The holidays have come and gone here at the Mariposa, and we’ve had many fun activities during the season. There was a holiday lunch for the entire staff as well as all of the hotel guests on the 24 of December, which also happens to be Paulette’s birthday. Bergman and the rest of La Mariposa showed up at 5:30 am to watch Paulette be serenaded out of sleep by a Mariachi band – a Nicaraguan traditional birthday present. All of the teachers and hotel guests were waiting for the surprise to take place. Paulette and Guillermina were indeed very surprised, and it was a very cheerful (and early!) Christmas Eve morning.
Around noon, everyone met at the beautiful Bar Emma, where we had lunch and a Marimbo band to dance to. Gifts were exchanged between the staff, and Bergman played the MC. Paulette also pointed out and acknowledged every group of staff who helps make the Mariposa and all of its’ projects work. The hotel guests also got to see the staff outside of work and experience a little taste of the Nicaraguan holidays. Paulette was honored with presents and cake at the party, and everyone felt very appreciated and full of holiday spirit.
For the 25th, Paulette took a group to Laguna de Apoyo to relax, swim, and enjoy the beautiful views. All in all, Christmas at the Mariposa was very tranquilo and full of good spirit. Several members of the Mariposa family really benefitted from the season of giving, and these were the 3 new turkeys that Paulette rescued from becoming a Christmas meal. They were found in the markets of Jinotepe and brought back to live out the rest of their days in safety and comfort.
For New Year’s, a group from the hotel went to Granada. They spent the day touring the beautiful city, taking a boat ride on Lake Nicaragua, and generally enjoying each other’s company with food and relaxation. Back in San Juan, it was a lively affair with constant fireworks and homemade munecos, or life sized dolls stuffed with explosives.
Starting off in January, the first order of business was to repay Bergman for his kindly gesture to Paulette. So, on his birthday on Jan. 2, members of the Mariposa gathered at Bergman’s house at 5:30 am to serenade him with the same Mariachi band. Later on at the Mariposa, Bergman was given cake and sung happy birthday by staff and students alike.
One of the biggest projects that we are just getting going here at the Mariposa is our organic box project. Paulette and Laura, one of the interns, are working very closely with a distributor in Managua to develop a market for selling and delivering organic vegetable boxes. The idea behind this project is to encourage local people in La Concha to grow their own organic vegetables and sell most of them to families in Managua. The remainder are for family consumption. With this program, these families can hopefully have a steady income that they can maintain over the years. Laura and many of our volunteers have been helping construct these huertos, or garden plots, so the families can begin growing these vegetables. The organic box is going to consist of seasonal vegetables that are native to Nicaragua and grown without pesticides or toxins.
Centro Infantil is also another project that Venice, one of the interns, works very closely with. La Mariposa sends volunteers to help out at a daycare in the neighboring Santiago community. Open from 8 to noon, families can send their younger children to be fed and looked after while they work or attend school. A project is underway that will allow us to clean, renovate, and paint thedaycare. The repainting will include anew mural which will also involve the kids in designing and painting. This project is expected to go over the whole of January, and the daycare will be up and running again in February. A bright mural will be a great addition to the daycare!