Monday, April 19, 2010
With my quarter century mark on the horizon for the last couple weeks, I have been thinking frequently about age here and how different the lived experience of people in my same age group is here than in the States. Most 25 year old males in my community have children, and have not finished high school. (On a side note, as a result of some kinship charts I have been working on, I have found out that two children I formerly believed were siblings are actually half-siblings and cousins at the same time having been fathered by the same man but born to two sisters.) They are generally landless and work in the fields of others, earning of 50 cordobas ($2.50) for a full day when work is avaliable. This small income is often the only stream of money for a household, which is even more trying in the dry season (that is to say now) when a day´s work is difficult to find. Many of the young men in my community have the hopes of going to work in the States some day to earn what little money they can to send home to their families. Those living here with relatives in the states enjoy a markedly higher standard of living and security of life than others. Rather than making the dangerous and costly journey to the States, many instead opt to try their chances seeking work in Managua, where the monthly income for unskilled labor can be as much as 2500 cordobas ($125). In another indicator of the troubles of the Nicaraguan economy, Nicaragua sends a very large number of workers to neighboring Central American countries such as Costa Rica, where as many as 500,000 Nicaraguans have illegally immigrated to work. Life is hard for the young adults in my community, and at times I have a hard time relating to their experience. However, I am finally making some friends my age and making an effort to learn from them. Now I just have to wait for the rains when they´ll come home to work.
Anyways, I must be on my way. Thank you for your help with the seeds. Until next time, que le vaya bien.
Monday, April 5, 2010
Once again it's been a while, but I'm still here melting away. At the beginning of the dry season I didn't quite believe all of my neighbors' ominous warnings about the temperatures in March. However, unlike their overly dramatic preparations for the December cold, their predictions have been nothing if not understated this time around. The wind is no longer a refreshing respite from the heat, but rather comes in superheated gusts while being in the sun has gone from moderately unpleasant to intolerable. On the other hand, I am not altogether sure that the seasonal change has as much to do with my recent climatic discomfort as with the recent addition of a wall thermometer to my house. Now I can monitor the mercury's every move and I am convinced that 105ºF feels significantly hotter when you know it's that hot. On other climatic notes, I have recently discovered that at certain temperatures duct tape melts and I was faced with the realization that I have become almost fully adapted here when I embarrassingly found myself clutching for a second blanket during a frigid 75ºF cold snap. In other news around the house, I have seen, but not caught, a spider larger than my hand three times (I hope it's the same one), and am only encouraged by the idea that the very large scorpion that has been living in the tiles of my ceiling will catch it before it bites me. Here is a picture of the scorpion, for scale I should mention that it is standing on a two by four.
I've had a rather eventful last couple months and I'll try to sum it up as best as possible. As far as work goes, my community bank is up and running and I've been doing a lot of work with a women's group to improve their bread baking businesses. In addition to this, although we are still in the middle of the dry season, I managed to plant a small garden with the help of a drip irrigation system I have installed for demonstration purposes. My house is in the perfect location for this, and I plan to use my roadside garden to teach a few sessions on home gardening and organic fertilizer making. So far, I have planted Jamaica Rose, a couple varieties of tomato, Swiss chard, okra, summer squash, collard greens, and watermelon in the main space and I have planted mint, menthol, wormwood, lemongrass and aloe (outdoors!) in a smaller space nearby. There should be more pictures later, but here is a picture of the beginnings of my drip irrigation system.
The barrel is filled with water then is routed to a special hose (not pictured) which drips. Many people have passed by expressing interest in organic fertilizer/pesticides, drip irrigation, and in planting gardens of their own, and I'm very excited to get started on some projects as soon as the rains come in May. Not only can home gardens help with the quality of nutrition of the family, but they can also be a very helpful and sorely needed second income stream. While the people here seem very motivated to plant gardens, access to vegetable seeds is a big problem. They are hard to find and prohibitively expensive when you do. I have a small stock of seeds here now which I plan to use to start a community seed bank with my harvest, but we could definitely use more here. I am going to go looking for seeds in Sebaco sometime next week, but your help would also be appreciated. Please send seeds (especially tomato, green pepper, squash, cucumber, carrot and onion seeds) to:
Ocotal, Nueva Segovia
Nicaragua, Central America
Thank you very much for your support, one packet of seeds can make a big difference in the nutrition of a family here.
