I came back from Nicaragua this May a sadder but wiser "wise fool" than when I headed down in January 2009. Strangely enough, I spiralled into a clinical depression down there this year, as I realized how dire things are with the peasantry of Northern Nicaragua and how hopeless I felt and still feel about exerting any change there: in 15 years of building bridges in Teote, nothing at all has changed for the better--though there have been better moments--things are getting worse, and I'm getting too old and unhealthy and poor to carry all that burden.
It's clear that my convenience as a channel of funds from North America (mostly personal dolares) has built me a house of Nica addiction to my money--Damn, Damn, Damn! Something I tried so hard not to do!--and my funds have mostly blown away with the Winds of Wall Street now: going down there fairly empty-handed was unhappy for me and too much bad news for the Betancos. Nothing worked right. To top it off, I felt unsafe there for 5 months because there's such crime and street violence, such starvation and homelessness and need, and everyone I know there came begging because they still think I'm a rico, which I have never been, because, to them, "all Norteamericanos are ricos." When people are living at the survival level, anyone with a steady income is a rico, no matter how small the income.
While I read a ton of books and worked on my garden in Teote, had a few happy times and new experiences, I came back up here depleted, shocked, even a bit traumatized by the trip, and I've been working to get back to emotional health ever since, with resilient success, thank Goodness. But I won't be headed back to Nica next winter.
Conditions will need to change there before I'll go back, though I'll still communicate with the Betancos.
Instead, I'm moving in with my brother in Elizabeth CO by October 1, ending my long residence in Glenwood Springs and Center, exchanged for a more cosmopolitan life lived under rural Ponderosa Pines in Kiowa County, much nearer to my kids and grandkids, concerts, ballet, and other fruits not available on the Western Slope.
New Page for CenterDoug to write on; I doubt if I will start calling myself "ElizabethDoug," however.