>Matagalpa, Nicaragua

I’ve arrived in Nicaragua and currently in Matagalpa. It’s known as the coffee capital of NI and is located in a valley. The climate here is great, warm sun during the day and fresh nights. Always can wear shorts, that’s if I’m feeling brave around the locals, they like my legs.

My new name in NI is ‘Chelita‘. Costa Rica it was Gringa. Chelita means ‘white person, with love’ All words that end with “ita” are either meant for something small or with love. Since I’m at least a foot taller than everyone in the country, I’m going to say they say it with ‘love!’

Luck strikes again! This is Luis’s house, the house where I’m staying…indefinitely! Beautiful I know. This is a rare site as most houses don’t have color or character.

These are other houses. Took this photo while in the bus on the way to the city center.

To your left is Vilma, one of 5 sisters to Luis. The woman in pink is Luis’s mother. Please note the height difference. I’m convinced its because they start drinking coffee at age 5.

Hiked in a park called Selva Negra. However was unable to see the views from the top of the mtn because of the torrential downpour. Come to find out that the Caribbean was being hit by a hurricane and this was the rain from it. Perfect for hiking!

During the birthday party. Realize that I’m hunched over and that everyone else is standing upright! Haha, needless to say I’m a giant here. Until yesterday, Nahomi, Luis’s one year old daughter was scared of me……white skin, blue eyes and very tall. Imagine!

Nahomi, she turned 1 on Nov 3rd!

The mothers of Luis and Jenny making dinner for the party. They made Chop suey which is cabbage cooked, with carrots, chioti, red pepper, onions, an entire chicken and salt!

All the nino’s at the party. Luis (Luis’s son’s name is Luis too!) is next to the pinata in the red shirt.

Luis y Luis with family!

The market…..ha, this was the meat part. There are other tunnels that lead to fruits and veggies or clothes or pretty much any trinket you can think of. You can bargain. Totally entertaining. But when in the market I have huge signs on me saying MONEY so Luis and family guard me like I’m one of them. Telling all the little kids that I don’t have money for them and the others to leave me alone! Pays to have friends.

Carrying the bag of cabbage. 8 heads of cabbage for the Chop Suey. Holy comida!

A typical bus ride. Old US buses used for shuttles down here. Anything goes. These are usually jammed packed with people and the fare is 6cents!

What else:
The chickens wake me up at 2:30am, 3 am, 4 am, 5 am, and finally I give up around 6am and start the day.

I can now shower on one gallon of water. I use a 5gallon bucket and a small container to pour over myself while standing on gravel.

Food: Rice and beans with something. Beans here are red instead of black in CR. The food from the vendors is amazing, enchiladas, tacos, peanut brittle. I’m obsessed!
Clothing: everyone dresses like Americans, there is AE an A&F brands here, $1/shirt! Everything is DIRT cheap.

I ate cereal with water the other day and decided I like it best dry. Luis doesn’t have electricity or water right now because his barrio “suburb” is new. So no fridge, but there is a fridge, its used for storage of dishes to keep the flies away.

Jenny’s mom took my clothes yesterday to the river, its their washing machine.

Crossing the border was a breeze. In total, a 12 hour travel day from Monteverde CR to Matagalpa NI.

There is garbage everywhere in the streets of the city. The country is beautiful. Hiking the other day made me think I was in Costa Rica. I see why people love it here.

Realizing that laws don’t matter here. Anything goes. If you want to exchange money on the streets its cool, smoke inside a building, bus or house…. or have someone illegally stamp your passport (heard about this today!) or feel like selling bananas from your neighbors tree. All is fair. Many have electricity illegally because the gov’t hasn’t hooked it up yet.

So far, its been a great experience. Sleeping with an insect net every night, on a bed, sharing a room with Luisito! Usually day tripping somewhere everyday. Yesterday Luis, luisito and I went into another barrio and bought supplies for his house, we’re going to complete the floors. Jenn, from Hidden Canopy in Costa Rica gave him an early Christmas present and now, finally he gets to give his family a clean place to live!

EVERYDAY I’m reminded of how lucky we are. Everyday I write down how much I want to help. And one day, I will. Just need to find out how.

Ponder this….families live off $100/month. FAMILIES.


About haileerustad

I love everything. I do things differently. Tending to avoid conformity. Accepting unknown adventure whenever its presented. My mission is to live, let life flow through me with endless energy. Exciting and empowering others to find their natural happiness. As life is, all perception.
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