August News 2013 – I’m catching up!

August News from Nicaragua 

Hello to all Family and Friends,

Everyday since I have been back home here in Nicaragua has been busy in some form or another.  I better start at the beginning.

Life in the Guzmán compound is definitely growing.  Two new babies were born to the various young families, both beautiful—one girl, now 8 months old and one boy, two months old.  The later is a confounding situation for me to understand but I am not to judge.  The mother is a 40 + woman who lives next door.  The father is the 18 yr. old son of  my maid and the oldest Guzmán son who live behind me.  I have asked for some details about this occurrence from my friend Lidieth who also lives here, and the best that I can figure out is that the woman wanted a child.  And I guess Isael was a willing student of sex education.  At any rate he is proud of his son, who is indeed guapo.  Since Isael has only temporary jobs, it is curious how he can support his new child.  Although in this culture as far as I can tell, supporting a family isn’t a great cause for concern.  Responsibility is slowly taking form here—poco a poco.

Let me now describe the good news and successes.  The first class of Cuidadores de Personas taught in Spanish was completed a week ago with two persons receiving their certificates of completion.  The classroom that I am using at Fun Limón is a perfect size for five people and not much more.  We push four conference size tables together to make a bed that requires one person holding on to one end of the “bed” for stability while practice takes place making a bed with and without a person in it.  Let me tell you, since I was the patient, lying on a hard surface isn’t exactly my cup of tea.  Next class I am bringing two pillows.  Yes, the second class begins this coming Monday.  Hopefully, there will be students again.  Although I had great fear about teaching in Spanish, having the curriculum translated in to Spanish was helpful.  Google translate is good but not close in some cases.  The translation for Día Dos was hysterical as that was the day I was teaching transfers.  “Chair to chair” was translated as “President to chair”.  At this point I asked a Nica born friend of mine, Maria Elena (Do you remember the lady who rented me her car in January?) a professional translator from FL, to fix Día Dos.  She also reviewed the other four days and made very few changes to the documentation.  Therefore, the class was a success, the students learned a lot, practiced daily in class, and I feel comfortable recommending them for hire.  We discussed pricing for both pobre family members and the wealthy potential clientele.  I give copies of transfer techniques, physical exercises in bed and chair, the pain scale, photos of pressure ulcers, and a cooperative method of caregiving for their own clientele.  My next step for the course, besides teaching it every other week, is to get some form of documented approval from MINSA, the Nicaraguan Dept. of Health.  I found out last week that the Director General from Rivas who had reviewed and approved the program in February was fired and demoted for stealing from the Rivas Health Dept.  Also found out that one of the weekend doctors at the Roberto Clemente Clinic was fired last month for the same issue.  It is a sad situation that the doctors and nurses who are employees of the national health department, the Salud, are so underpaid that they resort to other means of income.  So much for socialism!

Success number two:  I now have a daily water source to my house.  After several days without water, a new pump for the 60 yr. old well, various levels of placing the pump to get water, all the while using my tools and me observing the action—and my tools–, it was decided that the well behind my house wasn’t sufficient for our daily use.  There is a second well that was dug on the property next to the bakery cooperativa in February.  Solution to our water problem here in the front houses was to run a hose from the back well to the pipes for the cistern–above the ground tank.  That worked.  The new pump was put on to the new well.  AND I have a new one-valve connection to my shower.  No more leaking shower if you turn on the wrong faucet.   The other good news about water is that it has been raining off and on now for the past day so I am a happy camper.

Success number three:  To keep me out of trouble in the future, I purchased three lots across the road and a few houses down from where I live in Limón Dos.  The lots are behind the owner’s property on the main road and butt up to a lot that Lidieth bought for her Fundación Fenix project—a garden, worm farm and classrooms to teach the youth who are in her group life skills.  There is by law an access road to all of the lots behind an existing property.  I am having my three deeded as one lot.  Before the end of the year, I hope to have built a lavandería, auto storage for 12 vehicles, and auto wash on my property.  These are all services that I need for myself, as well as other local families, property owners from Rancho Santana and other developments.  My retirement account is diminished.  However, my gut and RS friends are telling me that this venture should bring me closer financially to building the house on my Guascate property.  This venture has introduced me to a couple of new attorneys in Rivas.  Both are very encouraging about my Cuidadores de Personas program as well as being helpful with the property documentation and recording.  They are both Drs. of law.  Here in NI, Dr. of law is different from Licensia of law.  Unlike the US, each of these lawyers is costing me $150 total.  They charge by the task not the hour and laughed at the cost of lawyers in the US.

