness it but I´ve seen the stuffed men already standing outside of the houses and I´ll use my imagination to picture him of fire. I thought I´d just leave some pictures of my adventure here in Nicaragau. Some work related and some just fun.
Happy New Year!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Charlas in the Schools

Courtney and I give oral health charlas (chats, talks) in the primary schools when we have some free time. It's a lot of fun and the kids really like it.
One of the Health Brigades that come through Nicaragua left Courtney a puppet designed to teach oral health. It has big teeth, it comes with an oversized toothbrush and has a built in water squirt mechanism that will shoot water at the kids from underneath the tongue....although we have yet to use this feature.
We start the charlas by asking for three volunteers. We give the volunteers disclosing tablets to chew, spit out and then model the pink stained plaque for all their classmates amusement. This is a great way to start off because the kids love it and it shows them exactly what we are talking about...plaque!Then we give the volunteers toothbrushes for being good sports and get into the substance of the charla. We talk about brushing, good foods, bad foods, the importance of teeth...all the good stuff.
It's a fun way to spend an hour or two when we don't have any other work to be done and it's a nice break from just pulling teeth in the health ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Working in the Health Center

I'm living and working in a town that's just 30 minutes north of my previous PC site, the city of Jinotega in the department of Jinotoga. San Rafael del Norte is the name of the town but it's still located in the department, think state, of Jinotega. It's 400 meters higher in altitude than Jinotega so it's a bit cooler during the day and much cooler at night. Which is great.
Courtney arranged for me to work with a dentist, the only dentist, in the health center here; Dra. Mirna.
The health center is owned, operated, and funded by the government of Nicaragua. All the services provided by the health center are free to Nicaraguans. And San Rafael just moved into a new health center, but with most of the same equipment they had at the old health center. Or in the case of Dra. Mirna, with less equipment than she had at the old health center. Apparently, the dental chair she had, which is a dental chair straight out of the 1950's, metal, does not adjust in any way possible and does not retain any of the old cushions it once had in it's day, does not fit into the new dental operatory.

The new operatory has connections for air, water, suction and all the things we associate with a dental chair but does not work with this old chair. So, for the time being, we are using a dining room table chair.

The light we had also did not make it, so we use the natural light provided by the window. And it works.
In the health center, Dra. Mirna, does extractions. And that is the only thing that is provided. Extractions. Cavity...extraction. Pain...extraction. Abscess...extraction. But, it is free of charge. Well, that is if you don't want the e-spri (spray anesthesia). This, Dra. Mirna buys and provides as a service to her patients for a small fee of 20 dollar. Also, before she sees a patient she discusses their current vaccinations. And the conversation usually goes something like this...

Dra. Mirna- Is your tetanus vaccination current?

Patient- Yes, I think I had the vaccination last year?

Dra. Mirna- You think?

Patient- Yes, I'm pretty sure it was last year?

Dra. Mirna- Okay, I'll believe you. But, if you get tetanus,
it's not my fault.

Patient- Oh. Well. I'm not really sure if it was last year or
not. But, I'm pretty sure it was in the last few

Dra. Mirna- Okay.

It's a very strange conversation to have with a patient before extracted teeth. However, she does sterilize the instruments. But, are instruments are limited and they can't be sterilized after each patient, although she does scrub them with a brush and a disinfecting liquid, it's most likely a conversation born out of experience. Although I've never asked.
Dra. Mirna is interesting. At the health center, as I've said, all she provides are the health center. However, at her home, she has a dental operatory where she provides, for a fee, fillings, crowns, dentures and most other common dental treatments. Which I find interesting. Dra. Mirna is a Sandinista...politically. However, in her private life she believes in capitalism. The two don't really go together. In the Sandinista theme song, Yankees are singled out as being the enemy of humanity and I've listened to many speeches by Mr. Ortega which blames capitalism, specifically that practiced by the U.S., as the cause of Nicaragua's problems. He even blamed the last Hurricane to hit the country on the U.S..

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Back in Nicaragua

So, I'm back in Nicaragua. How do I briefly yet accurately sum up everything that has happened to me that's led me back here? Briefly.
Shortly before my Dad and I left for Panama, I became sick. Normal stomach stuff so I waited until I returned to Nicaragua to deal with it. Well, after 2 months of tests, antibiotics, traveling back and forth to Managua to speak with Doctor after Doctor, I still did not feel any better. Not only did I not feel any better, I was worse. I was exhausted, nauseated...etc. So, being mentally and emotionally fatigued I decided to book a ticket home to the states, a round trip ticket.
I arrived in the states and was looking forward to a rest and seeing some U.S. Doctors. Well, Peace Corps has a policy called medical hold. This is where a volunteer has 45 days to resolve a medical issue, during which time they are on hold. I saw several Doctors during this period and did countless numbers of tests. All turned up negative. This was a very difficult period because I was trying to schedule appointments Doctors but Peace Corps kept making this difficult. I won't go into too much detail but the problems ranged from them insisting I wasn't physically sick but depressed to going behind my back and speaking to one Doctor about how upset I was with his service. Thanks to Janet Sangare, I was dismissed from this Doctor's office and had to find a new Doctor. Which is no easy task in and of itself due to the PC Insurance and the nightmare involved in trying to explain to Doctor's offices the insurance and how there fee schedule works; which as far as I can tell is a top secret only revealed once a Doctor has already seen you and the PC pays him/her whatever they feel like. I would also like to say for the record that Janet Sangare was not the only person that was very difficult to deal with. Brenda Goodman was also extremely difficult and unhelpful. And, in case you feel that maybe I'm being too harsh by calling these two people out...I'm not.
Moving on. I did not get better within the 45 day hold and was released from the Peace Corps. However, the people I dealt with after being released were much more helpful and very informative. I continued to see Doctors and worked with a great infectious disease Doctor in Columbus named Valerie Fletcher. We did all kinds of tests, mainly for tropical type diseases and parasites but found nothing. But, I began feeling better all by myself...or maybe it was all the attention I was getting from my family. I began doing things, working out, Dad and I even took a trip to the beach. It was nice. But, I really needed to get back to doing things.

