Friday, February 1, 2013

"Day 6: Standing On The Side Of Love"

I am having trouble being able to download the picture. He is standing there looking at the camera... except I dont think he is actually looking at the camera. He is looking deep into the camera, like if it were possible to see through it and capture the eyes of the person that would be seeing him, seeing this picture of him. I can't remember the first nor the last time I saw a picture of César Chávez. I almost want to say that I have never seen one. Atleast not one like this. I clicked on the link that read:
Day 6: Inspired by my grandfather, César Chávez « Standing On The Side Of Love

And as soon as it loaded. Before I was able to read the title once again to make sure it had gone to the right page and it wasnt just a cheat. I saw him. I dont know what went through me exactly... I just felt like I had been strucked by something unfamiliar and new. I had a few tears build up.. I don't know what to think of this. César Chávez is beautiful. His soul, his beliefes, his spirit, his accomplishments are just beautiful and I feel  like I need to find out more. There has to be more underneath this civil rights activist.

As I look back at the picture. I can now say I have seen it before. It has been burried inside in the back of my mind from years back. I can't remember where or when it was that I saw this picture for the first time... but today it was as though I had.

My first time.

(I'll hopefully be able to upload the picture another time.)

Thursday, December 20, 2012


I am sitting next to my dad in the office. Only a few of y'all know that my dad is a small business owner of a trucking company whose office is right at home. So, I am home thinking back on what my last month in Nicaragua was. I can break it down into weeks. November 5 was the day I met Agentes de Cambio. Little did I know that I was going to learn from them much more than what I had scheduled for my independent study. I learned about Agentes de Cambio during a class with Maria Teresa Blandon a well-known feminist in Nicaragua. I jotted down Agentes de Cambio along with other youth organizations in hopes that I will find my future participants for my ISP (independent study project).

My finished ISP was "An analysis of political perspectives and values in families of Matagalpa, Nicaragua with an intergenerational focus".

I had emailed Agentes de Cambio and had gotten a response from Yaser Morazán. My soon to be advisor! I made plans to meet him and Agentesd de Cambio Monday November 5. I was going to miss my last day of class in Managua but I prioritized this meeting because my gut told me to head over to Matagalpa. My first meeting with Agentes de Cambio was ideal. I was promised participation from the organization and most of them were more than willing to help me with whatever I may need. I was even welcomed into the organization to see what Agentes de Cambio was all about. Agentes de Cambio is a sexually diverse organization. It was founded three years ago with the purpose of creating a space in Matagalpa for gays/lesbians/bisexuals/trans/homosexuals/heterosexuals/etc. It is an organization that promotes human rights, reproductive rights, sexual rights and youth leadership without discrimination through protest, media, presentations, film series and other way primarily through art.

It did not take me long to recognize that Agentes de Cambio was the organization that I was looking for. The following week I moved to Matagalpa to start my independent study.

But what happened between that time? I took a nice walk in Managua with Diego and Nay'chelle. We took a day off from research to visit Sandino and canopy in Managua. We also had some ice-cream and walked around plaza Inter. Here we encountered a cultural incident... There was a competition going on with the latest music to see who could dance better. The moves were to be competitive, the sexier the better... at least that’s what we saw. There were people cheering their favorite and the audience was enjoying it all. The participants came from the audience so none were professional dancers all but one was female. It was cute in the beginning until the competition got more intense. Was there anything wrong? Well, the participants were under 12 years old. First time I saw little ones dance sexually in a mall for a competition. It was getting a bit uncomfortable as we walked away, and out of plaza inter we went.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

hasta luego

It’s been a week as of Tuesday that I am back from Nicaragua. As I lay in bed and look at my little one (Mariflor) I think about my last week in Nicaragua. My last blog was on my weekend trip to Leon, it’s been like six weeks. I have been avoiding this site because I do not really want to write my last blog or get close to writing it. I do not want this to be a goodbye; I personally do not like goodbyes and am terrible at saying them in person. And even though this is a blog and I am not literally in front of someone saying goodbye I do feel like there is some sort of strings attached because this is the first time I actually follow through with a blog for one of my trips abroad. Well, enough of this silliness and lets reminisce on those lost six weeks. (Grab a cup of coffee is going to take a while.) As a matter of fact I will be sleeping now and writing on this tomorrow.  I will dream with the memories I hold dear and I know that I will travel back to those beautiful places I visited and called my temporary home. I can still hear the voices of the individuals that I met and I can still see their faces when I close my eyes. Like my friend Diego says, “It’s not a good bye but an hasta luego”. This hasta luego is going to take some time.

