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Nicaragua
I am a Small Business Development Volunteer in Nicaragua.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Si Hombre! (Yeah man)









Hello, to all three of you reading this blog! Today is thursday August 28th 2008 and I am a month and a day into my new site. It is San Ramon, Matagalpa. Nicaragua is divided into different departments or zones and I live within the department of Matagalpa and my town, San Ramon, is a pretty small town 20-30 minutes outside of the capital city of my department. A perfect location. I am in the mountains, where it is much cooler than most of Nicaragua and I am in a small town where the people are incredibly nice yet I am close enough to a big town If I need to get out and see some life.

So one month in and I am feeling pretty good. I am still geting use to my projects and getting started in my schools. I have already taught at my schools and I love it. I teach in Spanish and so far, so great.

I highly suggest friends and family to come and visit me!! Nicaragua is really beautiful and especially my site, in the mountains its green and tons of wildlife such as parrots, and sloths, monkeys.

As of right now i am in managua because believe it or not I need to get surgery. I am getting it done here and Peace Corps is covering everything but I am a little nervous, naturally. But last night I stayed in a hotel with two other peace corps volunteers and a nice man from USAID and we went out looking for a bite to eat. We stumbled into a brand new italian resaurant around the block from the hotel, so we decided to see the menu, but as we walked in we noticed a lot of booths set up and a buffet style food arrangement. So, we asked the waiter to see a menu, and he told us tonight is the grand opening, invite only. Well, one would think that we would leave after that, but no we decided to take a table and act like we were suppose to be there. And boy did it work, within minutes we had a waiter dropping off free focacia bread and wine off at our table. Then they moved onto to taking our picture, like we were invitd celebrities. Turns out pretty much all of the richest people in Nicaragua, showed up at this opening party. It was really interesting to watch the class difference between the wait staff and the party guests. Needless to say, we ate great food, drank great wine and beer and listened to a fantastic mariachi band and didnt pay a cent!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Coffee black and egg white!

I am writing right now from the peace corps office in downtown Managua. Why i am here? Well, I am sick again, for the 7th time. I am awaiting the staff right now to go get a feces test at the local hospital. Its no big deal, but i am pretty sure its a parasite or bacterial bug hanging out in my stomach. I feel lucky though, because every volunteer has these bugs and once we get 'em, we most likely dont get them again, so in retrospect, its good to get them out of the way. But onto better things, I GOT MY SITE...I know where i will be stompin for the nex two years. DRUMROLL..dadadadadadaaddadadadaddadadd....San Ramon, Matagalpa. Its a small town set in the mountains in the midst of tons of coffee farms. I only wish i had some pictures to show you.
I got to visit my site last week for 5 days...So far so great. Is definetly a small town, set in a valley only about 12km outside the big city of Matagalpa. I will have a site mate by the name of Elizabeth, who is a senior citizen who teaches english classes to the locals. But more importantly i will be working with an NGO on ecotourism. I am really excited about it. It is really well funded and highly planned out. It is part of a 3 year plan and its about a year in. So i will be there for the final two years of the plan. Basically How it works is the government of Luxembourg sent two ecotourism experts to Nicaragua to develop plans on implementing and improving all aspects of tourism in Nicaragua. As part of their plan was to develop a coffee route, throughout all of the mountainous coffee land in the middle of nica. My town (San Ramon) is on this route. Called La Ruta del Cafe. But specifically I will be helping in developing the website, brochures and marketing techniques for the pueblo of San Ramon. Promoting the Local restaurants, local artesans, coffee harvests, local music, etc. On top of the eco tourism stuff, I will be teaching two sections of the Business course developed by Peace Corps called "La Empresa Creativa" or the creative enterprise.
Overall i am very excited and i feel very fortunate to work on such a meaningful project.
Oh and on another note,,,,training is almost over!!! I cannot wait. July 25th!! mark your calendars. Joey Robinson becomes an official volunteer in the US Peace Corps.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Enjoy your meal....


Well everyone....I want to take this first line to apologize for my tardiness in writing this blog...If it weren´t for power outages, my busy schedule, and my apparent dislike of writng on blogs, well i would probably write more. But this is my promise to keep everyone more posted...

