Welcome to Nicaragua!!!
My colleague Loli and I arrived to Managua on the 22nd of July after a long journey of more or less 20 hours. We left from Bolonia, had stop over in Madrid and Miami before arriving to Managua Airport. In Madrid another passenger picked up by mistake my hand-luggage and brought it to Venezuela, I had to wait ten days to have it, but finally I was lucky and apart from that the journey was ok.
Simona and Emanuele, two members of GVC (Gruppo Volontariato Civile, our host organisation) picked us up at the airport and after leaving our luggage in an hotel we had dinner with them, so we had the opportunity to taste for the first time traditional Nicaraguan food like gallo pinto (rice and beans) and tostones (fried plantain slices). Our first impression was the high temperature even if we already expected it!!!
The first day at the office was relaxing, we were introduced to the rest of the staff, Javier the driver, Blanca and Grace administrators with which I’ll spend most of the time since one of my task here will be to support the Administration Office in the accounting of the projects in relation to expenditure plan and accounting management.
During the first week our colleagues explained us how GVC works in Nicaragua and in the rest of the countries in the Region and give us more information to read about projects and procurements. I will be especially involved in a project called “Community Based Disaster Preparedness and Institutional Strengthening to Increase Resilience in the Homogenous Cross Border Region of La Moskitia Honduras and Nicaragua” funded by ECHO (European Commission’s Humanitarian aid and Civil Protection department), I’ll have the opportunity to speak more about it in next posts!!
I share my flat with people original from Germany, Switzerland and Nicaragua. The house is close to the office but the first days Javier came to pick me up at my house otherwise I would have get lost!!! That’s because Nicaragua has a unique address system. In this system, there are very few street names used! Nicaraguans, however, are in general proud on having their own system and have no problems using it as Javier told me. Here it’s used to have reference points of orientation from where to start describing a certain address. There are many known buildings, companies, churches and hotels used as reference points to get a general idea where something is located. This could be easy when you get used to it but unfortunately there are some more complicating factors, for example east and west are not always used and the words arriba and abajo function as substitutes. Arriba, which means up or above signifies the direction from which the sun comes up: east. Abajo, on the contrary, means down or below and it’s used instead of west. The words este (east) and oeste (west) are other substitutes that are sometimes used. In addition to these words, another interesting word is used in certain places: al lago, that means to the lake, and it’s used in cities like Managua and Granada which border a lake. Even though it can be helpful to know that you have to go towards the lake, it can be hard to figure out in what direction the lake is situated when you are standing in an unknown street somewhere in the middle of Managua!
Anyway now I’m ready and I’ll try to don´t get lost in this amazing city!!!
By David Wiersma