23.09.2011 71 °F
This life i`m living I can hardly believe. I never imagined that traveling to another country alone could stretch my ideas of the world around me this much, and how I feel that I fit within it. When I first was taken to La Flor, shown what my responsibilities were going to be, the communication barriers with the armed guards of the reserve, the responsibility of taking travelers out there alone and being responsible for the information given, and the responsibility of the opportunity to make an impact on the way other people viewed wildlife really blew my mind. I was unsure of my capabilities and worried that my fear of the unknown would hinder how much good I could do in this new situation.
I became so overwhelmed within the first few days of all the newness of my life down here, and the pressure to speak Spanish immediately, I reached a mental place of:: ok. I`m here in Nicaragua, I`m alone, I want and need to learn Spanish, I need to re-accustom to dorm life, l need to work on my skills..and IT IS OK! The fact of the matter is that i`m trying, and I decided that I was just going to let go of all this worry and fear..and just TRY. So at the beginning of this past week it finally came time for me to take my first group of backpackers out to la flor refuge to view the large arrival of Olive Ridleys..or as it is called in spanish, arribadas. As we bumbled down the dark uneven forest road, it was just me and the driver in the cab with all the people in the back of the open truck. I opted for conversation, but I was quickly told with a smile, tiene que hablar sólo en el español. So we started laughing as I attempted to speak about things back home in very broken Spanish, but I could tell that the forced situation was making my brain try harder then it has before in a Spanish conversation. We reached the refuge, it`s pitch black, and as everyone unloaded I ran up to the dimly lit compound where all the army guys were hanging around in hammocks and I went to the office to pay the entrance fee. There are moths flying around and cockroaches crawling on the floor as he makes the receipt as I try to look confident and smile. All set to go I went back down the hill, grabbed my group and with red lights we walked down the forest path and onto the beach.
…..:::My breath was taken away:::….
We all stopped in our tracks at the sheer number of Olive Ridleys that were on the beach..there were so many thousands of turtles there wasn`t a place to step. As lightning flashed it gave us a glimpse for only a second the magnitude of what we were witnessing. I had everyone follow me in a line as we twisted around the maze of nesting turtles who were crawling over each other and rudely interrupting each other in their egg laying process. We crowded around a mother who and just started blindly yet ever so carefully digging her nest with her back flippers..it`s amazing how precise each movement is. I was so amazed at the sheer number of turtles that we were nestled on the beach with and also the amount of information that was coming out of my mouth. All the worry and fear of my capability was gone, and I was just in a full state of LIFE. After watching a few nesting mama turtles we tiptoed our way to the beach and turned off our lights, and stood in silence, hearing only the sound of the waves and thousands of flippers coming onto shore in the dark of night. There was a sky full of stars more complex then any I have ever seen, thanks to the lack of street lights and night life. It couldn`t have been a more perfect moment. I have since this night taken another group of travelers out to La Flor, and again I was just blown away at the sheer numbers of the arribada.
My two days off I traveled to the island of Ometepe.
Talk about heaven on earth. I met a group of Israelies my first week here and they were all headed to the island around the same time I had two days off. So I worked it out and left with them on the 8am Chicken Bus (the local bus..the cost is aprox 50 cents.) We next took la lancha, which is a very small cargo boat, which daily brings supplies to the island. After more time on another chicken bus and a taxi ride we arrived at Morgans Farm, a hostel situated right on the lake shore. The volcano is in view from the top of our treehouse, and nothing but jungle and the lake as far as we could see. The water was at least 80 degrees…I found myself floating in the water, drifting into a dream land as I watched butterflies, parrots and beautiful Magpie Jays fill the sky above me along with the volcano, Conception, making its presence high in the clouds. We rented bikes from a small family that charged 20 cordobas an hour, which is less than 1 dollar..and flew down farm roads with our hands in the air, not able to wipe the smiles off our faces. We reached Ojo de Agua..a freshwater spring that has been turned into a natural pool for people to swim in.. there are little fishies everywhere, the jungle crowded in, I couldn`t believe how crystal clear the water was. M.a.g.i.c.
Dinner on the lake, playing Israeli card games and drinking too many 1 dollar beers, was pure bliss. Life can be simple if you let it be, if you allow yourself to take chances and see how situations play out. I made amazing friends and grew close to a group of people whose culture and language are SO different from my own, but the beauty of sharing that place together..all strangers but now friends..really changed something inside of my heart. I`m learning to trust again, to explore my heart and the world around me, leaving old worries behind me and remembering that THIS IS LIFE. Those petty worries we carry around our neck everyday mean nothing in the grand scheme of life. I feel so blessed to be here, to watch my heart open more and more to others around me, to nature and unforeseen challenges in a country so foreign from my own.
I love Nicaragua.