These two students are doing their service assignments in this Caribbean coast community that the group had visited back in mid-May. Bobby is working at the health center, and Yuriy works at the local school and also assists a local hotel with business work.
When we arrived in Pearl Lagoon we went to meet the families of the two guys, who live less than one-half block apart. At Bobby’s home we met his host mom and little brother. Unfortunately, because of school vacations going on right now, his host father, who works in the town’s Ministry of Education office, and 2 siblings were out of town. We did get to meet his host mom and little brother. His mother is a teacher at the the secondary school. Compared to the homes in Carazo and western Nicaragua, most homes here, influenced by British culture, have yards surrounding them.
Yuriy’s host mom Mabel is the director of the night school program, and we met her and Yuriy’s two sisters, Janelle and Melida. Mabel told us that yesterday Yuriy made crab soup; Yuriy had caught the crabs with traps in the lagoon at the edge of town, and then he added limes, milk, pepper, a local variety of squash, carrots and spaghetti to make the soup. Yuriy’s sisters said it was delicious, and their next plan was to teach Yuriy how to make coconut bread.
The next morning Bobby took us to the health center where he works. From 8-9:00 each morning he makes the rounds with the doctors as they check on the patients who spent the night there. From 9:00 until noon he has been doing rotations in different areas, such as the emergency room, consultations, etc. Although Creole and English are the most common languages in Pearl Lagoon, the doctors have also been helping Bobby learn the Spanish words for different medical terms and body organs.
Later that day Yuriy got his lesson in coconut bread-making. His host mom is very good with a machete and quickly got the shells hacked off two coconuts, which Yuriy then shredded and washed with water that was added to the coconut milk. All the coconut liquid was then mixed with the flour and other ingredients before being mixed and kneaded by Yuriy and Bobby. Doug and Maria got to take one of the delicious loaves back to Jinotepe. They told Yuriy is next assignment was to make coconut bread for his real mom back in the U.S.
Because Nicaraguan schools were in their mid-year vacation, we did not get to see Yuriy working at the local public school, where he helps in a first-grade class. When the teacher was sick for a week and replaced with a substitute, he observed that in Pearl Lagoon, just like in the U.S., students give the substitute teacher a very, very difficult time.
Because Yuriy is a business major and wanted to learn how a small business operates in a different culture, he was also given an assignment working at a hotel-restaurant in town during the afternoons. Lately he has been assisting with inventory, and soon he will help with redesigning the menu.
Toward the end of the day Bobby took us to the town’s Moravian church, representing the predominant religion on Nicaraguan’s Caribbean coast, that Bobby and Yuriy have been attending. The architecture of the church is definitely much more similar to churches in England or the U.S., in contrast to the churches seen in western Nicaragua. Bobby said that it has been very interesting to hear how the hymns use a lot of Old English.