Rolando's reflection in the outside mirror of the van.

Rolando, our driver.

Rolando understands about as much English and most of us do Spanish, but he has endeared himself to all of us with his impeccable comedic timing and unmatched skill in the driver’s seat.

He works for the bus company hired by ProNica to get us from place to place during our stay. He picked us up from the airport and expect for our family stays in El Limon he hasn’t missed a beat.

Some of us were holding our breath when he backed the bus into a very tight space at Cayotepe. Some of us felt just a bit safer when he jumped out of the bus to guard the door after someone cat-called at the bus. And we all were impressed with the “Dad face” he put on when he had to shoo some neighborhood children off the back of the bus in Managua. (He has an eight-year-old daughter.)

There have even been suggestions that he teach us how to drive, or open a driving school. He’s excellent at his job and we are lucky to have him.

UPDATE: Last night (Jan. 13, 2014) we found out Rolando is the new driver for the Taiwanese Ambassador to Nicaragua! We couldn’t be prouder of our new friend. He will start is new job in two weeks. It will mean better pay and Monday through Friday reliable hours for him. Congratulations, Rolando! And congratulations to the Taiwanese embassy on the wonderful hire.

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Nathan with tonight's menu. He ate chicken.

Nathan with tonight’s menu. He ate chicken.

Nathan walked more than three miles for a hamburger. Every time we stop at a gas station or there is a chance to visit a grocery store he restocks his supplies of food he likes.

Nicaraguan food, including the everyday staples of rice and beans and tortillas, unfamiliar vegetables, sauces and juices have been a challenge for him. (He’s a picky eater back in Kansas, too.)

Although he may not be raving about the cuisine, the history major who lives between Ottawa and Williamsburg easily recognizes how much he is learning, how his perspective his changing and how he will question his history lessons for the “whole story” more often after we get home.

Nathan’s mom, Deanna, also is on the trip.

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