(This entry comes from a student’s journal — Greta — written during her third week in Jinotepe, Carazo, Nicaragua, and posted verbatim with her permission, reformatted for blog presentation.)Lately, my host family has been sending me on little errands. I know it is mostly done in an effort to get me out into the community, fending for myself without the security of their guidance, and I find that it’s a tiny bit scary, but not too scary. I know it’s good for me.
Anyway, twice my five-year-old niece, Feranni, has come up to me saying, “Vamos, Greta.” [me] “What’s going on? Where are we going?” Both times, my host mom or sister explained: “I need you to go to the pulpería and buy something for our supper.” On this occasion my sister handed me a couple Córdobas, a short shopping list, and her daughter’s hand. [me] “I don’t know where to go!” “Feranni will show you the way.” All right, then. I put all my trust in a five-year-old’s distractable sense of direction and followed.
The other time I was sent on an errand, I had just got back from somewhere (either the cyber or class), and as I entered the house, I had that strange feeling that you get when people are talking about you in a language you only sort-of understand. Sure enough, only moments later, as I was closing my door, Feranni came galloping in, “Vamos, Greta!” Well OK, then. My mom handed me money, this time telling me, “I need you to bring back five tortillas; remember the place?” Yes, I remembered the place, but not how to get there. My sister gave me directions; my mom gave me directions. My mom also gave Feranni the directions. Do I let her guide the way again? No, I got this! And off we went, Feranni and I.
So, to sum it all up, I’ve been getting better acquainted with dear old Dolores. Going shopping in Nicaragua isn’t so hard – not much speaking is required. And when you have a five-year-old local pulling you by the hand, you’re bound to be OK.
p.s. Both errands resulted in delicious means.