About Rewired and Retired in Nicaragua

I am a boomer economic refugee living the good life on Ometepe Island, in the middle of an enormous lake, in the middle of Nicaragua, in the middle of Central America.

There is a Crack in Everything


….that’s how the light gets in. ~Leonard Cohen

Perhaps “Anthem” by Leonard Cohen, which took him a decade to write, is the most meaningful message for our troubled world today. In honor of the life of Leonard Cohen, my photos of New Zealand bring me comfort and solace along with his lyrics.

There is a crack…a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.

Craters of the Moon

Craters of the Moon

The birds they sang at the break of day…start again…I seem to hear them say…do not dwell on what has passed away…or what is yet to be.

Rotorua hot springs

Rotorua hot springs

I can’t run no more with that lawless crowd…ah, but they’ve summoned, they’ve summoned up a thundercloud…and they’re going to hear from me.

South of Auckland

South of Auckland

There’s a crack…a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.

Rotorua

Rotorua

Every heart,  every heart to love will come but like a refugee

Redwood Forest, Rotorua, New Zealand

Redwood Forest, Rotorua, New Zealand

Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in. That’s how the light gets in.

Huka Falls, near Taupo.

Huka Falls, near Taupo.

Is Nature a Person?


“Everyone is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody.”
― Mark Twain

Traveling through New Zealand during our US Presidential election has been enlightening…to say the least. The Kiwis are dumbfounded and they, along with the rest of the world, shake their heads in disbelief. The dark side of our human nature has been exposed to the world like the dark side of the moon that never shows itself.

Human nature is very puzzling, yet even more mind bending is the perspective of New Zealanders that nature can be legislated to become a person. What a profound impact on our world if we could legislate our environment and treat it as Mother Nature intended.

Our baby…our only path to survival. New Zealanders take their guardianship of nature seriously.

We are the guardians…

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We are the protectors…

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We do not have dominion over all…

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We’re Leaving Our Babies


We’ve lived in Nicaragua on and off since 2004, and for the past six years we have been here permanently. We decided this year that we are going to wean ourselves off Nicaragua for six months a year. It is time for a change, if only temporarily.

We have had a love/hate relationship with Nicaragua for many years. The hate part is mainly because of the unreliable infrastructure and the brutally hot and dry months. The love part will always be the people.  Yet, as we age, we realize that maybe Nicaragua isn’t the best place for us to age gracefully year-round. After much thought, we decided to scratch our gypsytoes by traveling six months of the year.

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Our sweet bananas are ready to be harvested by our house sitters.

The best of all worlds is possible. Our goal was always to make Nicaragua our home base and travel extensively. But, that has not happened as much as we would like because we  built a thriving life in Nicaragua by planting many varieties of fruit trees on our property, rescuing dogs and cats, and developing a children’s library.

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The baby breadfruit tree needs TLC during the dry season.

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Home Invasions with Pork Legs!!!


“She wanted more, more slang, more figures of speech, the bee’s knees, the cats pajamas, horse of a different color, dog-tired, she wanted to talk like she was born here, like she never came from anywhere else”
― Jonathan Safran Foer

I am not a fluent conversationalist in Spanish, but I consider myself to be a fluent listener. When local slang words or colloquialisms trip me up while listening or reading Spanish, I become curious about their origins. It is kind of like one of our colloquialisms in the states; Why do we call the box in the dashboard of our cars a glove compartment?

This morning in La Prensa, there was an article about home invasions in Granada. I was so tickled I posted the conversation on Facebook.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: My Beacon of Home


The Weekly Photo Challenge is Local.

“There’s no limit to the human capacity for the homing sentiment.”
~ Edward Abbey

Like a beacon, our Concepcion Volcano on Ometepe Island is my guide home.

From the bell tower in Granada, Concepcion shows me the way home.

img_8374Concepcion volcano points the way home from the ferry in San Jorge.
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Weekly Photo Challenge: Life Watching the Water


The Weekly Photo Challenge is: H2O

“It is life, I think, to watch the water. A man can learn so many things.”                    ― Nicholas Sparks

Living on an island in front of the 11th largest fresh water lake in the world, I have learned so many things.

The ferries are our umbilical cord to the mainland. I have learned to tell time by watching them pass by our front door daily.
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An Update on Our Plunge Pool


I’ve done my water therapy exercises for my knee at La Punta Resort. But we have had many afternoon thunderstorms just as we are getting ready to leave for the pool. So, we filled up our plunge pool so I can do modified knee exercises.