My attempt at obtaining residency failed and perhaps it was for the good.  The application was for a retiree and I really want residency as an investor, especially as I progress with the classes and the Limón Dos project.  My Managua attorney for residency has applied for a certificate of investment from the NI Dept. of Finance.  When this certificate is obtained, he will go back to Immigration and apply again.  I am keeping this process high on my list of daily meditation thoughts.  Although I am told that this takes a longer time.  I am ever the optimist.

I had a great time with my therapist friends who came to NI to work with special ed schools and orphanages as music, speech, and recreational therapists.  At Sor Maria Romero, the only school in Rivas Department for special needs kids, my friends were besieged to come back.  My friends were only here for three days, one day at Sor Maria Romero.  We crammed in as much sightseeing of my area as possible.  Hopefully they will choose NI again for their project next year. 

My CA families seem to be settled into their normal routines again which is good.  My health is good.  I am using the TRX exercise system in my house every other day.  AND I still love my life here. 

Thanks to all of you who keep me informed about yourselves.  I don’t do Facebook or LinkedIn very often as you can tell so don’t count on my knowing what is going on outside of NI. 

Photos are:  Cuidadores practicing, Dentistas sin Fronteras

I forgot to mention.  16 dentists from Spain working in the Fun Limón gym for four days, patient with head in lap of dentist, me assisting as the water application during drilling—no novacaine, mouthful of water and spit into a bucket, three dental stations after triage: cleaning of area for filling, filling with calcium, and extraction—head propped against wall, novacaine this time, 5 minutes and out the door.  Occasionally it took four of us to hold down a young child for their procedure.

Pretty amazing work.  You can see this group  by googling Dentistas sin Fronteras. 

Solo el amor prevalence.

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July News 2013

July News from Nicaragua

Life is almost back to normal for me here in Nicaragua.  I arrived home on July 3rd and felt like I had been gone for a year rather than three months.  Although it was very difficult being at Rivka’s in San Juan Capistrano with Cole gone I am so happy that I had the flexibility to be there.  The Bents have some marvelous friends who care a great deal about them.  They were very kind and helpful to me too when Rivka, Brian and Esther were gone.  I am grateful for all the blessings given to me. 

The couple that stayed at my little house in Limón Dos while I was gone took care of the major problems for me, like leaks in the ceiling in several places.  Yes, the rainy season finally began and I heard that there were some pretty heavy storms before I arrived.  It has rained almost daily for a very short time since I’ve returned but I haven’t encountered any impassible rivers as yet.  I haven’t ventured out very much either.  I made a Rivas run yesterday but went along with some Rancho Santana friends. 

Not much has changed here in the compound except that the bread making cooperative is sold out by afternoon everyday.  I have learned to buy my fresh pan dulce before 3:00 pm.  They don’t begin making the bread until about 10:00 am. 

Some things don’t change though.  The pigs are still trying to take over the front yard and there are two hens with chicks that make the rounds of my little yard many times during the day.  The little chocoyos (parakeets) have diminished in number since I was away.  One of the babies that never was healthy died, two flew on their own and the remaining six are still making a racket and terrorizing the leaves on the small bushes nearby.  Dón Juan has built a cage of flotsam and jetsom.  It is large, quite efficient and hysterical too.  Brian Bent would appreciate the ingenuity and get along well with Dón Juan.  This compound seems to be growing in number of people living here.  There are at least five people I hadn’t seen before who are now here everyday and appear to be living here.

It is taking me longer to get into gear as I find excuses for being productive at every turn.  One of my recent distractions is that the pharmacy student that I had been helping financially through school was eliminated from her work at the Clinic here.  I haven’t needed to give her money since March because she was a paid intern while attending school.  After writing to the Executive Director of the Clinic to find out why the job elimination, I was told that the labor laws require that interns only can work three months.  

It is now thundering so I expect we will have some rain tonight and that is fine with me.  Maybe the wells will all be filled to capacity again and I won’t have to worry whether or not to take my cold shower before I flush the toilet or wash the dishes. 

Third World mentality is sometimes frustrating.  The compound community pili faucet—outdoor sink—where they wash the babies, clothes, dishes, and anything else that requires more than 1 cup of water, leaks gallons of water hourly on to the ground and no one gets the clue that by fixing the faucet leak water will be saved.   Maybe I’ll suggest that I fix the leak since I brought all my tools—except my electric drill—with me on this trip. 

