Monday, 25 February 2013

Copan Ruinas

Today we went to see the famous Copan ruins. We met our guide and looked at the layout plan. There were temples , courts, plazas and lots of ruins. We then went into the mini bird sanctuary. There were giant macaws everywhere and I got a picture of one flying over my head in mid air. We looked around the sculptures. They were mostly replicas with the real ones in the museum.

There was a king called 18 rabbit because his picture had 3 bars that each represented 5 and 3 dots for 3. His face was a rabbit so he became 18 rabbit. After that we explored the ball court that was where the hero twins had a ball game. It was different to modern ball games because they were the Mayans. It reminded me of Zeus and Hades. We held one of the balls in the museum and it was so heavy. I could not lift it. They used a leather belt tied around their hips to protect their bodies. They could only use their hips and thighs to knock the ball around the court.

The place was a bit weird because the buildings were constantly being built on top of old ones. Archaeologists found a whole preserved temple underneath a pyramid. It was bright red. They also had altars for sacrifice that had grooves to let the blood run out! This one was also in the shape of a turtle.

We learned about the Mayan calendar. They have 18 months in the year and 20 days in each there were 5 days spare at the end of the year. I am POP rather than a LEO in their zodiac.

No one really knows why the Mayans disappeared from their cities. Some people believe they made too many demands on the land such as for food production, and clearing wood to burn.

After having a fabulous time we went to Macaw Mountain. Macaw Mountain is a bird rescue centre. W saw rescued parrots, toucans, macaws, lots of owls that had been hit by cars and some hawks. A guide showed us around and then we got to hold parrots and macaws. I held a parrot on my shoulder like a pirate.the scarlet macaw bit me on the head and pulled my hair. After that we went swimming in a river. We jumped into the current and it pulled us downstream. It was a great day and the cool water was such a treat on the hot day.

El Maestro Luchador - a first film review by Oscar

Yesterday in Managua we went to see El Maestro Luchador. This is the story of a man who risked his life for someone else's dream. When a head teacher cuts money for music Mr. Voss decides to help by being a fighter. The main character was Mr. Voss, a boring old teacher that changed to a cage fighter. A man called Nico helped him to learn the rules. Nico taught yoga and boxing. He was from Holland and studying to become an American citizen. The music teacher helped him train.
Music is very important in life. In the story he had rock music first to enter the ring because it was supposed to scare the opponent. The music made him seem powerful and strong. After a mistake he had calmer, more peaceful music that at the end the school orchestra played. I really liked the music and the film. I would give the film 9 out of 10 . I thought it was a bit violent.
I think I would like to learn an instrument now, perhaps the violin.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Visit to Oscar!

Lunes 19 th febrero

Today we met our PLAN sponsored child ,Oscar. First we drove for one hour to get to head office to meet our translator and film crew. When I saw the big camera I was scared, excited and very surprised all at the same time. First of all we went to visit Oscar's mum. She was really welcoming and gave us lots of hugs.
Next we went to the school and Oscar became a celebrity. We met him at the gates with hugs and handshakes. After that we walked around the classrooms. We talked to the children and looked at all the things PLAN had donated,especially to the new kindergarten.
Oscar's classroom only had one wall for the whiteboard and a roof. There were no tables but every student had a chair with a piece of wood on it as a mini table. I think these tables would be really hard to write on and where could you do art or science? I think they just used books.
Next we went to the 'mothers' house. Here they check on the pregnant ladies and then they wait here before they give birth. Lots of the mums live along-way away in outlying villages and so it's safer to bring them to this health centre.

We were given a PowerPoint presentation next by two children. They represented all of the villages children. They had been voted in by their peers and had to go to the mayor and tell the towns council what they wanted. They talked about the rights of children for example the right to play and to live without fear.
Next we went back to Oscars house. We played on his 3DS and PS3. I was surprised that his roof had holes in it but he had more DS games than me! Then his mum called us to the table for a meal that we had not expected. We had corn tortillas and a lump of meat that we had to try and eat with a spoon. It was impossible.
After that we gave Oscar and his family some presents. I had chosen an Air Hogs Vectron Wave, Chinese coin trick and a Rubiks cube. We had glass necklaces for his mum and sister. We showed him how to work the toys and then unfortunately we had to go back to our hotel. There were some tears as we said goodbye. It was a really memorable day.

