Every day I have “Nica moments:” picking out produce from the vegetable market; waiting for pupusas (like a flat knish) to get all hot, melted and crispy on the grill; buses breaking down; cows stopping traffic; kids asking me “Cuando vamos a jugar?;” getting cat-called and then looking at the woman next to me and rolling our eyes together; vendors with beautiful frilly aprons and buckets on their head yelling “güirilas con cuajadaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!” so that “cuajada” lasts few seconds longer than it logically should; trading gifts of food and coffee with my neighbors; waiting for meetings to start; watching the sun rise and set over the mountains; coffee pickers carrying baskets of freshly-picked coffee cherries; boys with a bundle of firewood on their shoulders; coffee sprawled out, drying on the street; the smell of burning trash and fire stoves; women washing laundry; waking up to the rhythmic thudding of tortillas being made; and the list goes on.
Unfortunately, most of the time I either don’t have my camera on me or I’m too embarrassed to take it out. Yet as the reality of my departure is starting to take hold, I’ve been wanting to capture some of these moments to remember my life here.
A couple nights ago I was very fortunate and was able to capture a “Nica moment” with pictures.
Here’s what happened: we were in the mayor’s truck traveling from Ocotal to Quilalí when we came to a big cargo truck that was stuck in the middle of the road. About 30 guys who had been in the truck were now lined on the side of the road, watching (and heckling) as we attempted to plow throw the mud. We got stuck. They egged us on. We tried again. The truck nearly tipped over. We backed up and tried yet again, mud spewing out from under the wheels, and again the truck nearly flipped on its side. So we got out and tried to walk down the road, away from the truck. I nearly fell because the road was so muddy and my shoes had so little traction, so the mayor grabbed onto my elbow and walked with me up the road.
Nishant was able to walk a little better than I, so he went down and took pictures, as we watched all the guys get behind the truck and push it as it hydroplaned over and over again, until finally, it broke free.
Here is Nishant, walking all by himself (I took this picture whilst being absolutely unable to move):
The pickup truck trying to get free!
The guys from the cargo truck helping us get out of the mud:
All the mud:
At long last, we made it out! Everyone cheered and we piled back into the truck, slightly muddier and in a fit of giggles, and we continued on our way to Quilalí:
A truck getting stuck in the mud is not a unique experience; it’s happened before and it will happen again. Yet I rarely get to share moments like this–moments that are just so typical of my life here.
My last day of Peace Corps is March 22. If you need to find me before then, just ask around town for the crazy white girl that’s been taking pictures of everyone at inappropriate moments. They should be able to point you in the right direction.