replied to the thread TN to Nicaragua
on the Nicaragua forum on December 20, 2014:
I am a 22 year old soon to be graduate student and have decided to move to Nicaragua after graduating in a little over a year. I would love to know any advice possible from those of you that are there or have been there in regards to what to pack (or what not to pack), where to live, jobs, etc. Anything will help and be an interesting read for me! Thank you!
replied 6 hours ago with:
TN, you are young and don´t have the hang ups of these old farts, oh excuse me,I ment old folks.
Life is an adventure and a great game. But, like all games, there are winners and there are loosers. Just be honest with people and keep your ethics in and everything will work out. Have fun in Nicaragua, whenever you come.
Bring comfortable shoes or hiking boots and LOTS of money. Trying to learn the language and the ``culture `` and getting the simplest things done will tie you up for at least the first 4 months, or maybe the first 4 years.
Don`t get too fooled by the Camelot crowd--Nicaragua is a mid-level third world country rife with pleasant well-mannered people and drunks and thieves.
Although not an important country in and of itself, it is a charter member of the growing world alliance against democracy, with the political oligarchy well funded from abroad and likely to get worse, not better.
Best bet for making money is money laundering, perhaps tied to real estate development or speculation.
Welcome aboard, wander around, don`t get in so deep you can`t get out.
posted Enthusiastic AttaBoys to.........
on the Nicaragua forum on December 20, 2014:
replied to the thread Poverty
on the Nicaragua forum:
They were not kidding when they said this is a poor country. I watched a video of a group who got shoes for kids who worked at the Granada garbage dump so they could go to school instead of work all day at the dump looking for things to sell for food. (It seems kids will not be accepted at school without the proper shoes in this culture)
It ripped my heart out to see those poor mothers and their kids chasing the garbage trucks while they were driving in to dump so they could get a jump on the competition.
I have been thinking about what I might be able to do to help. I have never been one to donate money to anything because of the admin. costs etc. that get eaten up. I have on many occasions in my life given time and effort to help out, but my health is not that good anymore.
I have an idea I'd like to get some honest feedback on as to if you think it will help or just cause more hurt.
I want to adopt a Granada dump family and give them enough to get by on so they don't have to go to the dumb to dig garbage for food. I have been here in Nicaragua less than one month and I don't know my way around the city of Granada, nor the culture at all. I am going back to Canada in 6 months and have no idea how I would be able to continue to send money to a family from back there.
I'm not interested in a slap on the back here, what would be really valuable to me would be honest comments from experienced expats who know the people and the culture. Would this help or hurt? Thanks
Nicaragua is not a poor country. It is a rich country full of poor people, and always has been.
One has to wonder if earning one`s keep at the dump is so much worse than sitting on a sofa eating candy and watching cartoons all day.
replied on December 18, 2014 with:
I wanted to give an update. First, thank you so much for your comments. I learned a great deal from the experience of those who advised me.
I had pretty much given up on the idea of adopting a family and had found an organization that I like, and planned to volunteer some time and take it from there.
Then one day about a month ago I was eating in a restaurant near where I live and and met a young woman who worked there. She really busted her butt to give good service and checked in with me always about if it was good food and did I want another beer etc.
She reminds me a lot of my oldest daughter back home - really hard worker and very concerned about going a good job. Kind of rare here if you ask me.
So I asked her how much she earns here and it turns out to be $60 a month (if she's telling the truth) plus tips.!! It was late in the evening and her young daughter was with her because she didn't want to leave her at home without proper supervision. Her partner is a lot older and doesn't watch out for the kids as well as she does.
We all got to talking (through my cell phone translator) and I really like them. I asked about their biggest concerns in life (because they seemed pretty happy to me) and they told me the roof leaks on their tin shack and they were afraid it was going to fall in on them some night as the wood has rotted and tin is rusted. Also they don't eat every day and the kids stay home a lot because the don't have what they need for school.
I assumed it was all BS and sort of forgot about it. But I like that restaurant and kept going back and eventually realized that it could actually be real. I asked if I could come see the roof and maybe I could help. They were very excited and I went to see it.
I was shocked! Sewer running down the street. Pit toilets, many holes in the rusty old roof and the wood flacking off the four by fours that holds the whole house up. Walls falling down and she cooked by using a fire in the back of the house under a sort of tarp. Dirt floors and a bit of cement here and there with broken pieces of tiles added in to try to make it look nicer than it is.
There were 4 kids, her and her partner all living in an about 15 by 15 shack with gaping holes all over the place and water running through the roof (this was back when it was still the rainy season), and on to their beds - which were all jammed together into sections. There is running water but it is outside of the house.
There were pictures of times gone by, a few decorations and some Christmas lights that cost a few dollars at Costco back home.
The two older kids (about 12 and 13) want to be lawyer and Dr. and the younger two have no idea just yet. There is a lack of hope and a sort of acceptance that they are poor and this is their life.
But the mother, who seems to run the family, was worried sick about the roof falling in on the kids so I called a guy I met with some experience in Nicaragua to come take a look. He said it was "tragedy waiting to happen" and suggested this whole building was going to collapse at some point. He could not say when.