In addition to the gardening project, I am working on a proposal to make a good number of improved wood stoves here. The stoves that most families use now are very primitive and burn more wood than is necessary. In addition to this, they lack chimneys and therefore, the kitchen is often filled with smoke causing a high number of respiratory illnesses. The improved stove is rather cheap to make ($25) or so, uses less firewood and has a chimney to reroute the smoke away from the kitchen. I'm hoping to make a good deal of these, and am planning on requiring the recipients of the stoves to plant a small tree nursery to offset the amount of wood that the stove will burn over its lifetime. We'll see how it goes, but I'm planning on having the proposal ready within the month.
In other matters, my parents came for a visit last month and it was a great time. We made it to a good variety of places, while still managing to be in my site long enough for me to continue getting work done. It was nice to get to spend time with them and I don't think I realized how much I missed them until they were here. This a picture of my father next to one hell of a tree in a cloud forest at Selva Negra (no, it wasn´t raining, he´s just that sweaty).
Easter is the culmination of the biggest holiday in Nicaragua, Semana Santa. While the festivities are mainly centered around food (a lot of people have been eating fish lately despite the elevation), it is also very common to make pozas (wells) by damming the small, shallow rivers. I spent a couple days this week cooling off from the heat by going for a quick dip. I played some water baseball and had a nice picnic with a few of the local youth, getting out just in time for the drunks to take over the swimming hole.
Along with the swimming I have been spending a good amount of time with the neighbor kids, who have been out of class for the week and generally seek me out when they are bored. I have a small (and ever dwindling due to loss and theft) stock of toys that I loan out and they come knocking on my door as early as 6am to ask for them. Here are a couple of pictures of the kiddies and one of my neighbor Nedi doing his best “Nica face”
That's about all I have for now, but I will close with a quick anecdote which I think says a good deal about the relaxed nature of the local culture. I was walking home one day and a large truck pulled up along side me full of Nica men. I recognized the driver as someone who works at the mayor's office and we began to talk. He offered me a ride and I told him that I lived just up the way and it wasn't necessary. Then he asked me which house and how I had been and we kept talking like this for another five minutes or so while the truckload of men was waiting. Finally I asked him what they were doing around here and he asked me if I had seen any smoke coming from over the hill in the distance to which I replied that I had. He continued to tell me that they had received a call at the mayor's office that a field fire had gone out of control and that they were the fire brigade sent to put it out. This is a bit of an extreme example, but truly indicative of the manner in which everyone is always friendly and never in a hurry.
Well, until next time I hope everyone is doing well, and like always I will try to be more frequent posting in the future.
Friday, January 22, 2010
Sorry for the absense. I wrote a post a while back that seems to not have made it online and the draft is lost, so I will try to recap things as best I can. First of all, Christmas was completely different here. It was my first year not being with my family. Christmas is not by a long shot the biggest holiday around, taking a backseat to the Holy Week celebrations preceding Easter Sunday. This, along with the poverty of rural Nicaragua, meant a build up to Christmas bereft of the nonstop commercial pummeling which I always found depressing in the States. Christmas here serves as an excuse to drink to excess and eat as many nacatamales as possible. For my part, in the space of two days I managed to down seven of the large festive cornmeal tamales which consist of corn, pork, veggie and lard masses wrapped and boiled in banana leaves, a total matched by my fellow Peace Corps volunteer Travis who visited me for the holiday. We spent Christmas walking around my community visting families that invariably offered us food and commented on Travis´s height.
Travis was the first visitor to grace the peaceful confines of my new house (pictured below). It is affectionatley known throughout the community as "El Synogogue" (why I don´t know) and is of the finest adobe and mud construction with a newly finished concrete interior. Featuring a clay tile roof outfitted with two transparent plastic laminates to allow for a brighter interior, "El Synogogue" is the occassional home to a variety of local wildlife including but not limited to mice, bats, sparrows, a wasp´s nest and chigüines. While it´s not perfect, I am very happy living in my own house and have been lovingly welcomed into the neighborhood. I spend a good deal of time with the family up the hill and am treated as one of the family. Contrary to what you might think, I actually have less privacy living alone, given the fear of my former host mother by most of the community meant that I had very few visitors living there. Now there is a constant stream of visitors curious about how I manage to not get bored living by myself, to which I always respond,"Well, I´m never alone here." Men simply do not live alone here and my solo lifestyle (especially what I eat if I don´t have anyone to cook for me) is a constant topic of curiosity for the Nicas. One benefit of the cultural incongruity of me living alone is that people have a hard time allowing me to do what is normally considered women´s work here. As the inept male, I am constantly assailed with offers to do my laundry, sweeping, cleaning and dishes, which I generally accept out of courtesy, always helping out enough to prove that I´m capable, but staying out of the way enough as to not offend the offer.
