To vote or not to vote

It’s dark outside and I’m sitting in the kitchen with my nica-family, gathering the last rice and beans in my plate for a last spoonful. The cicadas have begun their nightly singing and the conversation turns to politics. They tell me a little about how it works here, I tell them a little about how it works at home, they ask questions about our political system, I ask about theirs, and in unison we laugh about all the stupidities of politicians. My nica-mom asks me a question. Abortion in Denmark? Well, let me tell you! And then I’m on: first I tell her that it is legal to get an abortion in Denmark, that it’s free. That women don’t need any special authorization to get one. Before I know of it I am talking about women’s rights, criticizing Daniel Ortega and his government, almost calling them jerks, for making the law that makes abortions completely prohibited. I raise my voice, feeling the politician inside of me. My cheeks are getting red! I make a small pause in my political speech to make my point, and take a look at my audience. Silence. Three pairs of eyes are looking at me, questioning. They are not following, I’m guessing.(The train must have derailed somewhere around the way. “Well, you know, pregnant. When the mom has a baby in her stomach?… Aren’t we speaking about abortions?” I ask. More silence. “We aren’t speaking about the same thing at all. Right?” And then they start laughing. It turned out that my mom asked me a question about “votar”, to vote, and I was convinced that she had asked a question about “abortar”, to get an abortion. Apparently I was the one not following. We laugh and laugh, and that was the end of our conversation about politics.


My nicaraguan family

I now have the pleasure of being abble to add yet another family to my already quite impressive list of families (containing so far three families: my Danish familien Rasmussen, my French famille Desportes, my American LaMark-Merrill family): my nicaraguan familia Blandón-Blandón.

My little nicaraguan family!

In the bus on our way to Pradera, last stop before El Tigre, Anne turned to me and said: MYR, I have placed you in a small family of only three members. The parrents are quite young and only have one daughter. I hope you won’t mind that I placed you in a family with few kids, with your level in Spanish you should be able to have pretty good conversations with the parrents instead.
Oh well, I thought, why not. And so, here I am, with the smallest family in El Tigre: Harbín, 25, Vilma, 22, and Jurelys, 2.(And Maximiliano, also known as “Chumbo”, 40+)

At first I was a little disapointed not to have more brothers and sisters. I looove kids, love to fool around with them, go on adventure, and it really is a whole lot easier to communicate with kids when you have a poor level of El Tigre-Spanish vocabulary (I had the feeling I was doing quite good in Matagalpa, being placed in an advanced class in Spanish school, but oh no! In El Tigre they speek a whole lot faster, a whole lot more mumblingly, with a whole lot different accent, and on top of that they have another vocabulary and they don’t pronounce the s’s!!!). So yeah, the beginning was quite tough… But now I must say that I really am quite fund of my family! My father Harbín (it really is quite odd to think of them as parrents when they have the same age as me..!) always asks a lot of questions about my family, about Denmark, about the world, about the stars, about my language, my religion and my culture – he is so curious about that world outside of El Tigre that he doesn’t now. And best of all he is easy to understand when he speaks.


My mother, the ever tortilla-clapping Vilma, is little a little  harder to understand. She speaks less, asks hardly any other question than “do you have any dirty laundry?” or “do you like your food this way?” and is a whole lot shier tha her husband. But I must say that she is the best looking nica-mom in the village, with muscly legs, a well-shaped butt, strong arms and back and very firm-looking breasts (her belly, though, does point out quite a lot, and as far as I know it is not due to a pregnancy… But I guess she’s just following the Nicaraguan female big belly-tendency). She does the whole housekeeping by herself – cooking, cleaning, feeding pig and hens, … – she’s a tough one. I have, though, so far had smaller conversations with her about Danish and Nicaraguan cooking and a conversation about contraceptives in Denmark, so there’s still hope!
My little sister Jurelys really is a-do-ra-ble!! The cutest little girl with big bouncy cheeks and sparkling eyes. She is very talkative, and one day I exclaimed in utter amazement: what is she saying?? Oh, we don’t understand that language either, said her mom smiling. Jurely’ and I have our very special game: I raise a hand – she raises her hand. She sits down – I sit down. I blink – she blinks… She will end the game by going over to her favorite “palo” (tree), placing her little hands around the trunk with a radiant smile, and sha-a-a-ake the tree! Every evening at her bed time, she will sit in her mothers lap, quietly falling asleep. The first days I was her she really kept her eyes on my every move, observing this odd, white creature invading her home,not

Jurelys med sit LEGO ved sin "palo"

