|Elder Meme, Elder Castro, Elder Sanchez, and Me. Took 5 tries to get this pic.|
First off this week, my parents asked me to compare some of my experiences here in Nicaragua with my sister Erin, who is currently serving in the Lima Peru West Mission. So Hermana Haws, who was in my district with me in the CCM and is now serving here in Granada had wrote about some of these things in her letter last week, and my parents asked me about them.
Bugs: I haven't had a lot of problems with bugs other than this nasty hybrid scorpion-spider that we killed in our apartment this week.
Nicaraguan Spanish: Yes! The Spanish here is SO lazy! Its soooo hard to understand when the people talk because they don't say their 's's or 'g's. So for instance, when you walk down the street, people don't say "Hola" to each other, they say "Adio," and the Adio thing is legit, they drop all of their S's when its on the end of a word.
Cat Calls on the Street: Just about every day, I get yelled at when we walk down the streets because I'm a 'gringo.' They sometimes shout mean things in English (for the first time last week, somene was shouting the 'F-word' at me :( that hadn't happened before.) And the children learn a little English in school, so they love to say 'Hello' and 'Goodbye' in English to me, but it sounds more like 'Goidbyeee' and 'Hallo' -- LOL. But yes, I get called out at a few times every day, no problem though. The members here call all of the Gringo missionaries "Chellie," which is another word for gringo, so that's also something maybe unique to Nicaragua.
|A small river in front of our house. Not as deep as my first week here.|
|This is a cool piece of art by our house. At least I think it looks kind of cool.|
Walking: That's all we do pretty much all day, every day, but I haven't been bothered too badly by it. However, I forgot to tell you that during my first week here in Masaya, I had two different times where we had to walk in a river...well, the road had turned into a river! It was literally up to the middle of my calf, well above my ankle, and even the streets in front of our house! When it rains here, it RAINS! and it literally comes out of nowhere...sooo fast! Sometimes, when it rains, when it's not hard, it's suuuper cool! It is literally misting from the sky! It looks like a reaaally light snow, but it's just suuuper tiny drops of water, and it feels amazing, and you dont really get wet. Any ways, I sent a couple of pics in the rain this week when it was just a couple of normal rain days, a little river, but it was not as bad as the other two days my first week. If it happens again, I will make sure to get a picture, mid-calf I tell you!! the whole street and sidewalk just flooded!
|We had to stop at this touristy kind of store today in Managua|
for Elder Meme and Elder Castro to withdraw some
money from their bank, and there were these
cool hammocks here. Got to get one before I come home!
Here in Masaya, they already had Halloween a few days ago like I told you last week, BUT some of the Nicaraguans still do stuff on Halloween night. Well, only the drunks and gangs. All of the members warn us to be careful, because some people will throw glass bottles filled with their pee at houses and people on the street, that's a Halloween thing here...so all we did on Halloween night was stay in our apartment and enjoy the decorations my parents sent me, and we ate our own candy-- LOL. I did miss home a little bit as I started thinking about all the Haunted Houses me and my friend Micheal did over the years. In the end, no bottles of pee shattered on our house.
SO me and Elder Sanchez were just talking one day, and we did the math on all of our cambios (transfers) for the next 2 years (cambios are every 6 weeks). In 2016, there's a cambio on August 16th, and the next cambio is not until Sept. 27th. From what I have been told, most missionaries go home on the cambio just before their 2 years are completed, and only on rare occasions do they stay for the transfer after their 2-year mark. SO that means there's a good chance that I'LL COULD BE COMING HOME on August 17th or so!!!!!! SO that's really exciting for me because I could be home for my birthday on the 21st of August!!! Which means I'll still only be 19-years-old when I get home, too, which is just crazy to think about. Yeah, OK, enough talking about going home LOL.
|The store also had these cool, authentic masks that|
are hand carved (everything from wood here
is hand carved!)
So the kids here all know my name, Olsen....that is because there is a huge cement company that dominates in Nicaragua called "Olsen Cement," so people recognize my name because there are cement bags everywhere with my name on it. So I'm actually famous to all the little kids and they always shout out "OLSEN!" Elder Castro always laughs at that ha ha. Speaking of Elder Castro, because of how the cambios work here, we all know he will be leaving in 2 weeks at the next cambios, only 6 weeks into my training...so I will be recieving my new father here soon. Elder Sanchez will obviously be staying here in Masaya to train, and Elder Mehmetof is here until he finished his mission in January. I don't know if I told you already, but Elder Castro is actually 24-years-old! He was converted to the church when he was 19-years-old, and then he left on his mission when he was 23. There is another Elder in our zone who is 27-years-old! It's funny because they both look (and act) like they are only 19 or 20-years-old.
Here's some not as exciting news....so about 3 days ago, that rash that I had in the CCM returned. It's not as bad as when I was in the CCM. It is mostly on my stomach and a little on my chest. I still have some of that medicine they gave me at the CMM along with some Benadryl, but it's torture during the day when I sweat and it's incredibly itchy all day long. I've already used like 3 tubes of Hydrocortizone cream and I need to buy more for it...I don't know what's up with that.
My Spanish this week doesn't really seem to be improving. I dont know why....I can't understand anything they say to me! I am still adjusting I guess.....
This past week, we've been working hard, but we dont have any more baptisms lined up until next Saturday. The people here have a hard time when it comes to going to church and fulfilling commmitments. It was Fast Sunday yesterday and we did have 4 investigators come with us to church, but they don't seem too positive. At least the lights didn't fall on anyone this week.
|Here it is -- the McDonald's in Managua. We didn't have time to|
stop and eat there this time, but hopefully someday.
For P-day today, we had to go to Managua with our companions for some Zone Leader stuff with out trainers, so we took about an hour-long bus ride to get there, and on the way to the Mission Office in Managua, we saw the McDonalds! Hopefully one day we'll get to eat there, but my companions said it is suuper expensive. The prices are basically the same as in America, so it's like 200 Cordovas for a Big Mac (about $6 US)! They don't have a "Dollar Menu", but if they did, it would be like a "33 Cordova Menu," which is still a LOT of money to pay for food here. BUT, I want to try it one day....
|Hermana Glorinda's humble abode.|
I also had to send you a pic of the home that Hermana Glorinda and her granddaughter, Rafeala, live in. They basically have this little spot of ground, and only the back of the lot has a tin roof to cover their beds and their TV. There is also another family of 5 that shares the little piece of the shack to the right of the picture. Just so incredible how little these people live on, and how much they make do with so little.
|Waiting for lunch. I love these rocking chairs.|