There are so many good things about this country that I love; I think I must have been an Inca in past lives.  People, although lacking knowledge and incentive to change, are still the most friendly, positive, and helpful individuals. 

I am including a couple of websites of places that are owned by my friends and whom I have visited on many occasions. 

 HYPERLINK “http://www.equilibrionicaragua.com”

http://www.equilibrionicaragua.com

 HYPERLINK “http://www.aprendernicaragua.com”

http://www.aprendernicaragua.com

 HYPERLINK “http://www.surfresortnicaragua.com”

http://www.surfresortnicaragua.com

   This Soma couple are from the Bay Area.  I met them at the Clinic on my very first trip eight years ago when they first came down here.

Once again, I appreciate all of you my good family and friends in the USA, who support me emotionally and are willing to stay in touch.  Take care of yourselves. 

Solo el amor prevalence.

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The bird cage

May/June News 2013

May/June News – Not from Nicaragua 

Hola Friends,

News this month isn’t the happiest.  After my one month stay in the US mid-April to May 16th visiting my family and taking care of business, I returned to Managua with Christine Evanson, a dear friend.  We were planning things to do on her vacation.  Before we had a chance to leave Managua on May 17th, I received a call from my daughter, Rivka, stating that my sweet grandson, Cole , died in his sleep that morning.  I got the last seat out of Nicaragua on TACA and left for LAX leaving Christine in the hands of my friend Ana Zavala in Managua.

Cole, as you may remember was my first grandson, the marine who had surgery for a brain tumor two years ago.  See more about this at Rivka’s blog BentRivka.com. Cole was also the first person ever to come to Nicaragua with me.  I am so grateful that we had this opportunity.  Cole struggled everyday for normalcy in survival.  He had moved into his own apartment with a friend in November but was becoming more frail, although he maintained as much independence as possible.  

Cole’s memorial and Military Honor Burial at Miramar National Cemetery was on May 31st.  There were probably 300+ people at the church in Mission Viejo and at least 200+ at the cemetery in Miramar and then to the reception at friend’s large home and yard in Del Mar Highlands—San Diego area.  The crowds of friends were evidence of the love for Cole and his family.  My son, Greg Wilker, made a great video for the memorial that truly represented who Cole was.  You can watch it on http://www.YouTube—Cole Bent Memorial.

Although the sequencing definitely wasn’t planned, Brian, Rivka, and Esther were invited to France where Brian will be performing and showing his art at the annual Wheels and Waves event in Biaritz, France.  Brian is one of three invited performers and everything has been paid for by the event.  This will be a good diversion for the three Bents as it is hard with a missing person here.  I will stay here with the dogs and house sit until they return.  The Bents will be home for three days and then Rivka and Brian will be off to Japan for Brian’s showing of his United 50 line of surfing clothes, again a paid trip.  I will leave for my home in Nicaragua when they leave for Japan.

Needless to say, I am grateful that I have the flexibility to be of service to my family.  However, I miss my life in Nicaragua and will be happy to return on July 2nd.  Since I will be missing the ISA Junior Surfing Tournament on the Rancho Santana beach in June, I’ll have to create some new excitement for myself.  I’m sure that Ana Z and I will be able to find something to keep me occupied and financially solvent.

Remember to take good care of yourselves and your families.

Solo el amor prevalence.

April News 2013

News from Nicaragua – April Edition 2013

Hola Family and Friends,

Can’t believe I am coming to the end of my first contiguous three months here in NI.  Yes, I will fly back to the US on the 15th for four weeks. 

Life in Ni is definitely not for the weak in any culture.  For those of you who have interest in Nicaraugense culture, read the book Blood of Brothers by Stephen Kinzer who was a NY Times correspondent and lived here through the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and has insights published up to 2007.  I read the book with a map at my side and know of many of the places he speaks of and some of the people as well—at least the families.

At the moment, we—everyone in all areas—are praying for rain.  I spoke six weeks ago about digging our well deeper.  Well, the compound has an almost dry well once again.  This morning, a tractor arrived pulling a water tank with water from the closest river that I cross enroute to Rancho Santana.  Fortunately, the senior family members here brought me two five gallon buckets last night so I could at least flush the toilet once and wash my few dishes.  I used my bottled water for teeth brushing and spit bathed my face and body with the bucket water.  Since this is also the hottest time of the year AND fortunately the wind is blowing—which creates dust and dirt that you wouldn’t believe—but it keeps the temperature tolerable.  I haven’t turned off the three fans in my house for a week.

