Around San Juan
Business and tourism seemed brisk during the first month of 2010. There are lots of volunteers in town, as this is the season for many of the groups to come to help. The VOSH Eye Clinic brought over 40 volunteers – eye doctors and students – and treated more than 2,000 at the clinics. People came from as far as Tola to be treated.
The SJDS Biblioteca staff again helped by bringing eye patients to the clinic from the communities where the mobile book project works. Clients were fitted for prescription glasses that the doctors will make in the states and send down to be delivered.
Sally Lee, the editor-in-chief of Ladies Home Journal magazine, who came with the Vosh group to write a story last year (June 2009 Ladies Home Journal), returned again this year to volunteer.
The women’s Volleyball team from Eau ClareUniversityin Wisconsin visited town last months, sponsored by Comunidad Connect, and played against the Team Nicaragua at the ComunidadConnectSportsPark in mid January.
Comunidad Connect held a benefit concert recently at Crazy Crab and more than 250 people attended. They raised money for a new scoreboard and improved bathrooms at the SportsPark, as well as support for their Municipal Recycling Project. I am encouraged to see that efforts to support causes are being supported.
The University of Maryland Library Science students were also in town January as part of a credited study abroad program, which culminated with a book fair called The Carnival of Books, held in the town park. Students from Simmons Collegealso arrived to help the SisterCity program and their educational projects and the water and eco-stove programs.
All these efforts bring a spirit of camaraderie and connection. They also offer a significant help to the local economy by buying souvenirs, eating at restaurants, taking taxis, and taking tours such as the new like zipline course and turtle tour.
The cruise ships have been dotting the bay recently in increasing numbers; the Wind Star, Island Princess, the Seabourn Line and the Phoenix line all arrived in January. The cruise season is October through May, and their picturesque quality makes for an impressive seascape.
And if you’re in town when the ships are, take a peak for the artisan booths – there are always good things for sale.
Our Saturday farmers’ market is still going strong at the basketball court next to Escuela Integral. It’s a fine place to buy fresh produce and bakery goods, mostly from expatriates and friends.
Did you know you can buy Tica Bus tickets right here in San Juan del Sur now? No need to make that extra trip to Rivas. Just call 2568-2427. They recommend a three-day advance purchase and you’ll need your passport!
Stones and Waves Vet Clinic held their Spay and Neuter clinic the last week of January -with all services by donation. It may be one of the last held here. The Piedras Y Olas saga continues with business as usual but fewer employee faces remain.
Over 100 employees have been laid off in the past month or so due to their required austerity program. As the economic crunch continues there are many well-trained, English-speaking potential employees available in San Juan just now.
The San Juan del Sur Biblioteca is accepting resumes and police reports, etc, and will have a file on hand of people available to work. Contact is www.hjhprogram.com for inquiries.
This is also the season to pay property taxes in San Juan del Sur- one of the few towns besides Granada that have a large expatriate homeowner population. If you pay your taxes at the alcaldia before March 30, you receive a 10 percent discount.
And finally, we had a surprise guest who arrived at Hotel Villa Isabella on Jan. 23. The first birth at our hotel! At around 10:30 a.m., a baby girl was born in one of the condo apartments.
Mike Iacoboni provided the “room at the Inn” as it was decided there was no time for a hospital birth and a taxi birth was out of the question! Vanessa Pattison supervised the delivery.
Mother, father and daughter Penelope are all doing fine. Mike is still a bit shaky about the whole experience, but beaming and proud of his part in the drama.
Let’s keep on keeping on this year!