It’s hard to imagine life outside the United Statets, and before leaving for Nicaragua, I had a hard time contemplating what life would be like working in a small, suberban town. I have been placed with a homestay family, and I share a small bedroom with Doña Ivania, my homestay mother, and her daughter Leonela. In the living room is another bed where two of Doña Ivana’s sons sleep, and in the other bedroom sleeps her oldest son.
Water is only available from 8 p.m.- 10 p.m. so my family fills large vats with water to use the next day. The toilet is also un-flushable, so one needs to pour a small bucket of water rather swiftly into the front of the toilet, and down go the contents. We forget how lucky we are to have running water at all hours, and it rarely crosses our minds how much water we waste by showering with running water. I usually take bucket showers, because it is too cold to shower past eight at night.
I have grown very accustomed to all these differences, and feel it will be hard to readjust to the ways of the United States. Food is another topic I find very different here. Many Nicaraguans eat rice and beans for breakfast, or a mix of the two called Gallopinto. It is great the first few times, but after a few weeks one becomes very tired of this delicacy (but I should try not eating for a few days, as many people here do not, and then see how great Gallopinto seems). Chicken and white rice are the signature lunch and dinner items, and a mango from the tree in the back yard serves for dessert.
Peanut butter, jam, butter, etc are all too expensive for the normal Nicaraguan family to afford. The only reason I eat toast and peanut butter for breakfast is because I buy it myself to share with my family. Refrigerators are also hard to come by. My family has one that currently doesn’t work, so they buy the food they need daily, including milk. Fruit is also very expensive, although Nicaragua produces a lot of such things.
Snacking doesn’t really exist here, so one is always good and hungry for the next meal. For this reason, I find rice and beans very tasty!