Monday, December 22, 2008

The Amenities of Casa bE

The bE house is located near the southwest edge of paved Bluefields and across the street from Dr. Bacon, who also happens to be the mayor of Bluefields. But it doesn’t look like we live across the street from a mayor, and someone might be pulling our leg about this.

The main bE house has administrative offices, a kitchen staffed every day but Sunday, a concrete patio with an all-purpose ping pong table, and six simple bedrooms. There are currently eighteen bE volunteers, and three protocol houses down the street provide additional sleeping quarters. Most actual work occurs further down the street at the local technical school, INATEC, which has developed a curriculum and technical workforce around the development and manufacturing of the bE systems. From a bar called La Loma, one can see three bE turbines turning high above the campus.

Things tend to be slightly more organized and pleasant here than one might expect. The other volunteers tend to be around our age and generally cooler than us, so it’s a good time. The local staff takes care of lunch during the week, provides laundry and cleaning services, and orders all the food for the house. Water runs through a well and rain catch and do-it-yourself plumbing (there are ceramic water filters and chlorine drops). The laundry and showering schedule, like pretty much everything else along the Nicaraguan coast, is heavily dependent upon the weather.

If the coconut bread in the container is out, check the freezer. Don’t expect any warm showers (you probably won’t want one). Pick an empty mattress, string up your mosquito net, and make yourself at home.

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