My house also played host to my first visitor from the States. My girlfriend came to visit me for 2 weeks all the way from the snowy hellscape which is Michigan. It was great having her here and a big blow to see her leave again so soon. However, the time we spent together was amazing and it was a nice treat to have someone to show around. Also, everyone in my community was very excited to meet her and despite her near total lack of Spanish skills (with the exception of Hola and Graciás), they graciously insist that she speaks very well. We managed to tour around a bit, taking advantage of the New Year´s holiday to get to a good variety of Nicaraguan destinations. The pictures that follow are of a couple of these spots. The first is from the belltower of a cathedral in Granada (the tourist capital of the country). Granada is lovely, but I felt very out of place as the city seemed half filled with gringos and half filled with people trying to sell things to the gringos. I really did enjoy my time there, but the difference between how I feel in my community as the only American and how I felt on the backpacker´s trail is remarkable. The second photo is of the Finca Magdalena on the Island of Ometepe. It is a coffee farm operated by 27 families at the base of a volcanic (half active) island in the middle of the freshwater lake Nicaragua. It was very tranquil and the surrounding forrest was filled with howling monkeys. It is cheap enough to stay there even on my Peace Corps budget (a private room is $10 a night and a dorm bed is $4) and while I was advised that the Finca´s accomodations were "very rustic" beforehand, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it is a significant step up from my everyday accomodations ("you mean they have showers AND toilets"). The Isla de Ometepe is a beautiful place and is the closeset I have seen here to what I consider true wildness. The final photo is of me buying pupusas on the street in Estelí for Alice and I to share. While the street food here carries a distinct risk of contracting stomach parasites, if it is served hot you are generally in the clear. And at about 50 cents for 3 delicious cheese and chicken filled pupusas, I, for one, am more than willing to take that risk. Alice managed to stay healthy through the entire trip and I hope she manages to convince some others that Nicaragua is a safe, fun and cheap travel destination, as they could sorely use your tourist dollars.
Speaking of tourism, my community is trying (with the help of a NGO based in Ocotal) to attract visitors with a project based in non-traditional agro-tourism. It has the distinction of being along the route where Agusto Sandino hid and staged raids on American targets in the 20s (I´ve been told there is an old mine that still has abandoned American equiptment around it from that time period. The American interests abandoned it because of increasing pressure from Sandino´s guerilla army). They hope that this historical importance along with a curiosity about the lives of small scale Nicaraguan farmers will help to bring tourist dollars to the community. I don´t have much faith in the flood of visitors that some community members are expecting will ever make it here, but I am happy to see the community getting behind something like this. They have already been around taking a census ( which lead me to correct what I had previously though was only a mispronunciation, but turned out to be a complete misunderstanding of my name. A group had been calling me by what is certainly second only to Judas as the least desirable of biblical names, Cain.) and cleaning the streets. I can only hope that they will take to my projects so well.
I received some generous donations over the holidays from the James family and my aunt and uncle. I would like to thank you here for your generocity and let you know that a portion of the money has already been used to buy school supplies to be distributed to the children most in need. Oftentimes the poorest families cannot send their children to school for the simple lack of funds for a notebook. The rest will be used to purchase fencing material and bucket irrigation systems for a number of small patio gardens which will hopefully both help the families vary their diet and sell veggies at the green market in Jicaro. Thank you again, and I will keep you updated on the progress of these projects.
I should head back to my house as I am supposed to meet one of my 9 year old neighbors there that is writing a letter to some schoolkids in the states (if you have a young one interested in a pen pal, I can arrange it and translate the letters myself, just send me an e-mail at email@example.com), but before I forget I´d just like to mention a couple of strange things I´ve seen recently. First, to add to the casual daredevil list I found a new favorite. I saw a mozo in the fields using an old pesticide bottle as a watter bottle (I have since given him an old empty water jug to use instead). Secondly, there is an old man who lives in the park in El Jicaro off of the scraps off garbage he can manage to collect, who, as I recently noticed, often is seen sporting a black t-shirt with a shipwreck printed on it. The shirt is labeled with the name of my hometown Sault Ste Marie, Michigan. ¿Qué Raro, no? With that I´ll leave you. Hope all is well and hasta luego.
