Saturday, January 4, 2014

Clinic Construction

The new Gigante Community Health Clinic is well located on the main road just as you enter the village.
Families live behind and on one side of the clinic. In the photo above, the building with the corrugated iron roof is a home. This view shows the clinic from the east.
The floors and window frames are hardwood. The floor is stone. The clinic will be cooler courtesy of the high ceilings and windows that create a breeze-way.
The entrance allows access to three offices.
The photo above shows the septic system. Trenches for the field were dug in front of the building. The platform for the water tank is visible at the top of the photo. To the right is a local home.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Learning Spanish

You would think that on my fifth visit to Nicaragua that my Spanish would be pretty good. Sadly, no.

I studied the Rosetta Stone Latin America version faithfully for two hours a day for six weeks before my second visit, and that offered at least some vocabulary and pronunciation tips. I worked hard on the online course but when I arrived in Nicaragua for visit two, there was no obvious improvement in my comprehension at all. I was very disappointed.

For each visit I hired a local translator to insure I could communicate well with the mothers and this was good and bad. Good since this insured that the medical communication was satisfactory, but bad, because I didn't need to learn or practice any Spanish. So for visits two, three, and four, I coasted.

This time, we enrolled in a Spanish school in Gigante. Eveline and Anna are our teachers. After two, 2-hour sessions, I feel the potential of progress. I requested and completed homework. I've studied at least an hour or two after each class. We will have time for five classes this week before our return home. Perhaps, if I can figure out a study routine back in Calgary, by visit six, I might actually be able to talk with the mothers?
Eveline and Anna, our Spanish Professors

Eveline and Anna do not live in Gigante. Anna lives about half an hour away in the Limon area and Eveline lives about 60 minutes away in Tola. We are the only students this week. So, each day, both ladies need to travel from home to the Gigante school. Anna has a motorcycle; Eveline rides a bus and then catches a ride with Anna. For Eveline, she will travel an hour to reach the school for the two hour class and then she will return home for a total of four hours for each class. The fees are very modest. The school charges only $9 per hour. I presume the director of the school takes a portion of their earnings. Presume he takes 25%. This means Eveline works for about $3 per hour!! I am embarrassed by this and yesterday I gave each teacher a cash gift. Feliz Anos Nuevo!