So for my volunteer thing I hired a company to fix the roof and replace the tin and wood that had rotted.
I asked the lady what she wanted for her future and how she felt she could support her family (since her partner does not seem too interested or healthy enough to help much) and she said she has idea's about running a bar and restaurant / store out of her house in the very poor area on the outskirts of Granada.
I was skeptical but it's turned out pretty good. I created a job for her in the short term (cooking / laundry and teaching Spanish for me at her house) and helped her the business going.
She is now selling enough beer / food / cigarettes etc. to earn a little over $200 per month if sales hold out. That's pretty good for Nicaraguan standards, I'm told. So I can back off with the job after another month or so just to be sure sales will hold steady or go up.
And everyone helps out! Even the little 5 year old. However the other night, I'm told, she got caught sneaking some of the treats the family sells into her bed and eating them up in the dark. (Normal for kid who's had nothing for so long, I think)
Anyway, it's been around a month and I've enjoyed this a great deal. I've spent maybe $3000 but I could have spent a whole lot less and still helped out. I'm very pleased with how good the lady is at running her new business and how seriously she takes it. She realizes that this is her chance to get a new life stared where she can have what she always wanted (a home based business where she could keep an eye on her kids and earn a good living).
I encourage everyone who is interested in giving something back to this beautiful country to try this on. Adopt a family. Mine has shown me so much love and appreciation, I can't even tell you how good it feels to be useful again.
If you want to help, there are tons of dirt poor families here who don't eat every day and who live in shacks that are falling apart. Do a little or do a lot. They will appreciate it a great deal and invite you into their lives and treat you like a king.
I pay them to cook for me when I go there and they would wait in the other room and leave me all alone to eat on this huge platter that was obviously designed for cheese and crackers etc. I asked why can't I eat with the kids and they told me everyone had to wait for me to finish before eating, as a sign of respect. When I told them I feel lonely and would rather eat with everyone else, they all gathered around and we eat together now.
Tell you what! I'm sure going to miss these people. It's just like having a family here in Nicaragua.
So please, jump in and help if you can. There are so many needy families here.
posted Nicaragua canal
on the Nicaragua forum on December 18, 2014:
My husband and I are planning on traveling for few months next year in Latin America and Central America.
We would like to know if there are travel clinic in Managua or Grenada, that speaks English and provide travel immunization shots.
It could be much cheaper to do it there than in the US.
Where do people living in Nicaragua get this kind of shots: (I believe some people need them)
Is there any travel clinic in Managua?
hotel maids in the US are vaccinated for hep b in case they get poked with needles than druggies leave under the mattress to hide them.
Some things are rare and the reaction to the vaccine can be severe. Yellow fever is an example, not much of it.
Hep A & B are both common, and I had no reaction whatsoever to the initial shot and booster.
There is quite a bit of Hep A in the US in certain areas. B can make you very sick, but it seems to be limited to specific demographics in the US. All US health professionals are inoculated against Hep A & B.
I would imagine your best chance of getting Hep B outside of the US would be during the course of seeking treatment for some other medical need.
replied to the thread Moving down to Rivas in January
on the Nicaragua forum on December 17, 2014:
I am moving down to Rivas in January for a 6 month trial to consider living there permanently. I will have golf clubs, surfboards, clothes, and a laptop for each family member. When we fly in, do we claim all those items on customs? Do we owe tax on the items? What do we give for "reason for visit? Extended vacation or possible permanent relocation for retirement.Any help or suggestions appreciated.
replied on December 17, 2014 with:
Yep - The reason I replied with the answer (Which I wrote completely wrong) is that occasionally someone does not understand the form & fills out that section with a long list of their expensive stuff. Then he has a problem inside due to the language barrier. Ends up OK but another hassle.
ps, big stuff like surfboards will draw their atterntion, but if it is used and you are a tourist the assumption is you will take the stuff back with you so it should not be taxable.
again, play dumb, don`t confuse them with anything other that you are here to have fun for several months, and hope for the best.
When I have shipped used stuff in by boat that is taxable, the used stuff was priced low enough I had no problem.
posted Furnished Rental in Matagalpa?
on the Nicaragua forum on December 16, 2014:
replied to the thread Use of portable diesel generator
on the Nicaragua forum on December 13, 2014:
I am considering buying a diesel generator for my house due to the frequent blackouts caused by frequent energy demands. They dont last long usually few hours.
The portable super quiet units are now quite affordable around $1200 vs gas units costing $300.00 for a 3Kw.
For safety reasons I do not want to use the gas units even though cheaper.
Does anyone know they are available in Nica or is it better to buy one in the US and carry it down. They weigh about 50kg
The electric God is not watching over Lasd Penitas or Poneloya.
replied on December 13, 2014 with:
Leon must be under the protection of some electric god. I've been living here for two years and haven't lost power more than four or five times during that period, from a few minutes to no more than a couple of hours when some scheduled repair was done by Union Fenosa (except once when some moron drove a truck into a pole and knocked it down).
replied to the thread Products availability
on the Nicaragua forum on December 11, 2014:
Hi everyone, When my wife and I arrived in Mexico to live a few months, we discovered certain things weren't available that we were accustomed to (like sausage for breakfast or pizzas, LOL)
We are moving to Nicaragua in late February. Some of our concerns for needing to know if things like Off!, mosquito coils, somewhat quality dog food, and K-cups exist in Nicaragua. We can live without the K-cups, but Off! is essential.
