I awake on Friday morning early to hear loud shrieks of “Peta Peta Peta’ outside the front door. Ben had opened the door on our first morning back to walk the dogs before leaving for meetings and was greeted by the four little girls (Sylvia and crew) outside the house. Ben explains that I am still sleeping and they should return later. I hear them outside the front door waiting for me to get up and let them in. This is the group of girls that I got into school and bought the uniforms for. Most days they stop at the house after school to have a snack and a drink before heading home. The day progresses with groups of kids coming by to give me a hug and say hi. I feel popular and happy to be home. My favorite neighbor, Hugo comes by and we sit together in the swing chairs talking for about an hour. He is happier than when I left two weeks ago, when one of his uncles died. I was walking towards the house one day when I saw a coffin and flowers on the sidewalk around the corner. Hugo told me he had been to ten funerals in the nine years of his life.
I am dismayed to read in the paper that due to the current drought in Nicaragua (and other countries) there is going to be a famine early next year as crops are dying due to lack of rain and farmers cannot plant for the same reasons. This is the rainy season and usually by now there has been significant rainfall. This is very distressing as there are so many people already struggling to make it day by day, that the added stress of severely reduced crops is going to have a major impact. We can only hope that October yields rain – which will be help, but a lot of the damage to farmer’s crops has already been incurred.
Ben’s sister arrives early Saturday morning for a week. She is coming specifically for some intense life coaching from Ben. She insists on being his first “paying” client. Her life is in transition and at a crossroad and as soon as she arrives the two of them start “working” at changing her life. In the last 12 months, she has sold her 20 year old business, sold her home, became an empty nester and divorced her husband. As C walks in the door, huge charts of “alternative futures” are already up on the walls awaiting her input. No matter that she took the night flight and therefore had not had slept for twenty four hours… Sunday, we rent a car and head for the beach.One and a half hours later we are in the Pacific Ocean at San Jan del Sur and eating lobster tails, while the dogs chase each other on the beach. We are on the way to show C our beach front property. It’s a forty minute bumpy drive from San Jan del Sur up and down the rough roads through the country side. Ben’s cross examination of C’s core goals and hopes for the future continues as the scenery changes. We stop to pick up some people waiting for the bus and they join me and the dogs in the back . There is a young couple with a little baby, a mathematics professor, an unemployed mother of four and an older woman whom we drop off along the way and who still has 14 kilometers to walk (in the heat, with her bags) to her destination. There is a lot of animated discussion about the lack of rain and how the rivers are all dried up and how “seco” (dry) it is everywhere. The parts of the drive that are usually the most challenging, ie driving through the rivers, are now reduced to a trickle of water. There remains the standard issue of navigating past or through incoming cattle herds. Along the way, we stop for one more swim at Ostional Beach, which is a fishing village within walking distance from our property. The coved beach is deserted, except for a few pelicans diving in and out of the sparkling waters. We go in with our sandals on as we have been warned about the potential dangers of getting stung in this area by stepping on sting rays.
The beach property is atop a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean with the mountains of Costa Rica, blue, in the background. We are close to the Costa Rican border and rumor has it that in years to come a border point will open just thirty minutes from this location. The property is overgrown and its hard to see through all the trees, but with a little imagination one can visualize the view once some of the branches are trimmed. We imagine a bamboo, green, low carbon foot print octagonal house, being built here one day. We make our way down to the ocean from the property. There is the start of a pathway, which leads through the ravine and the dry river bed, to the ocean. The cuidador (guard) of the area collected branches and used them to create the steps and the rails down the side of the property. We get back to Granada just in time for C’s well deserved massage from Claudia (kick ass massage, $20/hr – hence her 3rd massage this week!).
Four days of intense “pushing beyond the point of comfort”, the business concept that C came with was adjusted to take into consideration quality of life priorities. As a result, this changed everything and now instead of heading back to a high expense life style in LA she is headed for three months in France.