Grandma joins us in Granada

By Diane

Since we last posted, much has happened.

First, a news flash:  Brett and Nathan were featured in the most recent issue of Pacific Lutheran University’s PLU News. We are very proud of them.  http://www.plu.edu/news/2014/04/centralamerica/home.php

My mother, Edna, joined us in Granada, Nicaragua in early April.  I went back to Portland for the latter part of March to arrange her affairs, move her out of her assisted living, and fly back with her to the capital city of Managua.  Here in Granada our beautiful rental house has plenty of space to move around, we are taking turns preparing delicious nutritious meals, and we have hired two wonderful caretakers to help us with Edna. Dina is from Corn Island in the Carribbean (part of Nicaragua).  She is very stylish, speaks both English and Spanish fluently, AND she makes us whole wheat bread every week.

Caregiver Dina with Edna

Caregiver Dina with Edna

Esmeralda is from Granada and she just graduated from law school; she also works part-time for our friend Carol while waiting for a professional job (unemployment is very high). She is very good for our Spanish, because she patiently listens while we formulate sentences and she corrects our mistakes ever so gently.  She is too shy to speak English with us but I hear her speaking it with Edna; somehow they are communicating.  We are blessed to have them both!

 

Esmeralda

Caregiver Esmeralda

To give you a look at Granada from grandma’s perspective, read below an email she sent to some friends and family (Brett as ghostwriter):

 

Granada has its own personality. It is an old colonial town, colonized by the Spanish in the 1500s. There are impressive government buildings surrounding a central park as well as the big yellow Cathedral often featured as the cover of Central America guide books. It’s sometimes fun to be a tourist and walk 3 blocks from our house to the central park, which in the evening features lights, music, locals selling goods and enjoying themselves and tourists – all adding up to a colorful scene. We should stop here and describe the way in which we make our way around town. Diane and I picked out a transporter chair to take to my new home, and it is proving satisfactory except for one thing – it doesn’t fare well on the bumpy sidewalks and streets. So my rides are textured. We would not be enjoying our evening out without Nathan and Gerard’s efforts to push me around. Nathan leads the parade to clear a way obstructions such as restaurant tables and chairs. He’s followed by Gerard pushing me in the wheel chair. They each grab a hold and hoist me over pot holes and up and down sidewalk edges – I hold my breath and close my eyes, but deep down, I love it!

 

Last night was the second time we’ve gone out in the evening for drinks and nachos, enjoying the tourist scene. The Calzada street feeds out of the city park for several blocks, stretching towards the lake. Both sides of the street are lined with restaurants spilling out onto the sidewalk. Waiters flip their menus, attempting to entice you in and before sunset it is already a bustling scene. Last night I tried a fresh-squeezed limonada while the others got their usual happy hour mojito/ margaritas. Our drinks came with complimentary yucca and plantain chips. Yucca is also known as cassava, manioc, or tapioca root; plantains are relatives of the banana, only bigger and starchier. 

 

We then worked our way down the street. There are other fun things to see like art stores, an occasional hotel, and a chocolate museum. There is also a delicious gelato shop –  I got the Nutella flavor and it was decadent!

 

The Calzada, the main tourist street with restaurants and bars in view of Cathedral

The “Calzada”, the main tourist street with restaurants and bars in view of the big Cathedral

A typical colonial courtyard, we like this one for drinks

A typical colonial courtyard; we like this one for drinks

Tour of Las Isletas, one of the small islands with Volcano Mombacho in background

We took a boat tour of Las Isletas, right in the enormous lake near us. Here is one of the inhabited islands with Volcano Mombacho in the background

There are island for sale.  You can build a home like these people did!

There are islands for sale here. You could build a home like these people did.  It is very enchanting, especially at sunset with colorful birds feeding along the water’s edge.

One of the monkeys, Lucy, from Monkey Island climbed onto our boat

One of the monkeys, Lucy, from Monkey Island climbed onto our boat and onto Nathan

Granada 017

Sunset from our mirador (third story lookout)

As you might as guessed, we like it here in Nicaragua.  We think this may just be the place we were looking for.  Why?  Because Granada is an attractive and culturally rich city with an interesting landscape.  The “Nicas” are friendly, peaceful people living in vibrant communities and they have a tradition of sustainable farming.   The government is stable and interested in renewable energy.

We continue our search for a property to launch our sustainability living/learning center.  Stay tuned.

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