If you read my Semana Santa post you would know that I was having some problems with my host family. On Monday the Training Director and I decided that enough was enough, so I switched families.
I won’t air all of this family’s dirty laundry, but the main problem was that they are alcoholics, and I was getting locked out when they were off drinking. It happened Sunday night, so I called the Training Director on Monday and he agreed that it was time for a change. It was also hard for me to watch this family crumble in a matter of weeks before my eyes, and knowing how hard it must be on Gabriel, the 6 year old.
Leaving was difficult. My host mother and the housekeeper both cried. However, I think that everyone involved agrees that my new family is a lot better equipped. Unfortunately, SBD 63 lost its first member last week when our friend Joe decided that the program wasn’t right for him, and he returned to the United States. That left his host family without a Trainee, and since he rated them 5 stars (yup, we rate our host families like you rate books on Amazon), the PC was happy to move me to their home.
Technically, I’m no longer living in San Juan de Oriente. I am in the first house in Niquinohomo, a neighboring town. The only drawback of this new house is that I have to walk a lot further to the center of town. They have a very nice house though, and the family is very nice. Niquinohomo has two claims to fame. First, I’ve heard that the church here is the oldest in Nicaragua. When I get around to posting a picture of it, you’ll agree with me that it is also one of the ugliest churches in Nicaragua. Second, Niquinohomo is the birthplace of Augusto Cesar Sandino. Many Americans have heard of the Sandinistas. Sandino himself was not a Sandinista, nor did he ever know the Sandinistas. He was a freedom fighter from earlier in Nicaraguan history and inspired the Sandinistas, who defeated the American-backed Somoza dictatorship in 1979 and went on to fight the contras for 10 years.
The family spans four generations. Manuel is the great-grandfather, and a very capable 78 years old. His daughter, Mirta, my “Host Mother” is the ama de casa (Nicaraguan term for homemaker). Her two granddaughters, Mindy, 12, and Analisa, 17 complete the household. Their mother currently lives in Spain.
My new family also has two puppies – Rufo, who you wouldn’t know is only seven months old by how placid he is, and Malu, who is only one month old!