As I rolled out of bed this morning, slipping out of my mosquito net and into my flip-flops, itching one of my many bites from some undefined animal that either lives in my bed or has crawled through the window without a pane/the gap between the ceiling and the roof/ under the resemblance of a door from outside I was amazed at how easily I had adapted to this crazy country. I have only been here for 10 days and already feel like I have seen and done so much.
Last week, after getting necessary paperwork done in Managua and visiting the neighbouring city of Masaya I went to the north to Somoto, where I will be based, to attend a bee workshop. It was interesting for a variety of reasons. Apiculture is increasingly being seen as a great micro enterprise in Nicaragua and in fact the honey production site had started as a youth development project. The attendees of the workshop were primarily women from small towns and it was awesome to hear their thoughts on apiculture, micro enterprises, and poverty reduction in general.
Somoto is cute. And small, reaaaaallly small. It is nestled in between these lush rolling green hills and near a large reserve with a beautiful canyon for which it has become a major tourist attraction lately.
Finally on Saturday I arrived at Lago de Apoyo, a volcano crater lake. It is absolutely breathtaking, still quite untouched and very pristine which distracts from the absolute ghetto hostel that I am staying in and taking spanish lessons. I am not extremely picky when it comes to residences and while this isn’t the worst place I have every stayed, it is pretty close up there. Also not made better by the Belgian intern’s never-ending stories of tarantula and scorpion sightings around the hostel.
But it is what it is. After borrowing a paddle-board from a family down the road I paddled out into the crystal-clear lake at 6am yesterday morning. From the centre of the lake you can barely see any houses or signs of civilization and at that hour I felt like I had the world to myself. Lying on my back in the middle of the lake on a paddle-board, watching the parrots fly overhead and the howler monkeys howl and the sun rise from behind the volcano Mombacha it finally hit home. I am here. I am finally here. And man does it ever feel good.