The drought is over!

Leon Nicaragua

June 7, 1997


The drought is over. It started raining hard two days ago, pouring down as I imagine is only possible in the tropics. I didn't take my shower that night. The toilet has a roof, but not the bano. I couldn't help thinking how ridiculous it was to worry about the rain when I was going to stand under a sprinkler anyway.

It poured all night and in the morning we didn't leave the house to go to work until 10 o'clock, the street here was so awash. When we got to the Co-op, there was water everywhere.

When the U.N. built the building, they put fluorescent light fixtures all over the ceiling. It must have been wonderfully light back then. Now, the fixtures don't work. But they were attached to the roof (roof & ceiling one and the same) by small bolts that go through the roof. Now there are little quarter inch round holes all over the roof. In ordinary rain they are no problem, but in this deluge, water was dripping everywhere, even onto some of the looms they are weaving on. The women were scurrying around picking up or covering up things, sweeping out the water. Cecilio was trying to glue little patches of something to the underside of the holes over the looms. It seemed to be working too. He was working from a rickety wooden ladder he made into a three legged ladder simply by propping a stick against it. I thought I'd have a fit, but he just laughed. Later he fixed the faucet in the kitchen. It had sprung a leak and was spraying water.

With all that morning rushing around they still managed to get in some weaving. Several pieces are now off the loom and I'm anxious to get some of them to the states. They are lovely. I'm so pleased.

It was a cool day, with all that rain. Cold to them. Pretty soon someone was taking up a collection. If you wanted a cup of coffee you had to pay one cordoba. I thought they were crazy-how can you get coffee for 14 cents a cup? Turned out it was little packets of instant coffee they were buying, and everyone, including me, enjoyed the warmth of it. Sold by the packet.

During the coffee break we somehow got talking about hair. I was kidding and I offered to cut Rosa Maria's bangs. I told them I had cut my husband's and my sons' hair, I'd had clippers and everything. I was only talking (Yes, it was true). Pretty soon Rosa Maria was sitting in a chair handing me a pair of scissors. So I gave her a haircut. More than just the bangs, too, with those heavy scissors and a pocket comb. When she was through, Cecilio put a cloth over his shoulders and sat in the chair. He must have thought I looked as if I knew what I was doing with Rosa Maria. He's a vain young man, and he hadn't had a haircut since leaving Wenatchee two and a half months ago. Haircuts cost money. So I gave him a haircut. I did tell him if I botched it I'd pay for a barber. But I didn't botch it, thank goodness. I just made shorter all around everything that was there, and it looks good. Next time I come down I'm bringing my barber shears.

The rain let up a little bit in the afternoon but Ana Maria had a suitcase full of weaving she was going to take to Managua, so we took a taxi. She'd have had to walk several blocks if we'd come by bus. The driver told us ten cordobas when we got in, but when we got home he insisted on twenty. This taxi didn't have any cracks in the windshield, but I liked the other guy better. He only charged five cordobas. So today Ana Maria is in Managua in pouring down rain trying to sell their weavings. Terrible weather. I wonder how she's getting around.

Chapter 2 in the lizard saga: No, Cecilio didn't catch the big lizard. But when the bus went by the mercado-the big market place-there was a woman there holding by the tail a dead green iguana for sale. The body would have been equivalent to the size, I think, of a six to eight pound roasting hen. It's a real delicacy, they say. I think I'm getting interested. Keep tuned for the next installment....

Oh yes. They put a plastic cover over the shower so now I get to take my cold showers again, rain or not. I wrote last year how few toilet seats they have here. Ana Maria with her new toilet, has a toilet seat. I noticed it today, propped against the fence in the back yard.

This year I've been seeing kids playing baseball everywhere, teams of all sizes from four kids on up. Except for when young men play, non of them have real bats. They play with assorted kinds of sticks-tree limbs-and they take care of them as if they were real bats. I watched some boys playing in the field by the Cooperativa. The ball they were using was green and I wondered about it until it came past them and I retrieved it and tossed it back. It was covered-wrapped-with green tape. When I was at Mirian's the kids played with a ball covered with a knit cloth, sewn on tightly. I assumed these were baseballs that had lost their covers and were being salvaged. Then last week I watched Cecilio make two baseballs. He used rocks about as big around as a fifty-cent piece for the centers, then wrapped them tightly with a long rag, wrapped around and around, making it as spherical as he could. He then wrapped it criss-crossed round and round with string. After that he used black electrician's tape to cover the whole sphere. When he finished he bounced them on the floor and caught them a few times. I was so amazed. I had to try bouncing them myself. They work! Them as has do, them as hasn't make do.



Back to 1997 letters.

Back Lolli's homepage