That out of the way, here´s the juice. I left off with having been here for a couple of weeks. Now it is the 16 of July and my 6th week of training and my seventh week here. Basically what my week looks like is this

Monday though friday-
Spanish lessons in the morning, then hour lunch, then back for practical spanish, meaning that we are out in the city using our spanish and talking with business owners and youth groups. The I am usually home for supper around 6 or seven.
Tuesdays and thursdays and saturdays-
We have a youth group in which we are working on a community project(not allowed to say what) with them and of course it is conducted in all spanish.
Wednesdays and Fridays-
We have meetings with all the Nica 47 volunteers and we are given ¨charlas¨ by other volunteers, local nicas or the Peace Corps trainers. Im not going to say on what, but it varies from medical to business to fun activities.
then of course there are
Saturday nights-
This is our free time. So far i went to a concert of the awesome group who plays almost every style of latin music, they played, Bachata, Reggaeton, Salsa, Merengue and cumbia. Lots and lots of dancing. Good times
Also, my family has taken me to a local Laguna called ¨La Laguna de Apoyo¨ Its really awesome.
Been to a couple of clubs. Overall have lots of fun.

So that is a basic idea of what i do during training!

Now to the fun stuff. Since i posted last. I have had an amoeba(which makes one have lots of diarhea, vomiting and a fever), I have had Bacterial Diarrhea and Constipation. Not to mention all within a three week period...I have already been deemed the sick kid in the group!!! But i see it as I getting use to all the bugs here early on into my service and later when everyone is by themselves and away from a family to take care of them....I will be sittin pretty.

Last week we went on our volunteer visit, which means we get to visit a sworn-in volunteer in their site and see how their life is. I went way down south to the border of costa rica and Nicaragua to a small lakeside town by the name of Cárdenas(Picture at top)Those volcanoes in the background are actually on the lake island of Ometepe. It was awesome. It is a very tranquil life down there. Lots of nice breezes. Lots of green open space and really really friendly people. No hidden agendas. Really refreshing.

This week and next week we will pretty much be continuing our routines and schedules. That following week we will be finding out where our sites are going to be. Then July 25th, we swear in as volunteers!!!
On that note, I need to head out. I gotta go home and catch the Noticias(News) and Cenar con mi familia (eat dinner with my family).
Take care, Adios, Va Pues!!!
Joey

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Crazy Roosters!

Man, so wow. I am here... the dust has settled. I went through staging in Georgetown, Washington D.C. and that was really cool. It was basically an introduction to the Peace Corps lifestyle and a bunch of fun icebreakers. There are 39 volunteers going down to Nica with me and they are all great people. I also got to see steve one last time and since it was Cinco de Mayo, we went to a mexican restaurant, and also we met up with some good friends from college.

Then, we all flew from D.C. to Miami and Miami to Managua. We arrived to a whole slew of Peace Corps employees holding signs and greeting us with smiles and welcomes. It was really nice and welcoming. Then we all walked across the street the the Peace Corps welcome retreat for three days. It was at a really nice resort with a pool, air conditioning, good food. Overall a really nice experience to break us in to the volunteer lifestyle.

Then we were split into groups of four and sent to different smaller pueblos to begin pre service training. And that is wehre you find me. ITs been almost a week that I have been living with my family. Its going great. They are so awesome. I live on a small farm and the family has about 17 people, maybe more, you can never really tell. But as soon as i got there i fit right in. They offered me a huge plate of food. Rice and beans (Gallo Pinto) fried plantains and fried salty cheese. It was great. I have a pretty big room and my own dresser. I have 7 brothers and sisters ranging from 30 years old to 13. We eat three times a day all together with our 30 chickens 8 lamb 6 dogs and chanchito the pig. We have avacado trees, mango trees, grapefruit trees, orange trees, and a bunch of other trees that i have never heard of. Its really cool. Besides that i am really busy. Pretty much from 7 am until about 8 or 9 at night. Then im pooped. The trainig part is very demanding, but its a good demanding. So i need to head out but i will be posting some pictures as soon as i get a chance! I really miss everyone back home... feel free to e-mail whenever. Its feels good to get an e-mail. jrobinson_1984@yahoo.com

adios

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Family Matters!






Been home for a week, gonna be home one more week! Its amazing how things change when your gone! Usually all for the good, depending how you look at it. My little sister is now sixteen, driving, has a serious boyfriend, is winning surf competitions left and right, It feels like a couple of weeks ago, I was teaching her how to sit on a skateboard! She is awesome though. She won homecomign for the sophmores at her school, everybody likes her, i am really proud of her.
My mom is doing awesome too. Just when I think I am old enough to truly be on my own, she flys me home and cooks homecooked meals, finds ways for me to earn a little extra money around the house(which I know she is just doing it so I can a little more money in Nicaragua. My grandma and Grandpa drove down from Orlando for the weekend to come see me! And of course, even though we are celebrating mothers day this weekend for my grnadma, she still brings me presents! And my grandpa gives me words of advice on how to pick up girls in Nica!
Then the dogs, man they are such cool dogs, My two bassett Hounds, Daisy Mae & Captain Morgan! They are not even one years old. The are the most snuggliest dogs I have ever met. If they see you on a couch by yourself, w/in seconds they are snoozing on your laps! They fight over attention!
These are the things that I will miss about home! but thats ok.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Third Molar Extraction

