10. I am grateful for generators. Our Puesta del Sol neighbors rented a generator for their premier film festival. It was a good thing, too, because the electricity was out for hours that night. Over 100 people attended the premier of ten short films created by a group of Quebec film makers.
9. I am grateful for sugar…brown and powdered. Even though we had to cross the lake to buy bags of powdered and brown sugar, I couldn’t have made my Christmas cookies without them. Sweet treats for all my wonderful neighbors and friends.
8. I am grateful for cool tropical breezes. Ron and I bought kites for the neighborhood kids for Christmas. December is a windy month…just right for sailing kites over the lake.
7. I am grateful for a Miami IP address. For days, I had been unable to get access to my blog or any WordPress website. I was frantic! Fortunately, with the purchase of a Miami IP internet address, I can reach my blog, as well as Pandora and Hulu, which are blocked from other countries. Unfortunately, my speed is still too slow for streaming video.
6. I am grateful for Skype. Six years ago, communicating with family and friends in the states was difficult. We had to walk over a mile and a half along a rutted black sand beach path to town. Then, we had to call from an internet phone to reach our family. Now, we have the internet in our house, and we can make daily Skype calls to our families.
5. I am grateful to be living in a place where tolerance and respect for different lifestyles is accepted and welcomed…where drag queens provide the entertainment at Christmas celebrations and people of all races, nationalities, and cultures dance together.
4. I am grateful for running water. Our extended Nicaraguan family in Los Ramos walks over two miles, one way, to get water from a well. In six years, they have been able to save enough money to run water lines, buy a pump, and prepare for running water in their homes. Now, they need to buy a $2,000 transformer from the electric company to run the pump. They are performing historical plays about Ometepe Island and asking for donations for their plays. It will take them forever to collect enough money to buy a transformer! I am detemined to help them, so that they can have running water in their homes soon! If you would like to make a donation for the transformer, or if you know of an organization that gives money to help rural communities supply running water to their homes, please contact me.
3. I am grateful for the opportunity to experience an old-fashioned, traditional Latino Christmas. My senses are bombarded: The church bells peal, the bombas explode with acrid smells of gunpowder, parades composed of drummers and trumpets march through the streets, radios blare Jingle Bells and traditional church music throughout the community, children dress in their frilliest clothes, and colorful Christmas pinatas sway in the wind in all their glory.
2. I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of my local community. Several days ago, friends walked to our house from town. They asked Marina, if she could direct them to the gringos in La Paloma. Marina pointed next door and said, “Debbie and Ron live next door, but they are not gringos. They are Nicaraguan and part of our family.”
1. Finally, and most important, I am grateful for my family and friends throughout the world sharing love, compassion, and peaceful understanding this holiday season.