I’ve been a bit of a slacker and haven’t updated any details on week one at La Mariposa in Nicaragua so here goes. My current schedule is an early morning starting around 6-6:30am. Limited running water means I’m bathing by filling a bucket with cold water and using a bowl or cup to bathe. It’s a bit uncomfortable but doable – like sleeping on the floor when you’re used to a bed. One of the sisters I am staying with will make breakfast which is usually some fresh fruit, pancake/egg/toast, and coffee.
It is a 10-15 min walk to La Mariposa and around 8am another quick walk to La Reserva which is where the organic garden is situated. The locals who work there mainly only speak Spanish but they are great at explaining and always flexible with work assigned. I’ve learned a lot about gardening, building, and other random tasks from workers but also from other volunteers who are there for various purposes and have varied backgrounds and knowledge.
Around 11 we break and head back to La Mariposa for lunch which usually includes beans and rice (gallo pinto), salad/veggies, and juice. One-on-one Spanish lessons begin at 1pm and go for 4 hours which is split into segments for conversación and gramática and there is a small break and a change of teachers in between.
I head back to the homestay for dinner at 6pm – usually gallo pinto again, some plantain and other veggies. I’ll read for a bit in the evenings, chat with the homestay fam in basic Spanish and it’s usually an early bedtime since sleep is unpredictable (roosters + no closed walls = wake-up calls at all hours. No mercy).
Life is simple. Not simple as in easy, but simple as in basic. Basic needs are met, there’s no luxury or even comfort by Western standards but I can’t say I’m in need of anything either. Fun for me here is just the time learning and talking to other volunteers. The work is tiring at times but it’s outside in the sun, moving and learning interspersed with oranges, pineapples or coconuts straight from the farm to snack on.
I’m not going to say that any one way of life is better than the other; I’ve only been in Nicaragua for one week now and there is much I know I have not yet seen or experienced. However I can’t help feeling that much of life is just a matter of scale – the higher the highs, the lower the lows – the closer you are to the median, the less extremes you experience and the less you are afflicted by any present circumstance. It’s a common belief to stoics or taoists in their own ways and I think the truth of those understandings are often lost, the expense being to some folk like myself who prefer the middle ground to any extreme. Again (as usual) I will acknowledge that everyone is different and we should all push to see what resonates in ourselves instead of accepting any given narrative.
Feel free to leave a comment or question below – I am happy to engage.
“To find yourself, think for yourself” – Socrates