Please consider sponsoring a child with PLAN. It really makes a huge difference to lives.Due to privacy rules we can't publish a photo of us with Oscar but we do have lots of photos for our own album.*Brand%20+%20Product_Exact%7CPlan%20International%7Cplan%20international%7CExact%7C24016159503%7Cg%7C&utm_campaign=*Brand%20+%20Product_Exact

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Selva Negra


Today we left the pyramid shaped Crowne Plaza in Managua. Before we left we went swimming.It was really cold so it was nice with the hot humid air. Oscar made little paper boats that actually floated.
After that we drove up to the mountains where it was really cold. We were squashed in a tiny car for three hours. We didn't even have room for our legs. We had to cross them.
When we arrived we headed straight for the huge playground and bizarrely we met some friends from Laguna de Apoyo.
Our cabin,a two bedroomed bungalow, was nice but absolutely freezing. We had to ask for more blankets and wear our fleeces in bed. The cabin was all on its own in the trees and had a great view from the porch.

Today we went to the restaurant for breakfast. It was the worst one so far. The pancakes tasted of lemon and the rest was really horrible too. What a rip off!
After breakfast we went on a farm tour which included a coffee factory, animals, worms and vegetables. We walked around the coffee factory talking about the process. Picking, shelling,roasting and shipping.
After lunch we went for a steep hike and I loved it because it was like doing rock climbing. We had to use roots for handholds. It was even harder on the way down but we did it! In my opinion that was the best hike we've done. This is a photo of mum and the monkey poo that hit her!

After a day in Matalgalpa we came back to Selva Negra for a night hike. We saw birds and smelt wild pigs. When we were walking we heard things rustling in the bushes. I was a bit spooked. When we were returning I saw an owl about 4 metres away on an electric cable. It was making really loud screeching noises. Seeing a wild owl so close really made my day.

Today we set out to find a geocache. Unfortunately we didn't find it. It was hidden inside a ruined house that had crumbled everywhere. The hint was 'near the crumbled wall' but they were everywhere and we had to give up. We've only got wifi and couldn't get close enough to be accurate. Then we went on another hike. We hiked up the Mosquita trail and came down Helen and Peters trail. There was a great mirador at the top and we had to walk for hours.
These of the roots of a strangler fig. It was huge.

Monday, 11 February 2013

The Mariposa Spanish School

Lunes Oscar
Today we had our first Spanish lessons. My teacher was really nice. She took us into town to get some Chips Ahoy. The shop was tiny and there was not much to buy.
In the afternoon we went to a cooking class. The lady dumped loads of dough onto a table and we had to knead it. Se poured in lots of melted butter. Then we all had to help roll sausage shapes. It reminded me of playing with Playdoh. We made hundreds and then had to turn them into circles like doughnuts.
Then we made empanadas. We had to make flat circles about 8 cm across then dollop some cheese and sugar in. It was a really strange combination but it was delicious when hot. Then we had to fold it to make a parcel and then use cling film to mould it into triangles. I made sausage roll shapes instead.
We put them all in large trays and then took them to an outside oven. It was really hot and made of fire.
When they came out we ate some and them took some back to school in bag.

Martes Oscar

Today was the best Spanish lesson ever. We played cards. It was fun. Then we went to the Vulcan Masaya. We looked around the visitor centre. I could see the volcano. When we got to the crater my throat hurt because there were poisonous gases floating around. Then we hiked to the old crater to watch the sun set.
After that we went into a lava tube. We had a torch and helmet. There were bats flying all around! i was a bit scared especially when they turned all the lights off and you couldntvtell if your eyes were open or closed.
Finally we looked into the top of the volcano. We had to put a fleece over our faces to protect ourselves from the fumes. We saw the glow of the red hot lava.

Miercoles Lex
Today we had Spanish lessons as usual but played hide and seek (Escondido). We also fed the monkeys. We accidentally made them really aggressive and they pulled Oscar's hair.

Today we went on a trip to see handicrafts being made. The first place we went to was the basket weavers. When we arrived there was bamboo everywhere. I realised it was the basket material. One man was cutting the wood into strips but he was cutting towards himself so we all thought he was going to cut himself.fortunately he didn't. The second man wasn't so lucky. He was weaving the bamboo and cut himself. Between the three men that make 8 baskets a day and each one they hope to sell for 2 dollars.
Next we went to a potters workshop. We had a little talk about clay and watched a demonstration of how to use the potters wheel. Me and Oscar were eager to have a go. I was first. It was much harder than I expected because you had to spin the wheel AND shape the pot.
Finally we visited a stone carver. He made statues like the ones on Easter Island in Chile.

Today after lessons we went to the zoo. I took my wildlife guide and I spotted half of the animals on it. There were macaws,ottery things,wolves, toucans,mammals,big cats, and more.They were all in tiny cages compared to their size. It surprised me that lizards seem to have bigger padlocks than the lions and both were smaller than the lock on my suitcase.They had three lions in a cage the size of a modern bedroom. There were also boys trying to feed rubbish to the monkeys despite a sign that said they could die. Around the corner I saw three owls that reminded me of the mariachi band of owls in the film " Rango". The event I remember the most from the zoo was the encounter with the tapirs. They were trying to get them to mate but the female just kept running away. Some men were chasing them in circles and had to dive to keep out of the way. It was really funny.