The last time I wrote about our pool, we had started on the landscaping. These stone pathway forms are wonderful for a small patio, garden paths, and even a driveway.
landscaping-around-poolThe finished patio gives us easy access to the pool and keeps the dirt from accumulating in the pool.
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Weekly Photo Challenge: Living a Life of Nostalgia


The Weekly Photo Challenge is Nostalgia.

Living on Ometepe Island, Nicaragua is tranquilo and nostalgic. It is like living in the 1950’s where the quality of life and cultural values are revered. I see happy everywhere with  neighborhood communities reminiscent of my childhood.

Bicycling vendors sell ice cream and fruit cups from their carts.
img_1255A traveling bra salesman even sold me a bra while I was cleaning my beach! I never have to leave home. Vendors selling bread, nacatamales, vegetables, pots and pans, and herbs pass by my house daily.
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Let’s Get Real About Transparency and Donations


“Truth never damages a cause that is just.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

There has been a lot of talk about transparency in the political arena lately. However, my post is focused on transparency in giving. How can you be certain that your donation will serve others and not be used for administrative purposes? Can you earmark specific donations to an organization that has a tax-deductible status? What are the best crowdfunding and fundraising websites? And, how can you be certain that your donation to one of the crowdfunding websites will be used appropriately?

I’ve researched the best way for me to solicit donations for my little La Paloma Library in Nicaragua. I’ve debated on whether to apply for a 501(c)3 tax-exempt status or continue as I have been, seeking small donations through fundraisers and crowdfunding websites.

I am preparing for the future because what will happen to my little library if I move off the island, travel more often, or return to the states? Can it survive without me? I’ve invested my money and time in developing a comprehensive program to meet the needs of the teachers and the students. It is my legacy. So, in preparing for the future, I want to leave a program that will last beyond me with solid plans and financial support.

So, Let’s Get Real about Transparency and Your Donations…

I. Everything you need to know about your donations to a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization

This section gives me a headache! First, you have to determine if an organization is a charitable organization with a 501(c)3 tax-deductible status. According to the IRS tax-deductible donation rules:

The 501(c)3 groups receive the major part of their support from the public rather than from a small group of individuals. They also use the bulk of donated money to further their stated exempt-organization goals. The 501(c)3 groups include churches, hospitals, schools and groups that provide disaster aid, such as the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army and similar organizations.

If you would like to earmark your donation to be used for a specific purpose, it is important to know that charitable organizations welcome recommended designations, but that all gifts go to the organization and are subject to its control and final discretion. 

When a 501(c)3 organization receives a charitable gift the organization is required to submit a written receipt to the donor stating (1) the donee organization has ultimate discretion over the destination of the contributions; (2) a confirmation that the donor intends for the organization, not the individual, to be the gift recipient; and (3) an acknowledgment of the donor’s preference to support a particular individual.

The last point is ambiguous in this area of giving because qualified organizations must remind donors that improperly earmarking gifts may compromise the deductibility of the donation.

For example, if an individual wanted to make a monetary donation to my library, I could partner with a 501(c)3 charitable organization so the gift could be tax-deductible. However, there is no guarantee, according to the IRS laws, that an earmarked donation will be used for my library.

This is where transparency is needed. All donors to a 501(c)3 organization must receive a written receipt of their donation as well as be informed that the charity has the final say about where the money will be used.

It is too complicated for me, a one-woman operator. I can’t see the advantage of partnering with a 501(c)3 organization because of the excessive requirements by the IRS with no guarantee that my library would receive earmarked donations. And because of the tangle of bureaucracy involved in becoming a 501(c)3 organization, I would rather keep it simple. In addition, many of my donors are foreign donors whose donations are not tax-deductible because it only applies to U.S. citizens.

Tax Deductible Donation Rules

Fuego y Agua donations for my library and the La Paloma Elementary School.

La Paloma Elementary students check out the new book donations.


II. Crowdfunding and fundraising websites

Crowdfunding websites allow individuals and businesses to solicit donations for any kind of project by accessing a large number of potential donors. There are advantages and disadvantages to using crowdfunding websites and the potential for abuse is always a concern.

Best Crowdfunding Sites for 2016

I have used YouCaring to Help Los Ramos Rebuild after a devastating landslide that destroyed their community and for donations to support The Divine Women’s Soccer Team.

Transparency in seeking donations on a crowdfunding website is important. I believe it is imperative to respond to each donor, to be specific in how their donations will be used, and to be open, honest, and accountable for  the money spent.

For these reasons, I always write a blog post with photos about how the donations have been spent and help the recipients of the donations write a letter or make a video thanking the donors. Goodie Bags for Los Ramos    Los Ramos Says Many Thanks

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