Friday, December 4, 2009
I have finally managed to upload a few photos of my site and surroundings for your enjoyment. First, this is a picture of the hot water springs I described in an earlier post. While the water is too hot for bathing, it is perfect for cooking a big pot of sweet potatos which we placed directly in a rock formation filled with volcanic boiling water.
Here are a couple pictures of the scenery in my site. The first is the road which runs in front of what will likely be my new house in a couple weeks. The second is a shot of my new palacial estate which I have been told is nicknamed ¨The Synagogue¨ by the people in the neighborhood for reasons unknown to me. The third photo is Doña Juana who lives just up the hill behind my new house and has one of the best views in the community (she also makes the best bread this side of Susucayan)
Finally, here is a picture of me and my banjo riding in style on top of the bus between Quilalí and Wiwilí - the only way to travel.
As it turns out, the rains never did come along strong enough to give people a good bean harvest. While I haven´t encountered anyone who lost everything, some producers did not plant at all and all of the others have been reaping significantly less that usual. However, there is still a large amount of work avaliable for both the bean and coffee harvest which means that many people (especially the poor landless peasants that rely on day labor for survival) have more money now than in any other time of the year. This is clearly observable given the sharp increase in the number of discarded rock-gut rum bottles on the side of the road (occasionally seen accompanied by thier owners). While not everyone simply drinks their money away, there is a strong tendency for the people here to spend what they have when they have it. I am trying to work with a small group of women (the same group that theoreticallly attends the Green Market every other week) to form a community bank. Hopefully the group will meet monthly to deposit money into a collective box and then loan it out to its members. This helps create a culture of saving (especially important with the dry season approaching) and makes micro-credit avaliable to a group that has no access to banks. We´ll see where this project goes, but I´m hoping for the best.
On anther note, I have felt that my Spanish has stagnated for a while now. I have certainly improved since training, but at no where near the rate I had maintained before. It is difficult to learn without instruction, but I have had the chance to make a couple of interesting linguistic observations. First, the people here more often than not form their questions in a negative fashion. For example, if you were to walk into a store looking for soap you wouldn´t ask ¨Do you have soap?¨, but rather ¨You don´t have soap, do you?¨ Likewise if you are to ask if someone is hungry, you would normally term it, ¨¿You aren´t hungry, are you?¨ instead of simply, ¨Are you hungry?¨ This plays into the embarassment people here have to saying no or admitting to not knowing something. By terming the question in the negative, the opportunity is given to the person asked to answer affirmitively in the case that there is or isn´t soap. ¨You don´t have soap, do you?¨ can be answered, ¨Of course we have soap.¨, or ¨You´re right we don´t have any right now.¨, both positive answers. By terming questions in this way, the opportunity to avoid the social stigma of saying no is given. This reluctance to say no is extended to the fact that everyone in this country will give you directions whether or not they know how to get there or not and will tell you that they are planning on attending your meeting and never show up. A second observation I have made in my community is the manner in which the people address their pets. In textbook Spanish there are two third person forms of address, the formal Usted and the informal tú. However, due to a history of colonization and isolation an archaic informal form of address no longer used in most of the Spanish speaking world, vos, is the form most commonly used here in Nicaragua. Besides its interesting history, I am also interested by the fact that the people in my community exclusively use vos between eachother, reserving the tú familiar form of address only for their dogs and cats. I have no explanation for this, your interpretations are more than welcome.
I´m off to find some transparent hose for my winemaking rig before making it back to my community for a graduation dinner this evening. The next week has me going around meeting a baking cooperative and making more wine with a women´s group to sell for the Christmas Green Market. Along with hopefully making my move to my new house I should be kept pretty busy, but I´ll try to update more regularly. Hasta entonces.
