The dreaded time was upon us, after six weeks in Nicaragua it was time to wander off in to the great unknown… the authentic Nicaraguan household. Gone was our (sometimes hot) running shower, our oven and flushing toilet and into our life came the experiences of constant Spanish speaking, latrines and bucket showers. Casa Verde had become rather homely in our time here; we each had a routine which more often than not fitted seamlessly with the rest of the household. So it was met with a touch of trepidation that homestays were, in fact, happening. Most people would be alone (this was scariest for the non-fluent Spanish speakers) and the time had been extended from two days to five nights. I had the horrible thought of long days, waking up at 4am, shivering through an outdoor bucket shower and then stumbling into bed at 6pm after a dinner of gallo pinto. However, our collective dread couldn’t have been more misplaced.
Life was very different from what we were used to, our home comforts were gone, there were no laptops to entertain us or speakers to play music. The day also started earlier because there was a lot to be done, whether it was cleaning the house or trekking to work, but different isn’t always a bad thing.
I can’t speak for everyone else, I was on my own living with Doña Dilcia and her family, but there was a closeness and a family vibe which was very comforting. Before long it didn’t feel like I was an outsider struggling with the language and intruding upon their home, I was just me, the slightly paler –although tallest- member of the family.
From waking up and eating breakfast, to playing with my seven year-old “little brother” life continued on as usual, with none of the above stated fears or difficulties. A lot has happened in the seven weeks we have been here, and I’m happy to say that the part of the trip I dreaded deep down to my bones is the bit which I enjoyed the most.
By Natalie Deans