Final Day

4 May

Friday — my last day in Jinotega.

In reviewing my writings, it’s dawned on me that I have failed to mention my own student.  I don’t actually fund her scholarship, but her sponsor passed away last year (leaving money for her to complete school) and I decided that it was a good idea to correspond with one of our students.  Her name is Heyling and she is a nursing student at the university.  Despite the few years difference between us, she still called me “madrina,” and, boy did it make me feel old!  Overall, she was a lovely woman with an adorable son, who decided I couldn’t possibly be loved.

“What?!” you may exclaim.  I know, right?  Kids love me.

Nope, not Alex.

I would see them no less than 5 times and he would despise me until the end.  I managed to take just one decent photo of him and it was during the excitement of his father arriving home.  In the eleventh hour, however, Alex would find the good in me … or, at the very least, the good in the small toy I gave him.  I finally got my hug — without coercion, even.  *warm fuzzies*

Friday was spent away from the community center.  You see, I decided immediately upon arrival in Jinotega that Nancy and I should throw a small party at the end of our stay.  Nancy, being ever agreeable, thought it sounded like a good idea.  Unfortunately for Andrea, it meant giving her loads of work to do on our last day in town.  Deciding we would have approximately 20 people, Andrea needed a day off from caring for us to, you know, put together my fiesta.  It just so happened that Nancy wanted to take her girls to the carnival and then out for lunch.

The carnival would again prove to be a great time.  Nancy told each of them that they could buy one thing after perusing all the options, figuring that they would want toys.  Turns out, the girls wanted to be just like Nancy.  Most of the trip, Nancy could be found in sunglasses and a straw hat.  Guess what the girls wanted.  Yup.  Hats.  We maneuvered back through the stalls, then found one place that had a hat they each liked.  The same guy also had a whole bunch of sunglasses for sale, and Nancy decided to buy hats and sunglasses for each of them.  Too cute!

Lunch was at a restaurant in downtown – $5 for all the trimmings, including a beer, if you are so inclined.  (Today, we decided to join the girls in a juice.)  It was hard to tell if they had ever been to a nice restaurant because they were still so excited over the hats and glasses.  Because each one of them wanted a different thing, Nancy decided to get them each their own plate.  This would teach us a very, very sad lesson.

You see, when you put a big plate full of food in front of a child that does not often have more than fills her belly, she tries to eat all of it.  Yup, we slowly realized Judy, the 4-year-old, was going to try to pack away the same amount of food as an adult.  Her 11-year-old cousin managed it (and in record time, too), and her 8-year-old sister came close.  Afraid that she would eat herself to the point of getting sick, I took away her plate.  Ugh.

Lunch wouldn’t be all sadness.  None of the girls had ever used a knife and fork — who needs them when you really only ever eat rice and beans?  While Judy was too young for learning to cut her own meat, Geovania and Karla would master this skill with gusto!  Good job, ladies!

Finally, everyone gathered at about 6pm – we invited all of CdAs employees, Geovania and her family, Heyling and her son, as well as Ruth, Robbins, and the Peace Corp workers.  I gave a short speech, thanking everyone for their kindness and telling them just how much I enjoyed my trip (I only cried a little), and then the fun began.  It’s traditional in Nica for the youngest participant to get a go at the pinata first.  Alex wasn’t much in the mood, initially, but after seeing Judy take her turn, he gave it a few whacks.  It was Geovania who cracked open this little bear, spilling his  sweets everywhere.  I’ve never seen a group of people jump so quickly!  The candy was scooped up, packed away in little baggies, before I even able to take a shot with my camera.

Everyone had a nice time — we ate dinner, then a had ice-cream for dessert.  Ruth turned on some music and there was dancing.  The staff gave me a lovely gift and I said goodbye to everyone before they headed home.

In the photo, I appear to be holding Ruth’s hand.  I am.  I’m holding it so she can’t tickle me.  She’s as bad as my siblings.

*sigh*  We leave manana.

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