Category Archives: Videos

Video: Nicaragua Clinics 2017

By: Taeler Kallmerten

Texas State University’s Interprofessional team travel to surrounding communities of Masaya, Nicaragua to provide free health clinics to locals.

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Hotel Cooks in Nicaragua share their truth

Hotel el Raizon is a Nicaraguan hotel located in between the cities of Masaya and Nindiri that specializes in group housing. The owner prides herself on the feeling of home that visitors feel. Although her immediate family lives in the hotel, the true family feel comes from the staff.

I was saddened to know that the joyous relationship I believed I felt was not present amongst the staff and the owner. To the kitchen staff, it was merely a job. I felt a hesitation when speaking with them. The translator looked to me and said, “She is scared she is going to get in trouble.”

Paula Mejia, age 56, and Yahel Ortiz, age 32, both walk from their homes each morning to the hotel before dawn and often leave after nightfall. Their duties are not only confined to the kitchen, but also maintenance of the lobby area. They begin their day preparing the food for breakfast. The kitchen staff consists on 4 women who cook and serve. The daily menus are chosen in advance by the owner. The staff sometimes serves several large groups at once time, often preparing different meals for each.

Mejia began working for Hotel el Raizon over 10 years ago. Meija first worked there for five and a half years. She ran into difficulty when trying to leave and find another job. When she returned to the owner in search for a letter of recommendation, she was instead offered her position back at the hotel. Since then, she has remained at the hotel for another five years.

Ortiz has been employed with the hotel for a year. Her sister first worked there, and when the hotel hosted a group too large, Ortiz joined them for assistance. She has since worked at the hotel as a cook. Her biggest upset working at the hotel is that she often gets home late and is not able to spend much time with her two daughters.

Over the two weeks the students were able to experience many meals key to the Nica culture. Some of these include the gallo pinto, nacatamal and quesillo. The students were also able to take a tortilla-making class led by the cooks of the hotel.

When asked what was most special about working at the hotel, Mejia had this to say, “I feel comfortable when some foreigners come and treat me like a person, like I exist. They talk to me and treat me with good manners. They don’t complain about the food; they are thankful and treat me well.”