Well, today I turn 25 and I´m on my way to buy birthday cake supplies (carrots and cuajada for the frosting). While I tried to keep my birthday a secret in my community, it somehow became general public knowledge and I have been convinced to celebrate by baking my own cake. It should be fun, but I was hoping to spend a quiet evening by myself.
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.