Today I am sitting in my Aunt/Uncle/Cousin's house in Grass Lake, Michigan (about 35 miles west of Ann Arbor). Two days ago I was throwing snow down mountains in Snoqualmie Pass, and 5 days from now I will be farting around on Fort Lauderdale Beach, then three weeks from yesterday I will be in Georgetown, Washington D.C. Then two days from that I will be in Nicaragua eating more mangos than something that eats a lot of mangos.

Michigan this time of year is beautiful, Its sunny and 70 degrees. My family lives in the middle of the woods, Its awesome! There is so much wildlife roaming around. Yesterday when I woke up there were two deer outside my window looking at me curiously! Sniffing and then realizing that I am pretty uninteresting they moved along. But, there are muskrats running around, cool rare birds, mini frogs that are exactly the size of my thumbnail and the squeek instead of ribbiting (it sounds like the squeek language that me and steve have and all the time I think steve is trying to get my attention.)SQUEEK

So yesterday (tuesday april 15th) I had all 4 of my wisdom teeth extracted. It was so much less painful and grooling as i hade made myself believe. I walked in, the doctor talked to me for about 30 minutes on the procedure, its possible reprecussions, and then put me to sleep (he counted down from three and I dont even remember him saying two), It was such an cool feeling when I woke up, I was mumbling stuff all over the place. Supposedly during the wake up process I had managed to hit on two of the nurses telling that once I get back from peace corps, that my first thing I am going to do is take them out to dinner!! Then I had a long lasting conversation with myself about the wonders of belgium ( Joey: did you know that in Brussels some of the churches have public urinals down the side of them?, Joey: wow, no i didn't know that!

But the healing process is going so easily, I only bled for about 4 hours. I am now fine and relaxing. No chipmunks cheeks or anything. Oh yeah and by the way, my cousin is an avid antique car collector. He has some of the coolest cars I have ever seen. Right now he is restoring a 1935 Rolls Royce Phantom II for a car show in Virginia. He also has 1911 Ford Model T, 2 Bently's (1934 + 1951), another 65' Rolls, a 1960 Jaguar MK IX (My favorite), an extremely rare Italian made luxury car called a 1922 Isotta-Fraschini (this actual car was originallymmisioned by the Queen of Romania), also a 28' Packard, and a 28'Graham-Page. Then of course my favorite; He has a 1978 Black Ferrari 308, mint condition. It is so beautiful, its hard to look at. Once you hit third gear in that pillar of awesomeness, it seriously goes way faster than any car should ever need to go!

Anyhoot, 19 days until I leave for Peace Corps!! I can't wait to meet all of the other volunteers!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Ohh yeah I forget to mention: Wanderlust II

The reason for the name of the blog...

After the awesome night of drinking I couldn't sleep past 8 so I got a huge fit of wanderlust and took a bus into downtown seattle and wandered around by myself all day. Seattle is such a cool and diverse city. I first went to chinatown and the chinese dollar markets, I met a nice older couple, He was a retired war vet and she was a vietnamese villager who met during the war and fell in love. They took me to this incredible authentic Chinese restaurant--(insert **Ho Chin Sa Chinese**,-- go if your in the seattle area) we chatted up about life and it's potential adventures around every corner. After an really great meal with unexpected new friends I wandered into Pioneer Square and ended up in a hippy coffee shop, all vegan food and soy coffee's (nasty), I ate a rice crispy treat (vegan style) and I was filling out some insurance stuff for the Peace Corps and someone came up to me and said "are you going into peace Corps", ends up this girl just got back from Moldova like 3 months ago, so we had some really cool things to talk about. I've got some friends from Chisnau and we exchanged stories. She was traveling around using her readjustment allowance. Small world sometimes..... So i ended up showing her around seattle, took her to the first starbucks, to pikes place market, the seattle art museum. Incredible day!! We then parted ways after exchanging e-mails and promises of keeping in touch.... Then i hitched a ride back with the coolest peruvian guy in the world. Alfio Susti!! Cool mofo you is!!

Days like this one prove that the more you travel, the more it becomes an extreme necessity.

I am going to miss seattle for sure!