Home Stay

We just returned from our first Nicaraguan homestay, something that would be impossible without M., who speaks pretty fluently at this point. Or at least it seems like it to me.

We boarded a Nicaraguan bus at 6 am, rode on a windy dirt road listening to loud Nicaraguan radio for about 2 hours (have you heard ¨Killing Me Softly¨in EspaƱol lately¿?), and were dropped off at an intersection in the middle of nowhere. Our instructions were to take the road to the left, walk about 2K, and look for a sign. We did find a sign for La Perla. The sign pointed into a cow pasture, so we entered the barbed wire fence, and headed across a field. I was getting a little nervous that we wouldn´t find the house, or wouldn´t feel welcome. Shyness prevails with me in these uncertain situations, where I feel awkward being a privileged white American among such poverty.

It had been about three hours since we´d had access to a bathroom. We stumbled upon some people, and fortunately, our hostess was among them. She brought us to her house, and I immediately went to use the outhouse.

As soon as I stopped thinking about how relieved I was, I realized that there was some kind of hole in the toilet, and my urine was not going into the pit, but rather, spreading all over the floor. I know. If you´re already nervous about being an ugly American, um, probably this isn´t the best idea -- to pee all over the hostesses floor within moments of arriving.

Our host family spoke no English, so I was able to tell M. my plight.

"I just peed all over the outhouse floor. Should I tell someone?"

M. has already started seeing me as sort of low-functioning, due to my low vision, poor sense of direction, and inability to speak the language. In fact, she´s started reading all of the signs to me, even the ones written in English.

She started laughing pretty hysterically, and saying she really hadn´t had that problem before, and wasn´t sure what the customs were, but she was sure it would dry on its own.

We were both laughing pretty hard by now, me mostly with embarrassment, but I felt bad laughing, perhaps because when I´ve gotten pedicures when the Thai women are laughing with each other, and I always feel like perhaps they´re laughing at my horrible feet, which, well, I wouldn´t really blame them. My point being that when there´s a language barrier, laughing can so easily be misunderstood.

At any rate, that´s all I have time for at the moment. Adios!


  1. do you happen to know the GPS coordinates of the outhouse, I would love to zoom in on it.... hope you are having a great time....

  2. I'm so glad to hear even the smallest details of your big adventure (peeing on the floor wasn't really what I expected, but that's OK). I may just go pee on my own bathroom floor now just so I can feel closer to you and like I am part of the adventure too. Or maybe I'll just hum "Killing Me Softly" for the rest of the day .....matame muy suavemente, la, la, la, la, la la laaaaaa.....


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