Wednesday......GEISELL, Santo Domingo, Departmento de Chontales, Nicaragua

Juigalpa Travel Blog

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Leaving Managua

I’m picked up by Plan driver in Plan car/ute at 7 am to drive to Juigalpa.  At Juigalpa I’m introduced to Bismarck, the field worker, and Emma who speaks English and works at building relations between sponsors, the community, families and children.  Our driver is Oswaldo.  Today’s a bit like the UN, we have 4WD utes with “Plan" on the sides of the car.  The cars are all in very good condition and clean (to start).  The staff wear tops with “Plan” written on them.  The offices in Juigalpa, like in Managua, are basic, not fancy, and no airconditioning.  I find out that there are about 500 sponsors of children in Santo Domingo and Plan has worked with this town for the last five years.  During this time I am only the third sponsor to visit Santo Domingo.  I begin to realize how important this visit is. 

 

Before we leave Juigalpa I find out that the hotel that I wanted is booked out because of a fiesta, so I accept the one suggested by Plan, Hotel Casa Country, and book in there.

Juigalpa
 

 

We go to the local supermarket where I buy goods that will be useful for Geisell’s family.  Soap, soap for washing, oil, rice, deodorants for men and women, toilet paper, potatoes, carrots, some chips, soft drinks and lollies for a treat, dried beans etc.

 

On the way to Santo Domingo we stop for a local style snack at a “tienda” on the side of the road.  At another point we see children going to school and they pile into the back of the ute and get a lift.  Some children go to school from around 7 am to 12 pm, with another group going in the afternoon.  We arrive at Santo Domingo at around 12:30 and go straight to Geisell’s home where we are greeted by her parents; she is having a shower.

 

Geisell is lovely, much prettier than her photos have previously shown, shy but friendly.

Juigalpa
  I give her and her parents the presents that I have brought; a koala for Geisell, a plate made by Australian aborigines and some plastic glasses from Managua (I’ve always wondered about plastic “glasses”) for the family.  A big parcel of useful things for school for Geisell; pens, pencils, books, stapler, pencilcase etc.

 

We sit and talk for a while.  Emma is excellent; she understands that I prefer not to use a translator, so most of the time I bumble along trying to understand and to be understood.  There are no major problems.

 

After this Geisell comes for lunch with Emma, Bismarck, Oswaldo and me at a local restaurant in Santo Domingo.  Geisell and I are able to sit together at one end of the table, so it works out as a wonderful arrangement.

Plan office, Juigalpa
  I don’t understand everything that she says, nor vice versa, but it is lovely just to be together.  She is in first year of secondary school and has two one-hour lessons of English a week.  She tells me that she wants to be able to speak English like I do.

 

After lunch Geisell wants a photo taken of the two of us with some flowers in front of the restaurant.  Then we drive to the primary school where she was a student until this year.  I am shown around and Geisell and her best friend do a folk dance for me, the Plan staff and her parents and brother.  Afterwards we drive to some vantage points above the town where I can take photos.  The town of Santo Domingo is much bigger than I expected. 

 

We return to the family home where I am given a lovely present, a wooden casita (little home) which will hang on the wall in my home.

Snack break shed
  The family has a similar one in their home.  Shortly after four it is time to say farewell.

 

We say goodbye, then, as it is raining, Geisell brings an umbrella and takes me back to the Plan car.  Her parents come too.  We say goodbye again.  Four pairs of eyes have tears in them.  Her parents send their best wishes to my family.  Then we are gone.

 

An hour and a half later I am trying to withdraw money from an atm in Juigalpa; there is a fiesta and no money left in the atm.  More luck with another atm.  I’m dropped off at Casa Country hotel.

Nicaraguan buses are often colourful
  As there is a fiesta in the town, there are a lot of people from out of town, and I’m told that I shouldn’t stay out late as it could be dangerous; not that I had any intention of doing so.  I go straight away to a restaurant very close to the hotel, Palo Solo, where I have a cheap and cheerful meal.  Staff are very nice, no ice-cream for dessert as the freezer has died.

 

Return to hotel to find that there is no shower rose.  Shower rose is produced.  I then find out that there is no hot water because the other residents have used it all.  I’d already paid the bill, a highly inflated USD40 because of the fiesta, as it was Plan’s first choice.  Bad move.  Later there is a man on the front desk who suggests that there will be hot water in the morning, but basically he couldn’t care less.  This irks me more than anything, and the fact that they took my money, knowing that there was no hot water.

A uteful of schoolchildren
  I expect that there will only be cold water in the morning and my expectations are met. 

 

Wouldn’t recommend Hotel Casa Country in Juigalpa, in the highly unlikely event that you ever get there, but what a great day.

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Leaving Managua
Leaving Managua
Juigalpa
Juigalpa
Juigalpa
Juigalpa
Plan office, Juigalpa
Plan office, Juigalpa
Snack break shed
Snack break shed
Nicaraguan buses are often colourf…
Nicaraguan buses are often colour…
A uteful of schoolchildren
A uteful of schoolchildren
Welcome to Santo Domingo
Welcome to Santo Domingo
Welcome to Santo Domingo
Welcome to Santo Domingo
With Geisell, first meeting
With Geisell, first meeting
Geisell with new toy, koala
Geisell with new toy, koala
With neighbours puppy
With neighbour's puppy
Rosa and Jose, Geisells parents
Rosa and Jose, Geisell's parents
With family, including granddaught…
With family, including granddaugh…
With Rosa, outside their home
With Rosa, outside their home
Outside Geisells house
Outside Geisell's house
View at lunch
View at lunch
Lunch l-r Oswaldo, Bismarck, Geise…
Lunch l-r Oswaldo, Bismarck, Geis…
Geisells request, a photo outside…
Geisell's request, a photo outsid…
Primary school, Santo Domingo
Primary school, Santo Domingo
With Geisell, totally natural, not…
With Geisell, totally natural, no…
Geisell (left) and friend dancing …
Geisell (left) and friend dancing…
Looking down at the school
Looking down at the school
View of Santo Domingo
View of Santo Domingo
With family, including son Luis.
With family, including son Luis.
Restaurante Palo Solo, Juigalpa
Restaurante Palo Solo, Juigalpa
Restaurant Palo Solo, Juigalpa
Restaurant Palo Solo, Juigalpa
Hotel Casa Country
Hotel Casa Country
My room, Hotel Casa Country
My room, Hotel Casa Country
Juigalpa
photo by: ahtibat17