Thursday, 9 August 2007

Mission accomplished?

Here I am sat at home in London having successfully completed my mission six weeks ahead of schedule.

Well not exactly. After the kids successfully performed the play Mother Earth to a crowd of baying school children in Jinotega’s Central Parque I decided it was time to move on.

As previously mentioned, although the whole experience was fascinating, I felt that the operation ran smoothly enough without me. I was more of a distraction than a helping hand. Besides, as hard as I tried I really could not decipher the accent.

One chap who took part in the workshop loved farming and whenever he got the chance he would tell me about the wonderful life. Unfortunately not only could I not understand 50% of what he was saying, but, many of his words were replaced with bizare hand gestures - I had no idea what they meant. He spoke, clicked his fingers and clapped his tounge like it was the most natural thing in the world.

"What would a typical Monday consist of?" I would ask.

"Ahh, well usually some of this [shaking of the wrist] and a bit of this [two fingers would stroke the index finger on the other hand]". That is what I was up against.

And so, faced with the choice of trying to set up more volunteering (takes a while to setup and usually involves payments), arranging more Spanish classes (not more hours in the classroom), or heading up to Honduras and Guatemala (couldn’t face lugging around that backpack), I decided it was time to head back to my incredibly patience girlfriend, my new niece and the rest of my family. And of course the job pages.

The return
I do intend to go back to Nicaragua one day. I’ve met many people who I would love to work with in some way in the future. One promising project is a newly formed cooperative formed by ex combatants from the Contra war in the 1980s. Because they’re ex combatants many people - including government departments - want nothing to do with them. In the charity world we call them 'marganalised people'. A couple of their representatives approached me and asked if I could highlight their plight and seek some form of funding so they can plants crops and make a living for themselves. I said I would try my best. Watch this space.

And finally, what you all want to know; after four months do I speak Spanish? Unfortunately not. I can however, understand most of what people are saying to me, if they speak clearly, I can ask for most things, handle myself in awkward situations and can pretty much make sense of whole newspaper articles. What I struggle to do is keep up with the fast pace of a conversation which, unless you're a recluse, is what daily life tends to consists of.

Practice makes perfect
The next thing to do is enrol in a Spanish class where it’s a case of purely practising conversation and learning new vocab with people of a similar level. Once I have a job and have got back into a routine that is the first thing I’ll be doing. I promise.

In the meantime I shall be signing off for a while. I hope you enjoyed the blog. Do check back occasionally and I'll try and keep you posted on all things Spanish and Nicaraguan.

Muchas gracias,



tmdm36 said...

Hello Phil,

I think I may be in the same situation you were in several months ago, planning on going to nicaragua. I want to go there to learn spanish, and study the MCAT. I am really having a hard time deciding where to start and was hoping you may have some advise. I was thinking of going to Leon, but am not sure. If you could email me at I would really appreciate it. Thanks for your time, have a good day.


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James- SEO Expert said...

Hey Dude...

Good blog you are having...The blog can inspire the students or someone to learn Spanish. And nice to know that you have completed your mission. :)

6 months is a sufficient time to learn Spanish.

James from spanish school sevilla

Manoj Sharma said...

Thanks for sharing your experience, I know a great Spanish website to learn: spanish course spain

rone said...

Its very interesting and happy for you for the completeion of your Mission within a time.. Thanks for sharing your experience here with us.. It will definetly inspire the students and others too...


Rone from english school boston

jeff B said...

This was a very interesting blog to read. Sorry to see that you didn't complete your mission. I bet if you did it in a different place, things might turn out differently. But all in all, the whole point is bringing all the right information to your brain whilst comprehending it. This can be done right at home with audio and software for the most part.