Ometepe Six Years Ago


Ometepe  Click on the link to open the Powerpoint presentation.

When we left Ometepe Island in 2005, we helped our friend and Spanish teacher get a visa to visit the United States with us. It was no easy task. The Nicaraguans have to apply for a visa. First, they apply for an application and pay $100 for an opportunity to talk with an immigration officer of the US Embassy. The $100 fee is non-refundable. That means if they are denied a visa, then they lose their money and have to reapply at a later date….of course paying another $100 fee.  

We arrived for the interview in Managua at the US Embassy with a stack of papers, which included letters of recommendations, identification, financial status, and family ties. The US Embassy wants a guarantee that the person applying for the visa will return to Nicaragua, has the financial means to return to Nicaragua, and has strong family ties.

During the nervous two hour wait, we watched the door to the left of the waiting room. It appeared that the majority of people applying for visas were booted out the door to the left. They exited with tears, anger, and frustration. However, the few people that exited from the door to the right were jubilant. It was like watching “The Price is Right”. Which door will you choose?

When our friend’s number was called, we all entered the office with sweaty palms and shoved the stack of papers through a little slot in the glass partition, the only thing that separated us from our country of birth. The immigration officer asked our friend, “Where did you learn to speak English?” He replied anxiously, “From a Peace Corp volunteer on Ometepe Island.”  That sealed the deal. After a quick glance through the stack of carefully prepared papers, he received a stamp of approval and we skipped gleefully through the door to the right.

We told the immigration officer that we had developed a Powerpoint presentation for my local school in the states. Our young Nicaraguan friend would present this program to high school Spanish classes.

As I was searching through old files on my laptop, I came across the presentation. Many things have changed on our tiny island since 2004-05. I guess it is time to update my presentation. I hope you enjoy a blast from the past.

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