My name is Kelly, but sometimes I go by "Elisa" when traveling. Sometimes I'm K, Kelita, Kellicita, or simply just La Gringita or La Chelita. Current location: Nicaragua.

17th August 2014

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"Houses into Homes"

At the end of each week-long brigade, we participate in a “House Dedication Ceremony.”  For the volunteers, the main purpose is to take pictures of/with the completed house.  For me, it’s a more intimate way to share words, thoughts, feelings and to wish the family well.

Some people say beautiful words. Some people cry. Some people pray. Some people hug. Each week is a little different.

As staff, I always lead the ceremony and say a few words.  It’s more or less the same speech every week, inserting characteristics, events, inside jokes, and shout outs specific to the group.  I thought I’d share:

"First, I’d like to thank all you, the US/Canadian volunteers, for all of your hard work this week.  It’s so great to work with such an entusastic, passionate, and hard working group of people.

To the masons, thank you for you kindness and patience.  For teaching us, well, just about everything.

To the community helpers for all of your support.  Without you, I’m sure we’d still be laying blocks today.  Your knowledge and strength sped up the process signicifantly so this deserving family could move into their new home sooner.

Thanks to this collective group: Nicaraguans and United Statesians/Canadians, we did it. The house is done.

All the blocks as we carried, the seemingly endless amounts of cement we mixed, and all dirt we shoveled and compacted was hard work. Don’t you all agree? Back-breaking work to put up these four walls. 

But the task that <beneficary’s name> has in front of her is even harder than all the work that we did these past few days.

It’s a little detail— but it’s missing in these four walls.

Turning these four walls—this house— into a loving home.

It won’t be an easy task, but I know that she do it.

So, Dona <Beneficary>, best of luck. On behalf of this volunteer brigade and Bridges to Community, we wish your family health, happiness, and many wonderful years of living in your new home. Congratulations.”

Tagged: dedication ceremonynicaraguahome

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4th August 2014

Link

23 Experiences All Bilingual Spanish Speakers Have Had →

Tagged: buzzfeed

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4th August 2014

Post with 2 notes

Nicaraguan Life Lessons

Nicaragua’s a place where watches and clocks aren’t used.  So take my advice, if you ever visit Nicaragua, just don’t pack a watch. We use “Nica time” here. Everything is an approximation, but usually no one really knows.  For example:

  • When will the bus pass? Probably within 30 minutes to an hour, but sometimes it just doesn’t show up.
  • On paper, the party will begin at 3pm, but the party will actually begin with community members see the trucks arriving at the school, which is 5pm.
  • The bus ride will take exactly 2 hours. Unless the bus driver stops for a quick lunch, then expect 2.5 hours.

And my favorite:

  • We’re leaving Monday. What time? After noon. About what time? Tuesday morning.

So, if anything, living in Nicaragua has taught me to be patient.  Things will work out. A bus will eventually show up.  It might not be YOUR bus, but you might be able to take it to a middle point where you can get off, catch another bus, and eventually arrive to your final destination. 

Since practicing my new found skill of patience, I’ve become very good at sitting.

  • Sitting in a plastic chair outside your house and letting the day pass is an acceptable way to spend the day. In fact, everyone does it because how else do you beat the heat?
  • Sitting still on a over packed bus for up to 3.5 hours. With no book, no music, no sleeping, no person to chat with. Just sitting and occasionally glancing out the window.  Patience.

The other lesson I’ve learned is: flexibility. Not in the yoga-sense, because unfortunately, I’ve hardly used my yoga mat here. (But I plan on using it more in my new house!). Flexibility in the sense that things don’t always work out, so it’s good to have a Plan B and an open mind and the ability to create up to Plan Z. Because things hardly ever work out the way you want them to or plan them to.

This might sound horrible, but it’s really not bad at all.  Just NEVER assume Plan A will function flawlessly.  If you have that mentality, you’re asking to be stressed out. If you’re flexible and willing to wing it, it’s more adventurous, fun, and (generally) works out.

So those are the two biggest lessons I’ve learned (and am continually re-learning) by living in Nicaragua. A little patience and flexibility will go a long way.

You can’t change Nicaragua, but if you accept it for what it is, you’re bound to fall in love.

Tagged: nicaragualessonspatienceflexibility

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4th August 2014

Photoset

Photos from one of my favorite groups: Arlington School District. A productive week (2 houses built in Sasle, Jinotega) and lots of laughs.

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