Wednesday......GEISELL, Santo Domingo, Departmento de Chontales, Nicaragua
Juigalpa Travel Blog› entry 99 of 129 › view all entries
Iâ€™m picked up by Plan driver in Plan car/ute at 7 am to drive to Juigalpa. At Juigalpa Iâ€™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. Todayâ€™s a bit like the UN, we have 4WD utes with â€śPlan" on the sides of the car. The cars are all in very good condition and clean (to start). The staff wear tops with â€śPlanâ€ť 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.
We go to the local supermarket where I buy goods that will be useful for Geisellâ€™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 â€śtiendaâ€ť 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 Geisellâ€™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.
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.
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.
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. Iâ€™m dropped off at Casa Country hotel.
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. Iâ€™d already paid the bill, a highly inflated USD40 because of the fiesta, as it was Planâ€™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 couldnâ€™t care less. This irks me more than anything, and the fact that they took my money, knowing that there was no hot water.
Wouldnâ€™t recommend Hotel Casa Country in Juigalpa, in the highly unlikely event that you ever get there, but what a great day.