Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Avena !

Oh my head! My stomach! I know I’m in the Peace Corps now ... time to turn to my trusty medical kit. Thankfully my host mom has had 4 volunteers before me, she’s very helpful.
Having the dreaded stomach issues led to one pleasant discovery- there’s oatmeal in Nicaragua! It’s called avena… and another great find- mi mama loves it! She has no problem with me eating it for dinner, which I prefer when I’m having stomach problems. Even when I’m not, oatmeal is really a great, low calorie food that helps regulate your digestive system, manages cholesterol and is bland enough to not cause acid reflux. Anyway, eating substituting oatmeal for all my meals helped clear up the stomach problem pretty quickly (not completely).
Speaking of food… I want to feed bread to the starving dogs. The dogs that are walking around with every bone in their skeleton showing through their thin skin.  I’d rather spend my little money on them than on ice cream for myself, which is what are little extra spending money is supposed to go to… mi mama and her daughter-in-law told me not to though, that I’d have problems, people would think I killed a dog if he died after eating my food gift. Even though logically, a severely starved dog most likely dies of… starvation. I couldn’t let it go, so she showed me how to do it on the DL. This basically involves eating the bread or pretending to, and covertly dropping pieces of it as I walk by the animal.
On the way to class one day, we passed a woman carrying a large woven basket on her head. I asked her what was in it and she said bread. Ah, perfect! She took it off and showed me the delicious, handmade bread.. I only wanted pan simple (plain bread) to give to the dogs. It was 3 cordobas each, which is like 12 cents I think, so I bought three. I found out later that was a little overpriced. At least some of the dogs got a nice treat that day.
Oh, Allison told me her host father sells his pottery to stores in the US- like Target and Peir 1! Imagine that- when the stuff says handmade, it really is. I always had doubts, it just looked to perfect to not be mass manufactured. Well in those stores, it costs 100s of dollars, and here I  can get it for a few dollars. That’s fortunate for me but sadly just an example of how local artisans get cheated by big companies and middle men.

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