Sunday, November 4, 2012


How do I start this… this weekend I spend it in Leon. I am actually sitting in Bigfoot Hostel. When we first got here we, as in Diego, TayTay and I, were feeling a bit out of place. This is a big party, backpackers with dreadlocks kind of hostel and we were not sure what we were getting into. We actually hadn’t looked into the Hostel in much detail. We pretty much chose to come here because on its website it said that they were the main Volcano board place. So out of excitement and desire for some adrenaline rush we booked a room for the three of us. So here we were Friday night three college students anticipating our next day adventure.
Saturday morning we didn’t want to get out of bed. We didn’t even want to shower and voted on showering after the day’s adventure; after volcano boarding down Volcano Cerro Negro.  We ate breakfast at a small café restaurant adjacent to the hostel, its actually part of the hostel itself. We were running a bit late and didn’t have any sunscreen so Diego and I borrowed some. Before we knew it we were on our way to the volcano. It took approximately an hour to get there. We drove out of the city and up into the Volcano Cerro Negro…

Volcano Cerro Negro in Leon, Nicaragua. Last time it erupted was in 1999.
 It is beautiful isn’t it?
All we had was this one board and an orange jump suit..
Well, as you can tell by the group picture above, I was the only female.  We made a stop at the entrance of the volcano where we had to sign in and pay an entrance fee of $5US.
The walk up the volcano was not as bad as it may sound. Even though I had my board/sled I made it up without dehydrating. At the very top there were other groups from different hostels boarding down the slope. They were going pretty slow. Our guide Rich was pretty disgusted at how slow there others were going. He told us that he will show us the proper way to slide down the slope. Before going down we walked around the crater and touched the very warm, black, volcano ash. ( I have some reminding in my shoe!)

Alright, so the time came for us to slide down. Our guide Rich told us the instructions and said that he will run down the slope and ones he is down by the truck it will be time to look for his signal to start coming down one by one. We had two lines, and I was on the right one. We started going down… I ended up on the back of the line.. I was actually supposed to be second to last but for some reason the guide signaled the left side to go. I was left on top of the volcano. I had by this time seen my entire group go. Some had kicked a lot of ash onto their faces and others had flipped. There I sat, waiting.. Waiting.. Waiting on my signal. I waited for a long time not knowing what was going on… later I came to find out that the guide was sending me the signal but I couldn’t see it. So after waiting forever I decide it was time for me to come down. I actually saw Diego and TayTay wave so I thought maybe that was the sign. I said good bye to the volcano from where I sat and I started to go.  As I started sliding down I panicked for a bit because I forgot to put my goggles on! I held on to the handle vertically just like Rich had said to do. I was going to the side a bit so I tapped the opposite side to get back on track… I tapped a few times actually and then I started to speed up. There was a point during this first half (hahahha yes first half) that I was starting to really feel the pace speed up. I tried to keep straight but I was caught up in an unexpected bump I think… or a turn that made me FLIP! I flipped ones, twice, definitely a third time… maybe even more don’t really remember. I let go of the board as I flipped and tried covering my face… I laid there… thinking I was done with boarding down the volcano and tried to catch my breathe… I had to slow my breathing and take in deeper breathes. I looked up a bit upset to not find anyone coming to get me… I was like damn you all! But that was just a split second of a thought. I realized I was only half way down the volcano.. or something like that.. so I got my board and got back on and thought.. “let’s get this over with because they aren’t going to come up here damn them” Ha.. Little did I know that I was going to beat their speed. I started going down again and in my head I comforted myself, I knew I was going to flip again.. this time down there… but It would be okay because I might not flip … or maybe I will but they will be closer and come get me.. Right? So I was going down pretty smoothly…  Then I gained more speed and I got a bit freaked out so I started tapping with both my feet but I wasn’t exactly slowing down.. I think I might have been slowing down the speed of which I was gaining… ( the jerk .. lol) and as I reached the bottom of the volcano I was thinking… “I did it.. and I can do this… I can, not flip!”. But I had a lesson to learn and I flipped… badly … I flipped so many times that I wanted to lay there but I didn’t I sat up. Thankfully the group started coming my way and helped me get up. My face burned… my legs burned.. my left hand had two swollen fingers… but I was one. I was intact. I went 62Km/hr.
I do not know exactly when this was taken but there I am.

My prize: two Toñas  and two mojitos. I missed the record by 5Km/hr… damn it..
I have some battle scars.. my face… my hand… my legs and now… my whole body is sore! But I made it.. I had the fastest speed.