We went to Jinotepe on a minibus. There were 26 of us inside. Mum had no room for her head and I had to sit on a lady's lap. The market was crazy and I didn't really like it. We found a pizza restaurant though and the pizza was delicious. After we played in a park on concrete slides.

After breakfast we went on a hike. We saw thousands of pineapples and also ate some. In the afternoon we went horse riding and my horse dragged me through a bush.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Laguna de Apoyo

Tuesday 29th Enero


Today we went on a hike to Catarina. The hike took two hours. It was very steep, hard and rocky. Our feet hurt at e end.when we got to Catarina we had to get to the lookout point so we had to ask around to find out where it was. When we got to the mirador ( look out point) it was really windy. We found an ice cream shop and I had chocolate orange ice cream. It was dee-li-cious. When we were eating our ice creams we could see the rim of the crater and the lake that we had been swimming in. After that we looked around the shops. I bought another bracelet because my other one broke. Unfortunately we had to head back. We managed to get down to the beach and swim in tyres before tea.

Thursday 31 st Enero

Today we went kayaking it was brilliant. First I shared a kayak with mum and we kayaked a quarter of the way around the crater. When we got there I went for a little swim. The drop was really close so I threw a rock in it. The volcano didn't explode so that was ok! After that I had a go on my own. I could actually do it so mum walked along the shore and I kayaked.
After that Oscar made a fishing rod and we enjoyed playing with it.
Then some boys started to jump off the dock and we joined in.

Friday, 1 February 2013

A few days in Granada

Lex and Oscar

Sunday 27th January

I was thrilled today because we went fishing again. I liked today's fishing. We went on a small boat to a island to pick up our guide. She showed us how to use crabs for bait. We used a bamboo stick and fishing line. Between us we caught five fish and Lex caught the biggest one. The boy used a net and he caught some too. We went back to the lady's house. She had some skinny dogs and a very cute puppy. She cooked us the fish, rice and tomato salsa using a fire. Dad had the whole head including eyeballs. It was delicious. I noticed that their washing line was made from barbed wire.

Wednesday 30th January

Hijacked blog!


Today we volunteered at Proyecto Mosaico. This organisation gives volunteers the opportunity to help in projects all over Central America for a few hours or up to a year.
We followed directions from the tourist centre of Granada to an orange house in a very dusty street. Carlos our guide was waiting for us and explained some more about the project. Locally they work with children in one of the poorest areas of Granada, a short walk from the office. We were going to show the children how to make kites from rubbish and Oscar and Lex had to drum up business by running though the streets with them first.

We stopped outside a brightly coloured brick house. The houses were all the same and built by the government but each was a different bright colour as are most of the houses in this city. Each house had a barbed wire fence, an outdoor toilet, one room , and a small yard. We we were welcomed with open arms and taken to the yard where Carlos showed us how to make Eco kites. The idea was that the children could find the items needed on the streets such as newspaper and drinking straws. They were also shown how to make glue from yucca root flour.
When the children arrived they watched a short film about looking after their environment. A huge ditch ran across the back of the houses. It absorbs shocks for earthquakes but is used as a rubbish dump. Carlos explained to them that rubbish here would end up in the lake and on the beaches and the water would be used to drink. I think they were bit shocked.
We divided into groups and helped the children with their kites. Some used newspaper and some plastic bags with scraps of tissue and rubbish scraps for details like tails. They were all colourful and worked brilliantly. I'm not sure how much help we were but the children all seemed to have fun and come away with something to be proud of.
As the last ones finished it was great to see the boys running around the yard with the others seeing who could make the kites fly highest. Oscar ran with his kite all the way back to the city. A fantastic experience.


How to make an Eco-kite

What you need;

4 straws
Newspaper or plastic bag


1. Cut a square out of paper or a plastic bag about 30 cm square.
2. Squeeze the end of a drinking straw and slide into another. The double part should be about 5 cm. This makes the straw stronger.
3. Put the straws into a cross shape and tape them together in the centre.
4. Stick the four corners of the straw cross into the corners of the newspaper. Don't stick them too close to the corners though about 5 cm from the ends.
5. Next cut the ends of the straw off about three cm from each end. Cut a diagonal line where the straw used to be.
6. Now fold the edges of the paper square to enclose the ends of the straws.
7. Stick the edges with glue.
8. Stick a piece of cotton 15 cm long to three straw corners with tape.
9. Pull the three strings together and make a knot in the attach a longer piece of string to this central knot to fly your kite with.
10. Cut some strips of newspaper or plastic bag and attach to make a tail.
11. Add wings and any other decoration.
12. Finally you can enjoy flying your kite.