Central America | Nicaragua – Julian Clary and Capoeira
Just completed my first capoeira class(a dance meets martial arts brazilian effort). It’s costing me 3 dollars for two classes a week till the end of March. Lovely. It’s been a mad few days. I’ve met Julian Clary and a bloke from Hollyoaks – out here looking for a ‘good’ time I guess. I was even sad enough to ask for a picture with them cos I just couldn’t believe it. Will try and upload it soon. I was out for dinner last night with a transexual from Quebec (wonderful woman) and I’ve been chatted up by 9 and 10 year olds. I moved hostel yesterday morning and it’s now been confirmed I will be moving in with a Nicaraguan girl next Tuesday for a month. 125 dollars can’t really complain. She’s a really independent cookie and is learning english so works out perfectly for both of us (well hope so anyway). Oh and two too many times I’ve been asked by locals whether I’m a gypsy, apparently I have the eyes of a gypsy. Mmmmm…..
Property is booming out here. Everyone’s buying land and old buildings to renovate. Any of you fancy investing, we could sit on the land (not literally of course) for a few years and make some cash. We could give some of the money back to one of the projects here. That’s a bit of a dream I think but it has crossed my mind. Apparently if you open a tourist business here you get tax free for 10 years (along with the locals I hasten to add). It’s also very straight forward to get residency. The US invastion I’m afraid has indeed begun. ‘Please not another Costa Rica’ I hear from some folk about town.
So, the ‘charity stuff’. God. Donna, the american who runs the projects, was broken into two days ago. All electrical goods stolen. She thinks its someone she’s known for five years who has trained a group of ex-gang members to run a local cafe (this is one of the projects out here – very Jamie Oliveresque). So he’s gonna take a lie detector test. Donna has returned to the States for a well deserved rest and I’m checking up on her house every few days. I’ve had an interesting discussion with an american guy who’s been out here for two years and it seems the ex-gang cafe has no ultimate goal ie getting these boys through a programme and then out the other end ie jobs. Donna gets very attached to them as far as I can tell. These very volatile boys have gone from street gang status to minor celebrity. They’ve done various interviews regarding the project etc for a few central and north american newspapers. A few of them are going to write a few pieces for me for the Lambeth council run youth magazine I’ve made contact with. I’ll send them copies with their words in print. Oscar, 19, was tough to talk to to begin with and you’re never sure whether he’s talking utter crap. He doesn’t get on with the other guys in the cafe and fights, apparently, are becoming more frequent. We’ll see how that goes. I visited him again today and he’s hard work. He wanted me to do his homework, virtually begging me ! He had written some great content for the magazine though about his views on family, drugs, government etc.
The other projects are good. I’m now doing 3 mornings in a ‘barrio’ school and then afternoons with the street kids. The barrio school this morning was wild. A couple of the kids were literally fighting like men. And then others were so adorable and bright and enthusiastic and attentive and the list is endless. Some of the boys at the street kids school have it tough – some live on the streets, most are working on the streets but have homes to go to. They’re meant to be working not studying so the volunteers quite often buy nuts or chewing gum from them so their parents think they’ve been working rather than coming to school. They’d get in trouble else as they’re effectively paying rent at the age of 6 or 7.
I start my spanish class tomorrow. Some intensive grammar to brush up on the old very very rusty lingo. I’ve also found a yoga class so gonna give that a whirl too.
Unfortunately its not safe to walk about alone, as a woman, after 9. One girl was mugged by three guys. She wasn’t hurt but they took her shoes! 40 dollars to them is a months rent and its all about survival. This element is very tiring for me as I’m always on my guard. This weekend I’m off on a trip somewhere with one of the other volunteers which should be fun. Maybe to Lake Apoyo for some chill time. Anywway I’m off to wash away the Capoiera sweat and then to bed.