Monday, November 17, 2014

Yamni Balram a Puerto Cabezas!‏

Nakisma, family!

Well, I'm here in Puerto! Let me tell ya, it's WAY different from Managua or Tipitapa.

Everybody here lives in wood houses on stilts, and they all get their water from wells. Over half of the populatiopn speaks Miskito (a mix of Spanish, English, French Creole, and other native languages), which means I get to learn a whole new language. Yay! (Not really. But I'm totally down to do it.)

I'm also super glad I brought my Steripen. Unfortunately, the filter system I brought doesn't seem to work anymore, but they do sell purified water, so I'll be ok. I also brought my mosquito net, which I started using right away in our house. Good thing I remembered it.

Anyway, my new compañero is Elder Lawrence from Colorado Springs, Colorado. He's from the Ridgeview Ward in East Stake. He's been on his mission almost twice as long as I have, (7 months), most of it spent in Puerto.

The people here have a different culture than the Nicas back west. Here if people don't want to talk to you, they simply don't respond and pretend that you're not there. It gets super frustrating, and can happen right in the middle of a conversation with them. So, some of our contacts go south real fast.
We can look--but not touch.

A little LBJ here.

Bringing people to church is also an ordeal. We use a bus to bring everybody, and once they're there, we have to keep reminding them to STAY IN THE BUILDING until at least after Sacrament meeting.
Like Elder Lawrence says, it's like trying to herd cats. Difficult at best.

A lot of the people here don't speak Spanish either (just Miskito), so I gotta learn it if I'm gonna have better success while I'm here.

Thw two biggest churches here are the Catholics and the Morovans, and the Morovans say a lot of nasty stuff about the Mormons just to scare people away from our church. It's super frustrating and definitely un-Christlike, which is ironic.

People here cook a lot with coconut water since the well water can get really nasty. It gives the food here a little twist of flavor. I'm not sure whether I like it or I hate it. Elder Lawrence is getting sick of beans and rice for the past 4 months. I'll see if I can do something creative with the food.

I don't have a lot of time. I'll try to email you guys tomorrow to say more, but there's only 5 Cibers in all of Puerto Cabezas, half of them were closed, and this one's about to close. I'm really sorry I didn't have more time to email.

I love you all. I love you Mom, Dad, Alex, and Bree.

-Zach

1) Who is your new companion and where is he from? Give us details.
*My new comp is Elder Jagger Lawrence from Colorado Springs, Colorado. He is from Ridgeview Ward, East Stake and went to Doherty High School. He's been in the field for 7 months so far. He was also in the exact same area as I was (Waspan Sur) before he came to Puerto. Crazy.

2) Did Elder Maughn travel with you to Puerto? What bags and items were you able to bring with you?
*Elder Maughan is still in Estelí, wating for his cedula. I feel bad for the guy.I brought one of my big bags with 45 lbs of stuff ($20 extra), including my mosquito net.

3) What kind of music is popular there?
*Reggae is pretty popular here. So are churchy/gospel songs (a lot of "Praise to God!" stuff).

4) What do people do for work there? What is the job industry like? Is it mostly small businesses (shops, taxis, restaurants) or are there bigger industries (construction, government jobs)? How do most people live?
*It's really just small businesses here that people workin for money. The biggest industry here appears to be the fishing industry, for which they have employees (a ton of the men here) leave for months at a time to fish and work on fishing boats. The next biggest jobs here are military and police. Most people live in deep poverty here, even more so than Managua.

5) What are most of the houses like? Tell us about yours! Is it average or better or worse than most houses?
*95% of the houses here are on stilts due to some hurricane/flood that happened decades ago, and most of them are made of wood. They're all crazily made, or hastily slapped together. Our house is actually pretty well off, but I did kill this humongous spider in the bathroom last night.

6) Will you have to learn a new language?
*Yes. In order to communicate with 50% of the people here, I'll have to learn Miskito.

Houses on stilts

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