Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Lend me your brains

We have pretty much exactly two months left for working here in Nicaragua, which is starting to feel like a ridiculously short amount of time. Not only is there too much work to get done in that time, there's also way too much of my heart in El Jocote to leave behind just yet.

However, we have gotten the official news that we will be heading back to Stehekin and North Cascades National Park for the summer, which is very exciting. Dreaming about Stehekin made me realize the other night how many things in El Jocote remind me of life in Stehekin: People spend time with each other, not just their TVs and video games. Kids play outside. Everyone knows their neighbors really, really well, and wants to know their new neighbors really, really well. You can make real connections because time spent with people is time well spent.

The Stehekin School: NPS photo

These thoughts, and the desire to keep El Jocote with me forever, made me think of instigating a cultural exchange between the kids of Stehekin and the kids of El Jocote. I figured we could walk around El Jocote with our camera, taking pictures and video of what the kids do and how they live, asking them questions about their life and translating their answers, and show the results to the students of Stehekin School (all less-than-20 of them). I emailed with the teacher of the Stehekin School, and he's going to send pictures and perhaps video for showing kids down here what life up there is like.

This thought process led to considering making a video for you all, our super-fantastic blog readers. We can make a video of what we see and what we want to save, of course, but we'd love for you all to get answers to burning questions as well. Is there anything that you want to know about life in rural Nicaragua? We can do interviews with local folks, or just video ourselves wandering around, whatever is needed to answer your questions.

The list is already started, thanks to my mom, who can always be counted on for coming up with great questions:
Does daily life vary much from month to month because of the weather?
When kids aren't in school, what do they do all day?
What kinds of jobs do people get?
How many stay in the village when they grow up and, if they leave, where do they go?
Do the residents travel much (e.g., to Managua)?
How much time do women spend on cooking, cleaning, and generally running a household?

What do *you* want to know about?


  1. What foods do you eat most often? What are your favorite foods?

  2. I saw a big funky guitar in one of your posts a while back...what's the local folk music like? Have you met any fiddlers in nicaragua?

  3. There are definitely some mariachi-style bands around here, but I think there's only one in the greater area of villages where we work. Except for singing in church, there's not a lot of music made in el Jocote--they just don't have a lot of resources there. I have met a number locals from more developed areas who play guitar, but haven't seen much of fiddlers.

  4. Anything and everything about their daily life; family life, school life, work life, extra activities. Basic things like how they acquire the land they live on. Where they get their money if they are sustenance farmers. How much education do they get. What do they think of us in the US? I could go on and on. I'm sure your videos and interviews would be absolutely fascinating. I LOVE your idea of the exchange with Stehekin. You two should be ambassadors!