Monday, November 30, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
Anyways, I´ve had another varied two weeks including the construction of another barrel oven, a picnic, a dinner party and the successful first taste of the orange/ginger wine that Victoria and I made with the yeast I received from my father. For the picnic we went to a sulfur hot spring, which while being too hot to bathe in (although I can´t imagine ever finding myself enjoying bathing in a hot spring in this climate) is perfect to cook with. Along with about 10 Nicaraguan women and children, one man and his truck, Victoria and I spent the day by the hotsprings with a lovely lunch of boiled eggs, potatoes and sweet potatoes augmented by a salad and kebobs grilled over a fire (and of course the ever-present grand heap of tortillas). The springs are very remote and completely non developed. We were the only people there outside of the occasional campesino passing with a backpack sprayer full of agrichemicals.
The dinner party was hosted at my counterpart Don Ramon (Moncho)´s house and was meant to launch his barrel oven. I made a pan of roasted sweet squash covered with pepper and dulce (raw sugar sold in half pound blocks), some roasted potatoes and onions, a coleslawish salad of cabbage with a homemade mayonaise based dressing (nice and spicy) and a butterflied chicken (which entered the oven still warm from meeting its final reward) with a rosemary/lemon/garlic based rub under the skin. Moncho´s house is especially remote and tranquil and was a great place to have the dinner. Everything came out well and it was particularly nice to eat some roasted vegetables (or roasted anything for that matter) because ovens are almost exclusively used for bread and pastry cooking here (mainly due to the fact that the traditional ovens need to be heated up for a long time and then the baking done all at once with residual heat) and there´s nothing like an oven sweetened roasted onion. The wine also turned out very well - strong and acidic, but without the yeasty taste that the Red Star packaged baking yeast they normally use imparts. The evening also featured some of the best stars I have ever seen. There was no cloud cover or moon and the severe deforestation of the surrounding mountains makes for a clear view of the night sky.
To make good on my promise to describe a bit of the dardevilism of Nicaraguan men, I should first mention that the women are also daredevils in their own way. For example, the night before picnic-ing at the hot springs we made a marinade to put the pork pieces in overnight (which was followed by a 36 hour pour outage - meaning marinated pork unrefrigerated overnight - ¡A la gran puchica!) and Maritza, who was cooking at the time, kept tasting the marinade to make sure it was tasting alright. This would be completely normal to me, but she added the dangerous element of tasting it once it was on the raw pork. I, for one, consider that a brave act of daring. The daredevilism of the men manifests itself in a different manner. While it does happen in concert with the machista culture of dominant masculinity, what I am more impressed by is the dangerous behavior that is not meant to prove anything, but rather is performed in an offhand, aloof manner that makes it seem normal and not worth a second look. Some acts that I have noted include: the common practice of riding motorcycles (more often that not with noisily bad brakes) without a helmet or back from the bar, spraying agrichemicals without the slightest pretense of protective gear (especially daring in a country whose capital has hosted a plastic tent city of squaters protesting the continued use of nemagon since the late 90s), tapping into their speciously run electrical system without turning off the breaker, climbing to the top of a moving run down school bus and constructing a platform over a 80 foot deep well while standing balanced on a small tree trunk resting across the opening. While these acts are all very dangerous, they are approached withouth the blink of an eye as just another day to day reality. While they are not active risk seekers, these small lifestyle choices have not failed to wow me.
On another note, I have some rather embarassing news to report, although on the plus side I do believe it is a positive sign of my adaptation to Nicaragua. It is the winter here, and while I have mocked the Nicas for their heavy hats and coats at times, I too last week fell victim to the deadly chills of the Nicaraguan nighttime. It is not very easy to tell the temperature here (there is a distinct lack of LED bank thermometers), but the normal daytime highs in this region are around 90, while the nights can dip down to around 70 degrees. The other night I found myself chilled, rapping my sheet tightly around my body unable to shake the cold. Coming from the northern reaches of the States, I had not thought this overnight chill a possibility before coming here, but I have to confess that I truly felt it. To my credit, while I was busy wrapping a sheet around myself, the Nicas were busy throwing a second blanket on their beds. However, I am still embarassed about my new found climatic adjustment and fearful of my return to the Great White North in the future.
I was also recently reminded of my geographical heritage a couple weeks ago when I remarked to Victoria that the smell of a particular part of the community reminded me of the beach. She looked at me with a perplexed gaze, not having the faintest clue what I was talking about. She is from California and beach smell to her (understandably) signifies a salty breeze. However, what I was referring to was a streach of sandy road covered by fallen pine needles which, when warmed by the midday sun, emits an odor that makes me think that I should be approaching the shores of Lake Superior in short order. So, as it turns out, I am getting American geography lessons here as well.