Jurelys at her "palo"

trusting me AT ALL. I promised myself that I would make friends with her, and I surely have! The other day she sat in MY lap falling asleep, while I quietly sang “Jens Vejmand” and “Hulde engel” as my father used to do to me when I was little. I even got to give her a bath the other day. Aaaaw!! 🙂 She can’t say my name yet, so I’ll work for that the last three weeks, to be sure she won’t forget who Yvonne is.
An other man lives with the family in the small house. He’s name is Maximiliano, and he is the very darkest of all the inhabitants of El Tigre. We asked him why he was staying with the small family, and he told us that he was a guest from Cuba, at first helping the cooperative to get started and liking the place he decided to settle down. We thought it was a little odd that a man all the way from Cuba would end up in such a small place as El Tigre, but oh well, everything is possible. Well, we found out the other day that it is one big joke made up by the entire village in unison! Great… He is the uncle of my father, and having no family of he’s own he’s moved into the little house to keep the family company. It’s probably his room I’m staying in, actually… He works as the vice-president of the cooperative in the village

"Chumbo" with our yuca-catch

and is also active in FSLN, the big nicaraguan sandinist party. He knows a little more to the world than the average El Tigre inhabitant, and we’ve had some quite interesting conversations on culture and politics. Christian and I have been yuca-hunting with him, and “Chumbo” has been very nice to take us in the nearby mountains to see the bean-fields and taste sugar cane, collect corn… What a nature!

So yes, as you can hear I have invaded a quite nice home after all. Christian lives next door and has allowed me to borrow his nica-brothers if I should get all too bored, and the other evening my parrents tought me a game and we had a lot of fun so really, I have all the possibilities to play around, so everything is good 🙂

Jurelys, and Christians two brothers and his sister and cousin Haron

Livets små problemer… (Danish)

Sjovt, hvordan man kan lande på et sted hvor de knap ved at jorden er rund, hvor deres lille verden ikke strækker sig meget længere end til landets grænser og i daglig bevidsthed holder sig inden for landsbyens markskel. Der er ikke strøm – i hvert fald ikke i det hus jeg bor i – og hvis der endelig er strøm i et hus, begrænser brugen sig til en skarp uafskærmet pære i det største af de tre rum i huset, foruden at holde liv i husets antikke model af et fjernsyn, som hver aften med uvejr på skærmen viser spanske soap-operaer eller engelske film med skrattende spansk voice-over, i helt ligeværdig konkurrence med de ”danske” toffifee-reklamer. Mobilsignal er der ikke meget af, og landsbyens indfødte må få sig et godt grin hver eftermiddag når en frustreret ”chelo” eller ”chela” (hvid dreng eller pige) sætter jagten ind mellem appelsintræerne, mobilen højt hævet og klar til kamp. Alle her i landsbyen er heldigvis yderst imødekommende. De kære kakerlakker udnytter til fulde en hver mulighed for at holde mig med selskab og deres raslende ben luller mig i søvn, smukt akkompagneret af fårekyllingernes og cikadernes sang (den lyd kan jeg faktisk godt lide), og klokken 3 hver morgen og igen kl. 6, har jeg den udsøgte glæde at blive vækket af et fortrinligt kor af haner, hver med sin klare stemme og på helt særlige morgener i melodiøst selskab med husets og nabohusenes energiske hunde. Heldigvis er min nica-mor klar med en brændende varm kop nica-kaffe (en tynd kaffe tilsat minimum spsk. fulde sukker for at tage smagen af de kaffebønner som ikke bestod teste om at blive eksporteret til det kræsne udland) en halv time senere, som jeg så skyller ned med en opvarmet variation af resterne af de kogte ris jeg fik til aftensmad i går – med lidt (alt er relativt!) ekstra salt og olie. Sjovt, at dét der så irriterer mig mest på det her sted er, at det aldrig lykkes mig at stikke et par helt rene fødder i soveposen om aftenen. Og så lige dét at appelsinerne på træerne omkrig huset sidder så pokkers højt. Nøøj, jeg kunne leve af de appelsiner! – hvis jeg ellers kunne nå dem, selvfølgelig…

El Tigre – long way from home

Nicaragua, where we have been for 1 month and 2 days today, is more or less across the earth from Denmark, and el pueblo El Tigre, where we have been for now three weeks = half the time, is even further away!


Placement:     El Tigre, Pantasma, Jinotega, Nicaragua

Stomach-status:     unstable…

Homesickness:     none (except for certain aspects of food…)


It’s hard, if not impossible, to imagine what a adventure this is – so different from home, so much less and yet so much more. (It may sound cheesy, but really!).

I don’t know how to write one looog text that describes it all in details, (and especially how to ride it in a way so you won’t give up half way through), so instead I’ll be writing smaller post, excerpts you might say, of thoughts and adventures in this place far far from home.

And, for all the danes (and others who understand English): go ahead and take a look at the shared blog of the “brigardister”, where you’ll find impressions (and ekspressions) from the whole group.