We’ve spent 4 days in a beach community outside of Leon called Las Penitas. It’s very small, but there are a good number of expats making a life here, especially Canadians. We’ve learned SO MUCH in these 4 days, so even though it seemed a little long to visit such a small town, it was the perfect first stop.
We have changed our itinerary a few times now, which is why we did things to be able to remain flexible as far as our accomodation, and are now heading to Asseradores today, then Matagalpa on Sunday. From there the plan is 2 days in Granada, 2 days in San Juan del Sur, and then 2 in El Transito before heading to Managua for our last night.
So what have I learned as far as Ten Eighteen goes? Here are a few observations so far:
- Nicaragua isn’t as noticeably poor as I’d expected, or as “third world.” (My husband is adjusting to the Third Worldness, but it’s a lot cleaner, a lot richer, and has a lot more and better infrastructure than Uganda.
- While Las Penitas has an adjacent fishing village, as well as places even right on the beach that have obviously been there for generations and are, well, RUSTIC, the children are obviously well fed (there’s a lot of fish, if not a lot of other meats, and fruits (bananas, plantains, pineapple, watermelon and oranges right now) and vegetables (cabbage, onions, tomatoes and peppers) are very cheap and fresh. I have also seen no one in rags like the majority of children and adults wear in most of Uganda.
- The trash situation, while more than my husband would like to see, is pretty much under control. There is trash service here on Saturdays.
- Water, at least here, even in dry season, isn’t an issue. There are many homes with sweet water wells. There is water piped from some government entity and it isn’t very expensive. And most people have some kind of plastic water tank.
- Electricity, on the ther hand, is very expensive, and there isn’t a lot of solar.
There does seem to be a fairly large number of kids not going to school. I know there is more poverty as you go inland, too, and I think there is a sort of slum outside of Leon, but we didn’t see/find it when we went into the city.
We can definitely see ourselves here, and are spending most of our time talking to people, seeking out “business as missions” opportunities, and identifying niches where we could have a project/business. The Ten Eighteen stuff would be a part of that but also separate – we’d have a business entity (likely in the hospitality/tourism sector, which is easiest to start and has some government incentives and ease of doing business benefits), and also a presence for Ten Eighteen once we identify what the needs are. God will show us both…. Our goal is to join what He’s doing, and we’re confident that He will!
Lastly, it’s hot. H.O.T. I’m from Florida. I know hot. Trust me. It’s hot! The Pacific here isn’t that cool — apparently it’s cooler down in San Juan Del Sur because of how the currents go. We did spend a few hours at a local hotelita (4 rooms) with a great pool, and it was wonderful to just stand in there and not sweat! Our showers here at the Lazy Turtle aren’t warm, but even I don’t mind the cold water. In fact, I’ve taken a few showers just to cool off and get my hair a little wet so it would keep me cool for a few hours. Obviously, moving here would require at least one room with ac, for sleeping and writing/office work. It’s almost too hot to think in daytime, and 2 of our 4 nights were pretty challenging for sleeping.
So our first location overall feeling – so far so good! Although 10 degrees cooler might not be terrible. Just sayin’.