Friday, September 9, 2011

My First Shabbat

When I got home from a day of charlas, my host mom told me the water came! Excited, I decided to try out the shower in my “closet”.. I removed the suitcases and hung the shoes on a rack on the wall. I turned the water on and after a sputter of trapped air… glorious water sprayed forth! (It was still cold, but can’t have everything.) So the water initially came out a little brown but then cleared up so I figured it was just because no one uses the shower…  I got under the spray and started soaping up when I noticed a minute later that the soap on my skin was a brownish color. Now I know I wasn’t that dirty! So I cupped my hands under the showerhead sure enough the water was coming out brownish-yellow. Thank G-d it didn’t have a bad smell because for a moment there I thought water and sewer lines might have been crossed! After a few moments and the water color not changing…

I have resigned myself to bucket showers for the next two years. I am actually starting to look forward to them in the heat of the afternoon.

So finally, sunset came and I lit my shabbat candles on the kitchen table (2 little tea lights in the traveling pewter candle holder I got in Israel). Then I walked up the road to hang out with Luisa’s son and his wife (Miguel and Ingrid). They are such a funny couple, always telling jokes and laughing. I have to smile when I’m with them. And they have the cutest little baby boy- with the same happy disposition as his parents.
Ingrid’s mom is a seamstress in the next town over and she took my skirt (I ripped when I first got here) and sewed it, and absolutely would not let me pay for it.  The skirt was as good as new! In fact, it took us several minutes to find where the large rip had been. When I first ripped the ripped the skirt and saw how bad it was, I was kind of sad, since I’d just gotten in country and it was one of my favorites… someone told me not to worry because I was in the land of super-seamstresses. Now, I’m a believer.

So I talked and laughed with the young couple that evening, practicing my Spanish as a side benefit to the good company. Then the discussion turned a little serious- about the current government in Nicaragua and the US. For a long time there was a lot of bad blood here towards North Americans. I explained to him that   Sandinistas.. I explained that our president at the time (Regan) didn’t act with his government’s, or even all the citizens’, approval. 

It’s touchy at this time to talk politics. Peace Corps is a strictly a-political, a-religious government organization and as volunteers we are not permitted to express opinions on local politics. A big part of that has to do with our own security (not all  countries have elections as polite as ours *insert dry tone here*) and part of it has to do with our effectiveness in our communities. We can’t afford to be seen as siding with one particular party or group if we hope to gain the confidence of the community at large.

We are, however, allowed to express our opinions about our own government, for better or worse. After all, that’s our American constitutional right… right? Well, either way, that creates it’s own inherent problems; for example if our government is supporting (or not) the government in the host country, then your comments for or against can be seen as indirectly to the host country politics. Plus, there’s that looming goal of Peace Corps to spread cultural awareness of Americans to the host country citizens. Effectively, we are ambassadors for the US (though paid significantly less than the embassy one).  So yeah, bad mouthing the US would probably not be a bright idea... though I’m all for expressing a dissenting opinion J

Anyway, Miguel knew about Regan and that not all American’s agreed with him sending troops here to interfere with their civil war in support of the dictator Somoza. Socialism, communism, capitalism- Like most politicians, he just wanted what was best for trade, it had nothing to do with the people here. 

Then Miguel asked me my opinion on President Obama and the current administration (which I have heard does not support the government in power here).  Overall, I love my county and support my government… well, sometimes. I asked who he supports in the coming elections (most people have strong opinions either way here, like in the US). He surprised me by saying he just wants what’s best for his country

On that, we are in agreement. 

The contents of this website/blog do not reflect any position of the United States government or the Peace Corps. All names have been changed.

1 comment:

Dayna Rosen said...

L'shana tova Lilly! May 5773 be a year of sweet health and happiness!