I have a busy couple weeks coming up as I have to travel back to my training town area to take a week of Spanish Classes as well as get started on a couple of projects in my community and travel to Estelí to attend a meeting with my counterpart organization INTA. Hopefully I´ll have a chance to post soon and include pictures as the internet is considerably faster where I´ll be travelling.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
While I haven´t managed to take any photos in the last week, I am planning to take a walk around my community in the next couple days with the direct purpose of capturing some images to show on here. However, for now my less than vivid prose will have to do. The rain has picked up a bit, but is still well under the normal levels, and certainly not sufficient to keep the already planted beans alive for long without some kind of change. There was a slow drizzle all afternoon yesterday leaving the landscape greener and refreshed this morning, but without some consistancy the dust will stir up early this year. On the plus side I have been very lucky in that it has no longer been raining every time I do laundry meaning my shirts have finally dropped their half dry molded smell.
Along with my site mate we´ve constructed 3 more barrel ovens in the last week, with one more left to go next week as well as a baking session to inagurate each one. This flurry of activity along with the fermentation of some orange ginger wine (thanks to the yeast I received from my father) has been keeping me busy, but I don´t expect it to last long. The Mercado Verde was last Saturday and the women sold nearly everything they brought. This was very encouraging, given the last two consecutive markets had been rather slow and the situation is fragile enough here that a good sale is definitely necessary to sustain the market for any length of time. There is a good core group of women (mostly from other communities near by, but a couple from my community as well) that participate regularly in the market and will seek out or make a product to sell when their own garden isn´t producing. For example, when she has no produce of her own, one woman from my community goes around to trees she knows are producing fruit that no one is eating (such as the starfruit (melocotón) tree her neighbors have but don´t harvest) and gather fruit to sell. Other women will bring a tied up hen or make nacatamales (large corn masa tamales with spices stuffed with vegetables and pork then steamed in banana leaves) or guirila (a thick tortilla of young corn served with fresh cheese which has a lightly sweet flavor). I am very happy to see this creative commitment to the project and I hope I can both sustain what´s there already while helping them to expand their repetoire of recipes and production techniques. We´ll see how it works out in a couple of weeks as it will be the first time I am at the market unaccompanied by the other volunteers.
Yesterday morning while making an oven I witnessed something that was strange in that my sitemate Victoria had to point it out to me, although in retrospect it was definitely something that I would never have seen in the States. The young son (around 3 years old) of one of the women of the house at which we were working was sitting on the front bar of an unhitched oxcart making motorcycle sounds with his mouth and using a stick for handlebars. This by itself is unremarkable - the fact that he was using a plastic bag fully pulled over his head as a play helmet (without protest from any of the many attending adults) is certainly something worth noting. I, however, did not notice this as anything strange until Victoria mentioned it.
On a slightly related note, I have recently noticed that many things that initially seemed exotic to me I know accept as mundane and even banal. For example, dodging pineapple or pithaya barbs to get to the latrine was at first something I had to consciously reason through before doing, but now it is second nature to the point that I don´t even notice I´m doing it. A conversation I had with a couple of young Nicaraguan boys further made this point to me. I started talking to them as they were picking guayava from a tree near my house and they started asking me about the fruit in Michigan. I told them that there were a lot of apples this time of year and they could hardly believe that such a strange land of fantasy could possibly exist. Apples are an exotic fruit here prized for their uniqueness and rarity. This goes to demonstrate that the idea of exoticism is purely contextual and someone can just as easily find a mango boring and worthless as I can be fascinated by the vividness of its flavor.
As much as I feel fachento (pretentious) having my mp3 player with me, it has been invaluable in the maintenance of my sanity through the slow times so far. Given it´s been so important to me so far to have my music with me, I thought I would start posting what I´ve been listening to lately. In addition to this, I live my life by musical milestones and hopefully I´ll thank myself later for recording my listening trends. That being said - the song of the week is Nina Simone´s first successful single "I Loves You Porgy" from Gershwin´s Porgy and Bess.
That´s about it for now. As always I hope everyone is well and come back next time for my report on the casual daredevelling of Nicaraguan men.