The Valley near San Marcos outside of Esteli

We woke up rather late on Wednesday morning (6:00am) and decided we did have enough energy to take on the 40 mile tough ride from Estelí to Jinotega, all on dirt. We saw maybe 10 to 20 vehicles on the remote Nicaragua back road which were mostly buses serving the local communities, The landscape was mostly dry desert and rolling hills; other areas along the way were highly productive river valleys were tobacco, onions, cabbage, potatoes where being harvested.

We stopped at a small tienda in the middle of the trip to purchase a cold drink. There we meet many local residents including Sarah, a Peace Corps volunteer, who lives in a rented brick house across from the store. We knocked on her door to say hello and a small petite dark haired, young 20ish female came out and greeted us. She was the famous local gringa. We spent sometime with Sarita learning about her life in the middle of rural Nicaragua as a Peace Corp volunteer.

The house Sarah lives in is owned by a young man who has left to work in the United States so she rents it from his family. The house has electricity which was installed in the area a year ago by the government of Nicaragua. She does not have running water but gets water from the neighbor´s hand operated water pump. She washes her clothes river nearby. Since Sarah does not have a refrigerator she stores perishables in the neighbors refrigerator, the rich ones in the neighborhood. Sarah has a outhouse in the back yard, which is just about full and will need moving soon. She cooks on a camping stove which burns propane gas. Her kitchen floor in earthen but her main room which her living areas and bedroom has a concrete floor compliments of Margarita, the previous Peace Corp volunteer.

Sarah has been here for two months and has spent the time getting to know the hundred or so families in the area. Sometime soon she hopes to start a small plot gardening project in the community so they can supplement their diet with fresh vegatables to cut down on the malnutrition rate in the community. The community has a river running through it which has water all year long so she hopes to get the gardening project going and perhaps a tree farm started to help reforest the areas. Most people cook by wood and still continue to chop down the shrinking forest in the surrounding hills.

Asked if she gets lonely she replies yes but once a week she goes to the nearby city of Estelí to meet with the other Peace Corp volunteers who work in this area. This weekend she will go and watch the Super Bowl, not that she really is a football fan but she sure enjoys the company.