I have officially passed the 1 month mark of being here in Nicaragua! I wish I could say it's gone by quickly, but it hasn't. This week I caught a really bad head cold (called 'La Gripe'). I caught it 4 days ago and just barely am getting over it, but I've still gone out and worked every day. It started with a sore throat and then I got a really runny nose and congestion and my right ear plugged up. The second day stuff was starting to build up in my throat and it was hard to breath and I would have a bad headache every now and then. I kept coughing to try to clear my throat, but it didn't help. It was pretty miserable. I'm pretty sure I had a fever than night too, but I took some medicine and that helped. The third day I was finally able to have some productive coughs and feel like I could breath clearly. My nose continued to be super runny and went through a ton of tissues. That night I started losing my voice and the next day I could barley talk. I sounded really hoarse and when I tried to sing in church, it sounded terrible and when I tried to hit the high notes, my voice cracked out and all you could hear was breathy air. So I didn't sing that day. That night it was so bad I had to revert to a literal whisper in our final prayer of the night. BUT it's loads better today. My nose has stopped running and my voice is returning to normal. Yippee!! I hate being sick.
The other night, Hna. Salinas and I were walking in the street and she pointed out this creepy 15ft. doll costume thing with limp arms called a 'gigantona'. It's worn by one person- they're underneath the skirt of the doll and can see through little eye holes, and the body of the doll stands upright above the person's head. They walk around with these things in the dark and twist to make them look like they're dancing and people follow them beating drums. It's some sort of tradition, but no one seems to know what it represents. It's creepy, but oddly fascinating. I'll try to send a picture.
I've discovered some delicious new snacks this week. This little bag of cherry sour type candies called 'cerezas'- each bag only costs 8 cents! This little bag of things that taste like cheetohs and also costs 8 cents- I think they'll called 'centavitos'. I tried this fruit called mando de China, or lichi, that like this spiky red ball and inside is the part you eat. It's white and has the the flavor of a grape, but the texture of an eyeball or a slug and that's all I could think of when I ate it. Not my fave, but Hna. Behan loves them.
We were supposed to have a baptism for a couple named Fransisca and Santos this weekend, but when we went to their casa for the baptismal interview, Francisca said that Santos was out drinking. We were so shocked! He doesn't drink! Why now? So sad. Looks like we're gonna have to work a lot more with them before they can be baptized. Drinking is a big problem here. I'll see drunk people sprawled out sleeping on the sidewalk. None of our investigators came to church this week. We even stopped by most of their houses before church to remind them to come and one couple promised they would come at 10 o clock, but they never showed. A lot of people here are very unreliable here and don't fulfill their word. It's super frustrating. That's one of the reasons retention rates in the church are so low. We had to drop like 4 families this week. It was a real bummer. We're working on improving our finding strategies and teaching skills. One of our investigators, Esperanza, is super great though. She has a expressed a desire to be baptized and we're hoping to teach her husband as well tonight. It's all about finding the people who are prepared and ready to listen and keep commitments. I think that's all for this week. I love you all and am so grateful for the emails! Love, Hermana Hawkins