So, Courtney, my girlfriend who is a PC volunteer, arranged for me to work with a Dentist in the health center in the town where she lives. All I need was for PC Nicaragua to pay me for my time as a volunteer and send my personal things to me and I was on my way back to Nicaragua.
I won't spend a lot of time talking about how difficult PC Nicaragua was to work with...but they were. It took them months to send my personal things and paycheck to me. And, I don't think they would have done this if it hadn't been for Courtney's help. She went to my apartment, packed up all my things that needed to be shipped, arranged to pay my landlord the rent I owed, let PC Nicaragua in to collect the things and spent countless hours on the phone and sending e mails to have all this arranged. I honestly don't think I would have had my check and things yet if it hadn't been for her. And after all that, they raised a fuss when she tried to send a few of her clothes home in the bags she had packed for me. They eventually relented after I pointed out that most of their work had been done or facilitated by her.
Well, anyway, I survived whatever it was that I had. And, according to Dr. Fletcher I don't have to worry about something coming back later in my life to cause problems...she's tested me for anything that could rear it's ugly head in the future. I survived dealing with PC Washington (no thanks to Janet Sangare and Brenda Goodman), finally was sent my things by PC Nicaragua, PC Washington sent my paycheck and I actually was able to use the second half of my round trip ticket back to Nicaragua without having to pay a fee.
So, here I am in San Rafael del Norte Nicaragua. Ex PCV..they usually say returned PCV or RPCV but technically I'm not returned yet. Volunteering in the health center and trying to stay healthy. Next update will be my work in the health center. It's very exciting. The Sandanistas are in control of the government, again, and health care and medicine is provided to the citizens free of charge. So the health center I volunteer in is provided by the government to the people...when there is electricity, or they have time to see patients, or they did not run out of medicine....

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Updated Blog!

How do I catch everyone up on what's been going on in the last few months? I don't! I'm going to hit the highlights and show some cool pics and promise to post more often...but this may or may not be true...I'll try. I thought I'd start with my apartment. I live in a 2 bedroom apartment behind another, my apartment is off the street. This is a big deal in Nicaragua because the noise level is greatly reduced and because people can't just stop by my house...which is the custom here. As far as apartments go mine is very nice. The previous volunteer lived here before me and as soon as she left I took over. My ceilings meet the walls, I have glass on my windows and tile on my floor. This is not the norm in Nicaragua. Also, I have 2 orange trees, 2 banana trees, one mandarin orange tree, one lime tree, one sour orange tree, and an avacado tree in my patio. There is also mint and cilantro growing everywhere on the ground. The family that owns the house in front, whom is very nice, take very good care of the plants. Okay, so this is my house. Nice, comfortable and I can eat things that grow in my patio. My Dad came to Nicaragua recently and we spent a few days in Granada, a d ay in Jinotega and then we went to Panama. We had a great time. I was so glad to see my Dad and we had a great time. These pictures are all out of order because I have not been able to figure out how to move the pictures around like I want, just ignore that if you can. We rented a car in Panama...which turned out to be an adventure in and of itself. We made our plane from Managua to Panama by the skin of our teeth...they were calling our names as we were running up to the gate....long story involving a passport and a subway sandwich. Anyway, we made it. Landed in Panama aroung 8 o'clock. And were actually able to find our hotel all the way across town...we followed a thrifty employee for 80 percent of the way and then got horribly lost. We stopped at a McDonald's to ask directions... and to get something to eat. We thought we had the right directions but there was this one turnabout highway on/off ramp that kept messing us up. We eventually paid a taxista a few dollars to follow hime to the hotel. One of the things I learned on this trip is that my Dad and I are not what you would call strict by the map navigators. We are more trial and error types. Now, both styles are valid but with the latter type you have to be a little more relaxed and open to new and unexpected turns out we both are and we did fine with this style of navigation. Funny thing is, that McDonalds we stopped at the first night became a very important point of reference for our future tours around the city. We saw the canal, the old city of Panama ( the oldest city in all of the America's on the Pacific coast), native Kuna peoples, the beautiful pacific and just had a great time. The picture overlooking the big buildings of Panama was taken from the top of Ancon hill where we were staying. We had a blast. Of all the things we saw and did, my dad said that he like Jinotega, where I live, the best and that he wanted to come back and spend a little more time there. We introduced him to a panadaria where they make these sweet treats and if you now what time to to you can get them fresh out of the oven. I hope he comes back.

Monday, January 19, 2009

New Post

I have discovered that if I sit just inside the front gate to my house....just off the street and in a little corner so nobody walking by can see me...there is a mysterious internet signal that I Entonces, there will be a new post coming soon. Not right now becuase I'm too tired...but soon. Just wanted to give everyboy a heads up to see who all is still following this blog. I have to give a shout out to Andy who has faithfully encouraged new work...Mike also, until he got tired of encouraging and just started e mailing me to find out what I am up to. Also, some other good news. My Dad will be coming down soon and he will be spending some time here in Jinotega and we will be traveling to Panamá to see the canal. I will update with pictures and his reaction to this whole thing. I´m thinking of putting up some pics of my house, yard area so he...and everyone will know where and how I am living...and, if you want to come visit, you can see where you will be visiting. Alright, enough for now.