When I realized I was going to celebrate 3 birthdays in Nicaragua, I wanted to make it a goal to hike 3 volcanoes. The first year, in training, my whole group went to Masaya and hiked around Volcán Masaya, enjoying the views and all the sulfur-y goodness. Last year, I decided to run up and down Volcán Concepción on the island of Ometepe...for "fun" (the race itself was so hard, but the other festivities were totally worth it). This year, I wanted to try and attempt Coisgüina which was in the Chinandega department, close to where we were staying.
Unfortunately, we found out it was going to be close to $40 dollars a person. That's how much I pay a month for rent! Long story short, we opted for beach over volcano and traded the latter in for a tour of the Flor de Caña rum factory for $6 dollars instead. It was a good decision.
I'm going to miss the Pacific sunsets...
At the Flor de Caña factory
World's Largest Barrell
With Volcán San Cristobal (the one that blew up in 2012) in the background
With 25-year rum! Too bad it's over $130. wah wah
After our Chinandega adventure, we all headed to Managua to start our COS process, with interviews, medical appointments and the like (had my first cavity, EVER, that was fun to fill...). We also had a meeting to wrap-up the mobile population survey project and though it's now in the stages of being analyzed, we were able to execute over 630 surveys over 4 departments! I'm eager to see what the results read as well as see how this project evolves in future years.
My time in Managua also brought my last HIVaids Task Force meeting. We discussed future projects, including a camp for Orphans and Vulnerable Children, a training for teachers on how to educate about HIV in the schools, another HIV conference similar to the one we did in October and future developments on the mobile population survey. We also did something completely new. The night after our meeting, we baked some goodies to deliver to people living with HIV at a hospital in Managua for Día de Amor y Amistad (Day of Love and Friendship, celebrated on the 14th). It was quite interesting hearing their stories and they all were super grateful for the treats and basic goods we brought (i.e. toilet paper, toothbrushes, soap). I happily passed the torch of "chair" to another PCV from my group who is extending her service for another year and I'm sure that she, and the rest of HIVaids Task Force will continue to do great things!
Shopping for supplies
Choco rice krispies!
The group with our goodie bags
Well...that's it! My pup goes home next week all by herself. Delta is being very accomodating and reassuring me that she'll get home just fine; mom and dad are at the ready to see their grandpuppy!
I won't be too far behind her 3.5 weeks later. WEEKS. I just have to get thru a final staff presentation, my group's going away party, my Jalapeño going away party, and then me voy.