I have had a couple of very interesting occurrences since the last episode of news.  First I have applied for NI residency.  I had a driver for my car, took my friend Carol Dorsett, and spent two days in Managua for this process and to attend the first opening of an all NI women’s art show at one of the Cultural Centers Mujers de Arte.  The art show was exciting to me.  I met several of the artists, introduced to me by my friend and NI “sister”, Ana Zavala.

The residency process was less fun.  Although I had all my papers, thanks to my daughter Leah for obtaining them—health report from Kaiser, police report from W. Sac police, birth certificate—American Embassy authenticated the documents for $50 and couldn’t answer any of my questions.  We are paying taxes for this!  Anyway day two we went to the Immigration for Extranjeros and found that my papers were “falta”, called Ana who met me at Immigration, found the problems and off we went to three more agencies.  Long story short, I hired an attorney, known to Ana and whose brother in Rancho Santana is a friend of mine.  The attorney recommended that I apply for residency as an investor rather than a retiree because retirees cannot work in country.  So hopefully I will have my interview for residency sometime after I return to NI in May.  Then I can apply for a business license and start the caregiving program.  This lesson learned is most valuable as I could be fined severely in the future for any work income.

My most treasured success, however, is that nine of the kids from this compound are all going to Una Escuelita an NGO afterschool program not too far down the trail across the road from the house or a bit farther if you travel on the real road.  None of the kids—four, ages 5 and 6; five, ages 11 and 12—had ever been to Una Escuelita.  The program is for two hours and begins with 30 minutes of helping with homework, then art projects, games and songs.  For the first week, the parents agreed to have the littlest ones go via Tug Tug (mototaxi) each family paying 15 cordobas a day ($0.63), the older kids would walk the trail.  I walked the trail with one of the parents—Adalain, the community social coordinator for Limón Dos—to see how difficult it might be.  Tug Tug didn’t work out too well.  The driver forgot to pick the kids up from here and then from Una Escuelita.  I had to rescue them from the school twice.  So this past week, the parents agreed to allow the little kids to walk with the older ones along the trail.  I have talked to the older ones about caring for the niños enroute.  Yesterday was the first day of this process and it went well. Since each day is a new adventure here, I hold my breath that the positive events are repeated.  I still have to round up all the kids starting about noon to make sure they remember that they are going.  Many of their parents work so the kids are left to fend for themselves with oversight by the compound teenagers and Don and Doña Guzmán.(Now me too.)

This week, the teenagers who sit under the trees by the pulpería in the evening where it is cool, asked me if I would help them learn English.  So for the past two nights I am also sitting with them and they are learning to say some simple phrases and count in English.  Last night there were eight boys and girls. A couple of them are nearly 20 years old and very interested.  So I am learning my Spanish better to teach English.

I need to stop now since it is almost time to begin rounding up the kids—this takes about 30 minutes to make sure everyone has on shoes, a shirt, and has their bolsa—backpack.

ImageImageImage Photos are of the water tank arrival this morning, the littlest kids, and Una Escuelita.

March News 2013

March News from Nicaragua 

FYI, this is the longest time I have ever spent in Nicaragua—six weeks now.  AND I love it here.

Last week I finally got hooked to the internet so that I can now email from my house and print on my WiFi printer.  This also means that my MagicJack phone connection works now.  My phone number is 916 222-6241.  Please remember that there is a two hour time difference and I may not be at home when you call.  There is a voicemail connected with MagicJack.  If you don’t reach me, try to leave a message and I can pick it up through the computer connection.

This past month I have made a little progress toward beginning my Programa Cuidadores de Personas.  I visited the director of SILAIS—the Nicaraguan Health Dept.—in Tola who wrote a letter introducing me to the Department of Rivas Director of SILAIS.  Both of these kind individuals decided that I didn’t need permission from SILAIS to begin the program.  They also thought this was a good idea.  Now the last person I have to meet is the Alcaldia/Mayor of Tola to let him know what I want to do and see if there is anything I need before undertaking a proper beginning.  Incidentally Tola is akin to our county in the US and the Departments are like the States in the US.  I live in Limón Dos, Tola, Rivas. 

