A Day in the Life

My winning streak came to an end last night. We got second to last place in trivia! The theme was animation. We had a strong showing with Disney and ran the category for superheroes, but we were decimated on anime.

During trivia I was talking to my site-mates about a creative intermediate product that I could make and show my students. They’ve all been here longer than me so they are usually full of good ideas.  I’ve been teaching two of my 10th grade classes about the importance of value added production, and they have are now doing a project showing the creation of a final product, from the natural resource, through an intermediate product. An example that I like to use in class is coffee beans, instant coffee packets, and a cup of coffee. But some of the students are still having a hard time coming up with their own creative ideas. So I wanted to bring a good example into class. One idea that I have is cashew milk, since it is easy to make (with my blender, of course), creative, and uses a natural resource that is plentiful in Nicaragua.

This morning I was invited to an expociencias, which was basically a local science/entrepreneurship fair. At the fair I was pleased to see both of my 10th grade classes. And there were also a bunch of good examples of value added intermediate products. So I picked out my students in the crowd and dragged them around so they could see the good examples. Problem solved – no more need to make a creative product at home and bring it into class (although I still may make the cashew milk).

I was really impressed with some of the products that were being shown off. They were made by other high school students, college students, as well as local entrepreneurs. One woman is preparing and freezing plantains so that someone who wants tostones just has to take them out of the bag and fry them. This is a great idea because Nicaragua is the largest producer of plantains in the world, but most of the processing is done in other countries. A group of high school students who won the national science fair made a meat substitute out of cashew fruit. And the picture above of a group of university students who have taken jicaro and made a number of intermediate products, including oil, flour, and a drink mix.

At first I felt a little bad going to the fair instead of class, but my class this morning wound up getting cancelled anyway. Big surprise.

This afternoon I had class starting at 4:15. Yesterday and today it has been sweltering hot. I set out on my bike at around 4:00, but it started pouring, so I turned right back around and I’m back in my house now writing this blog post. It’s pretty dangerous to ride my bike in the streets during a storm, I find it impossible to teach during a thunderstorm anyway, and it’s likely that they cancelled class anyway because they saw the storm clouds coming. Nicaragua is in a drought, but over the last month I’ve noticed a lot more rain (and mosquitoes).

Tomorrow is the day of the patron saint of León, La Virgen de la Merced (Virgin of Mercy, whom I think is the same woman as the Virgin Mary, the Virgin of Guadelupe, the Virgin of Fatima, and a few other saints I’ve heard of), so there is no school. Tonight will be a night of endless firecrackers, I am sure. For the day tomorrow, I am either going to Cerro Negro to work with the Cooperative or I will stay in the city, watch some of the processions, and tick some items off of my to-do list (mostly related to planning the Entrepreneurship Competition).

If anyone has been wondering, I’m still blending. On Sunday I made spicy blender pasta sauce, which was delicious. Let me know if you want the recipe. Right now I’ve got bananas, pineapples, naranjillas, and a cantaloupe. They are calling my name for a smoothie dinner. Once this rain stops I am going to find some ice and blend away.

In case you were wondering, this is a naranjilla

In case you were wondering, this is a naranjilla

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