What about beef? It's hard to find beef lunchmeat or hotdogs here in Mexico, Pava seems to be the standard.
Are there lavanderias like here? or does everyone have washers/dryers?
Does TV programming include any English channels? Is it difficult to buy TV's there, or should we bring our own (we have one, want a 2nd one for another room.)
What about used bicycles? Our truck is a gas hog, we'd like to get around cheaper, and want to know if we should find a couple of bikes here in Mexico and somehow load them with everything else we're bringing, or can we find them there?
We are corresponding with a homeowner in Masaya, and likely will end up there, at least for the first few months. We are hoping our old travel trailer will make the trip!
Everything will be allowed with some effort on your part. If you look like tourists with a trailer you chances are very good that you will just get waved on.
There are a variety of scams along the way, try to do as much as you can yourself crossing borders. The "tramites" are all thieves, and some are much worse than others. Don't let the tramites take your papers, they will try to reach into the window and grab them. If they become oppressive, find a policeman and complain. Even if he doesn't understand what you say they will back off. They are like cockroaches.
You CAN do it all yourself. All of the officials are very friendly. If there are two of you, one person gets a passport stamp and remains with the vehicle, while the other get his passport stamped and takes care of the car documentation. Things like a ice pick into a tire for a robbery down the road are not unheard of. Just be extra alert at the borders, they attract a lot of scum.
A lot of copies of car documents, like titles and registrations. Passport front page and license copies. YOu will still need to get the odd copy of your passport page and entrance stamp, and you can't get those ahead of time. A bank bag or couple of fed ex envelopes to keep things straight. Don't throw anything out. I was once asked for my fumigation receipt leaving one of the CA countries, can't remember which, but I think it was Honduras. Had I not had it, I would have had to pay a bribe to exit. Most people would not bother to keep it, so it was a nice little racket.
If you have to pay a bribe, pay it, but don't be in a hurry. Sometimes it's easier to slip someone $5 so you can get on your way. Like, if some customs' agent wants to turn your trailer inside out, $5 is probably better than even the threat of a few hours in the sun. He probably won't do it,,,,,, how big are your balls?
It's an adventure, take it in that spirit, and laugh about it. Not that many people make the drive anymore.
I can't imagine anything you describe being a problem. Live plants and seeds can be a problem, seeds are easy to "bury".
Some nice "gifts" to take along are those butane lighters for barbecues, available in four packs at Costco or Home Depot, , cheap but flashy razor knifes from Home depot, those cheap LED flashlights.
Stay on the toll roads in Mexico unless you are sightseeing. There's gas, ATM's, some hotels, food. You can do Mexico in four days with the trailer. The Mexico toll roads are very nice, many equal to our Interstates, and you can drive at night.
Any Pemex with the room will let you park your trailer and use the bathroom. They all tend to be pretty spacious.
All the newer GPS units have Mexico maps and they are very good. This $100 will turn out to be the best money you spent. You still need to know where you are going and how you want to get there. The GPS will take you through Mexico City instead around on the bypass, the Arco de Norte. If you want to spend time in Mexico City ,, OK, but you don't want to drive through it unless you have lots of time (or you're very poor, the Arco de Norte is a $36 toll but worth every penny).
Not just springs, make sure you have good tires, and maybe throw a couple of spares on top. Trailer tires can be hard to find, no so car or truck tires.
replied on December 11, 2014 with:
My stuff was out 4 days after it went into the customs warehouse. I shipped the container I loaded in Miami myself. Had a MGA firm "trucking" company deliver it from there to Granada. Had a 20 foot with just my stuff. But i shipped my truck in a mixed container with a guy who sees one every other week and that was released same way in about a week.
That was 5 years ago, so do not know if things have changed .
I waited until I had my residency and had all the papers and stuff in order. If you don't do that, you can pay a lot and if you don't know about that you likely don't know about other stuff as well. Problems start there.
Driving it in like you did is a different case as you get a tourist visa and are technically not importing stuff into the country. Shipping it in doesn't pass the tourist test.
You posted before on here about knowing what you are doing before you do it….or something to that effect….I think that is a lot of the problem. Some (a lot maybe) don't do the homework and then it falls to pieces when the stuff gets here before they have their residency, or have it and don't know the rules. Customs is far from perfect, but if you are screwed up it makes it even worse.
replied to the thread Matagalpa to San Juan del Sur
on the Nicaragua forum on December 11, 2014:
I need to travel from Matagalpa to SJSD on Saturday morning and back on MOnday or Tuesday to Estelli. Any idea best way to do so? Am willing to ride share, but or other and happy to pay for gas of course.
I would ask on the facebook page I think it is expats in Matagalpa, jinotepe and estelli. I know Matagalpa come first. You can check the bus on www.thebusschedule.com.