There are a couple of interesting things going on here in my compound.  One was the internet tower which is 72’  that was a riot of watching.  Three IBW individuals—the internet company—arrived at 11:30 pm–yes, I mean 11:30 pm–, two men and one young woman who spoke a few words of English.  I received a call at 5:30 pm from her saying they were coming from Rivas, a one hour drive.  At 9:30 pm, I went to bed and was sound asleep when they arrived.  So out I went in my shorty pjs and flip flops.  Needless to say the commotion in the backyard with us out there created pandemonium with the dogs, kids and adults who weren’t sound asleep as yet.  In addition to this late arrival, I must also mention that the pump to our well was broken and there was no water.  Pandemonium lasted until about 12:30 am when the only folks up were the IBW 3 and me.  Since the task at hand was to dig four holes for placement of the tower and the guidewires and concrete the holding devices in place, it required making concrete.  Concrete making requires water.  The young woman rigged a pulley over the well and bucketed water out while I held the flashlight so we could both see where the bucket was.  Meanwhile the men are measuring the spots to put the holes and then digging in this rock infested dirt.  Rocks in W. Sacramento are small river rocks.  Rocks here are volcanic and can run from small to table size.   For the next two hours four batches of concrete were made from the materials in the back of their pickup truck.  I was now holding my large flashlight through the bedroom window to add light so that more than one project could be happening at the same time.  At 2:30 am, the process was over.  The three IBW folk laid out a tarp and a lounge chair pad outside and went to sleep under my bedroom window.  I at least had my bed. 

At 6:00 am everyone was up and ready to go again, including me.   The next event was cutting branches from the two tall trees that would interfere with the guidewires.  Sr. Juan Guzmán, the pardron of the compound age 67, tied his machete to his waist and climbed up the trees like a monkey and chopped the allocated branches.  At one point the wind was so strong, he tied himself along with the machete around his waist to a branch.  As each large branch fell there were shouts from the kids and a scramble for the fruit of the one tree that is like a nut.  The IBW crew was picking these up too.  After all the branches were cleared, the woman donned a long sleeved shirt, tied back a bandana and sunglasses, and she was the one putting these 8’ sections of the tower in place as the guys hoisted them up with the same pulley she had used for the well project.  I have to tell you that not only was the wind at one of the worst days for velocity but that it was also hotter than hades that day.  After about two hours, the woman had lost her strength and the youngest man changed places with her putting up the last 8’ section. 

I don’t know what time they left since I had a lunch date with some friends from Rancho Santana and left the compound at noon.

One week to the day later, another crew came out and put the antenna on top of the tower and then drilled a hole into my bedroom window casing for the wiring.  This crew was also very accommodating and ran the wire where I wanted it—up along the ceiling and through the piece of furniture that is really a buffet but acts as a storage area in my bedroom—and currently is my office.  It all works well.  The router is connected to a server at RS so I can call them for help if service goes down.  So far so good and I can now print documents and scan to send, as well as use my MagicJack.

I have been studying my Spanish for at least an hour each morning and it is improving poco a poco.  No doubt my daughter Rivka would still laugh at me but I am getting fewer weird looks from the family members here as I speak to them.  No English spoken by all in the compound except Lidieth.

There are so many things that I could write about but I would prefer to stop here and send along some photos again of the two worlds and how it looks from my new home.

PS.  I do have to mention that I am putting pedal to the metal to get enough money to build on my lot in Guascate.  The view from there is outrageously beautiful and although I’m sure there is dirt there too, it can’t be as bad as living here on the dirt road with the wind.  I think I eat a pound of grit a week without trying. 

The photos are:  Please ignore the date stamp on the photosImageImageImageImageImageImage:

My car and me in the back of my house before the internet tower.

Me before my own internet at Rancho Santana clubhouse.

THE tower.

Sr. Juan Guzmán feeding a baby parakeet that was one of seven from an abandoned nest up in the mountain.  He currently has nine parakeets/chocoyos that he is feeding until they can fly away on their own.  The one in the photo didn’t even have its eyes open yet.

A typical sunset from RS.

Lidieth and her uncle, Juan Guzmán, Jr. singing for Marjory Clyne’s Birthday

News from Nicaragua – February 2013

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2005-01-03 05.50.27News from Nicaragua – February, 2013

For those of you who have interest, I will attempt to write a short Newsletter each month. It doesn’t seem possible that I have been here almost a month already. Time flies when there is so much to do—aha, you thought I was going to say, when you are having fun.

