So I'm finally in Granada. It is almost too hot and humid to function.
I arrived late last night to Managua, my face plastered to the airplane window as we made our descent. I was trying to imagine all those maps I've pored over of mi tierra casi-natal, but there was no landscape below that I could shape with my imagination. It was around 8 at night, and everything below me was as a black as could be, with a few clusters of lights. All I could think about was how much I wanted to remember that moment, one that I've been anticipating for most of my life, and impress it into my memory forever, one that I could recall at will in the future.
Amid a throng of eager teenage missionaries, I found my staff waiting for me in the airport. We squeezed into government-provided pickup truck for a sweaty, sticky 40-minute ride to Granada.
Our staff house is beautiful. The architecture is Spanish colonial, as are most of the buildings in Granada. What I've seen so far reminds me of a smaller version of Oaxaca City. Our house is huge with beautiful burnt yellow (the only way I can think of to describe the color) walls but with no furniture minus the few plastic chairs, tables, fans, and gas burners that our senior staff bought before the project supervisors arrived. The ceilings stretch to what must be 1.5 almost 2 stories (or is it storeys?) and there is a huge open patio with an overgrown avocado tree stretching to the sky in the middle of our house. Because it's so open, we have bats flying around and geckos climbing the walls. This really only affects our two manly men on staff who get the room without a door and walls that only go halfway to the ceiling. I'm sharing a room with the three other female project supervisors. We've got nothing in our room except two thin foam mattresses, so all my stuff is unpacked on the floor onto my wonderfully multi-purpose capulana.
Today we've just been going over project guidelines, etc. The slogan that we came up with for our staff is "La Lucha Feliz," and it's surrounded by a V of our handprints. Apparently there is a logic to the geese flying in Vs. The ones behind float on the backdraft of the ones in front so they don't have to over-flap their wings. When the ones at the front gets tired, they switch places. It seemed liked the perfect analogy for our staff. Right now I'm the goose floating in last position, two of my staff members are running errands for me so I don't have to walk on my foot.
Oh yes, I broke two tiny bones under my big toe last week and am wearing a walking cast. I was kind of freaked out at first, but I'm getting more confident. Yes, I do draw a lot of stares, but it's also obviously going to start every conversation I have for the rest of the summer. I'm going to have to come up with a better story than just wearing the wrong shoes. Anyway, everyone's being very supportive. I've gotten assigned to only 3 towns instead of 4, and they are the ones closest to Granada.
It'll work out. Tomorrow I'm going to be in community, locating host families and contacts for my volunteers. I'm terrified.