My friend, Marjory Clyne, and I arrived without a hitch with my 15 pieces of luggage/crates. We swept through customs with the man opening only one crate out of three that were pulled aside. Since I had numbered each crate and had an inventory of each number, when he opened the first crate, it had exactly what I had read to him. When he gave me the numbers for the other two crates and I read him the inventory, he didn’t bother to open them. My NI friend, Ana Zavala, picked us up with her SUV but it wouldn’t hold all the luggage so she had to take Marjory and half the crates on the first trip and come back for me and the remainder. Fortunately the hotel where we stayed was only a five minute drive from the airport. Ana kept all but four of the pieces of luggage in her garage in Managua. She picked us up at the hotel the next morning, took us to her house where we loaded a pickup with everything. After many stops to purchase stuff for Ana’s clients and for me, we finally headed off to the village of Limón Dos where I live. Since the truck was loaded to the top and Marjory and I holding stuff on our laps, we took the longer road to our area and arrived here about sunset.

The first two days Marjory and I unpacked, moved stuff at least twice and settled in. I picked up a rental SUV owned by one of my friends in RS who lives in FL. So with wheels, I began showing Marjory around a bit. She told my daughter that I knew everyone in NI. The first weeks that seemed to be the case since everyone both local and gringo were happy to see me and stopped by the house or came to greet us at Rancho Santana where we had to go to get internet connection. Marjory was in the Peace Corp in Samoa in her early life so she wasn’t put off by the area where I live.

There are seven casitas in the Guzmán compound, some are three sided buildings, some are regular casitas. In the backyard there are cows, pigs, chickens, dogs, and birds that make noise at varying times during the day and NIGHT. It took us about three days to get used to the noise. The compound is on the main road so we also have trucks, cars, motorcycles, dogs, and cows going by and making noises too. Marjory was hysterical yelling at the barking dogs—as if they cared or would listen to anyone.

After introducing Marjory to a lot of people and showing her RS, and my new property, we planned a trip to the island of Ometepe located in Lake Nicaragua. My retired nurse friend Carol Dorsett—from Temecula—who lives at RS went with us to show us the area. We took the ferry from San Jorge to Ometepe and stayed at Charco Verde, an ecological hotel and reserve on the Lake. It was a great overnight stay. I had never been to Ometepe in the seven years I have been here.

The car that I was renting from my friend was muy malo. I had to repair a bushing on the transmission the first week and it was in the repair shop in Rivas the whole time we were on our little trip. Fortunately, I have enough friends who know how and where to get things repaired at a reasonable price. Marjory left for her return trip to San Diego from San Jorge when we got off the ferry. I picked up the sick car in Rivas and followed Carol back to my area. I decided it was better to return the car to my friend’s house, put the cover back on it and take the three wheeled motor taxi in the future. MotoTaxi, called Tug Tug here, costs $3 per trip from Limón Dos to RS. The car was costing me $50/day and I was afraid the suspension was going to break plus the AC didn’t work.

After putting the word out that I was looking for a good car, and Ana was doing the same in Managua, my friend who is the RS engineer and development manager, called and said that he was interested in selling me his 2006 Toyota Forerunner. He let me use it on Tuesday to drive to Rivas-22 KM, dirt roads—to see if I liked it. The car was perfectly suited to my needs, 93 KM, automatic, diesel, 4WD, in excellent condition for $24K. We made the deal, he had oil change, new belts, air and all filters changed, four new tires and I got the car yesterday. YEAHHH. Now the next big project is to get internet here at the house so I can use my printer. Since I don’t have a USB to USB cable for my Apple, I am stuck for printing invoices and wholesale lists for the Bio2 Cosmeceuticals SunBlock that I am selling.

I found one great thing just before Marjory left—Google Plus Hangout. It is like Skype but you can have up to nine people in a hangout. So my kids and their families and I have had an hour hangout for the past two Saturdays. We can all see and talk to each other all at the same time as long as there is an Internet connection. Leah get a computer with a camera so we can see you her and family instead of a cartoon photo.

The weather here has been great. My little casita is quite comfortable with fans in three rooms and an AC in the spare bedroom which we never used.

The Guzmán family where I am living is wonderful to me. Sra. Guzmán and I share the same birthday. She has a little pulpería about ten feet from my front door, very handy for buying eggs, home baked bread from the outdoor oven, and incidental paper goods. I’ll send you photos.

I have attended four BDay parties since I’ve been here, three at RS and one here in the compound. Each had its own unique flavor and all in different areas with great food and comaraderie. It reminded me of the Nugget Bdays in West Sac at 6:00 am.

Until I receive consistent internet here, please hold your communication that isn’t vital as I end up with too many emails to deal with in the brief times I get to RS to check them. Since Leah and I are still a work in process as to bills, banks, and other necessary business, those issues take precedence in my attention. This doesn’t mean that I don’t want to hear from you when I get consistent internet access.

There is so much to tell you all and in the future I think it will be easier. For now, take care of yourselves and each other.