Tras haber creado mi anterior blog cecilmundo varias personas, muchos de ellos mis alumnos, me sugirieron que creara una secciòn dentro de cecilmundo para publicar mis obras de docencia de idiomas. Dado que la cantidad de documentos de explicaciones, ejercicios y exàmenes de inglès son muy numerosos porque tengo màs de 30 años del ejercicio de la docencia, preferì estrenar blog con mis alumnos a como ellos realmente merecen. En este blog planetcecil no solo iràn mis documentos didàcticos de inglès, sino tambièn la producciòn literaria de varios alumnos que se destacan en las letras. Tambièn darè oportunidad a aquellos que tienen excelentes obras pero que no han logrado publicarlas ya que en mi paìs Nicaragua todo se mueve por la marrana polìtica, y si una no pertenece a determinado partido no verà jamàs publicado su opus. Tambièn tenemos la desgracia de contar con seudoeditores quienes al no conocer verdaderamente de literatura se convierten en mercenarios de la imprenta solo para llenarse ellos mismo de dinero y fama a costillas de los escritores. Todos aquellos que deseen participar en este blog, denlo de antemano por suyo. Aunque lleve mi nombre en un arranque de egolatrìa, yo soy sencillamente vuestra servidora.Cecilia

Las alas de la educación

Las alas de la educación
La educación es un viaje sin final.

La lección de física

La lección de física
Casi aprendida

lunes, 22 de diciembre de 2008

The Quake

83rd entry to the Colonel´s Scrapboook
Birthdates which occurred on December 22:
1459 Djem Sultan son of Turkish sultan Mehmed II, poor chap,he stayed in Rome to avoid his brother Bayazid II but Pope Alexander V(Borgia)poisoned his pilaf and could never create havoc for his brother

1515 Mary of Lorraine France, pro-French Regent of Scotland, nasty mommy of Mary The Hot Queen of Sccots
1639 Jean-Baptiste Racine French dramatist (Andromaque, Phedra),loved to make people cry

1643 Rene-Robert Cavelier La Salle France, French explorer (Louisiana),named the southern part of USA after King Louis XIV but was destined to be killed by three of his own hired helpers
1819 George Eliot England, Victorian novelist (Adam Bede, Silas Marner)back then it was best for ladies to write under names with balls
Deaths which occurred on December 22:
1440 Bluebeard pirate, executed at last1603 Mehmed III sultan of Turkey (1595-1603), dies at 37, did his 16 brothers whom he killed await for him at hell´s gates?
1913 dies at age 69 emperor Menelik II of Ethiopia, negus negust,he defeated the Italians in the Battle of Adwa
1894 Debussy's "Prélude à l'apres-midi d'un faune" premieres with great scandal because Nijinsky simulated masturbation onstage
1972 an awful earthquake shakes Managua, capital of Managua, somehow I survived it


On December 22d,1972 hell came up to visit Managua. I was 13 years old, and it was not the first time that I came into contact with such a monstrous and Dionyssiac force of nature. A few years before, an earthquake had already hit the part of Managua called Centroamerica Colony. I had been visiting a classmate who had gotten her appendix removed, and she was so enthusiastic about having the teacher and several of her friends visit her that she got out of bed and ventured into the small living room of her house to have tea with us. Precisely on the pillow where her head had been before we came fell a huge block from the wall, something which would have certainly killed her. Our presence had saved her when she decided to get out of her bed. That had been in the sixties.
By 1972 I had grown very tall. The fact that I was into weightlifting had helped to develop my strength and stamina. Two important birthdays were in December, my sister´s on the 19th and my dad´s on the 21st. That year my mom had decided to throw a bash as there had never been one before,so she had stashed away goodies for around 200 people or more. The party was planned for the 23rd, because she and my dad would never miss the end of the year party thrown by the French Alliance in Managua. I remember that for the small dinner party she had for my dad´s birthday she had ordered me to make enormous bags of water to put to freeze for the upcoming celebrations. I had decided to disobey her and I put the bottles of soda into the freezer, planning to retrieve them before they burst. Somehow I forgot about them and 20 bottles of Coca cola exploded inside one of the fridges. I had to clean the glass and mess, almost cutting my fingers. That earned me a chastisement. I would be grounded and not allowed to go to the French Alliance party with the rest of the family. I would be left behind with my grandmother, who owned a huge house in the middle of downtown Managua. If I wished I could take my cat Torta in order to be in good company. So I did, knowing not even my dad would wheedle anything favorable for me beyond that.
It had been swelteringly hot for days before the earthquake. Our pets had been behaving strangely,particularly my Torta. A man even predicted that there could be any natural disaster. Others said they had seen like fireballs over Lake Xolotlán, the lake right next to our capital city. But many people were so busy partying and partying has been occupation number one in Nicaragua. It would prove fateful for many. My whole family paid not much attention to the heat and at 7 pm they went to the party,leaving me with my grandmother. At 8 my grandma,Torta and I had dinner along with a priest we used to call Padre Guaruso(The Drunken Father), a young Spanish priest who was assigned to the nearby Saint Anthony Basilica. We had a delicious brawl soup which made the priest sweat like a molten candle. After dessert of Three Milk Cake (called so because it contains evaporated milk, condensed milk and powdered milk among its ingredients), the priest went to the dormitory in the rear part of the church. My grandmother and I went to bed, and I was tucked in by my grandma along with my hairy cat. At 10:30 pm I was jolted out of bed by a strong tremor. The bedrooms were in the second floor, and the house had been built in the early forties. My grandma poked her head into my bedroom asking me if I was okay. She said she was a bit scared, so she asked Torta and I to join her in her enormous iron bed where she had manufactured my mom,four uncles and three aunts. We hoped everything would get normal again. Slowly the three of us dozed off.
We were violently awakened after midnight by two more quakes,this time much stronger.Ritcher 6.25. Felt on the second floor of a house, it was awful. The earth moaned like a hurt animal. Electricity went off, and debris from the walls fell all around us,making it difficult to walk. I remembered I had a small flashlight so I went to fetch it. My cat remained on the bed with my grandma. My mother´s mom had been a very grand lady who had never gone through hardships. It was difficult for her to walk on the torn bits of wall and ceiling on the floor. She demanded I bring her slippers. She said she wouldn´t walk barefoot. I knew that there was the risk that at any moment another shake could come and tear down the house. So I decided to lift her over my shoulders.She was a small chubby woman, so it wasn´t too much weight. My cat was also terrified, so she climbed on top pf my head as a Cossack hat and drove her nails into my scalp. The staircase had separated from the burnished wooden floor of the second story of the house. A huge gap almost 1 meter wide separated the staircase from the floor. So I geared myself for the jump with one person and one cat atop me. Somehow I made it even though I have always been lousy for long jump. The with the flashlight grasped between my teeth,I slowly went down the stairs. We finally crossed the huge dining room and went into the living room. Only one month ago my grandmother had changed the front door for a new one with the image of Diriangén in bas relief. It had cost her a small fortune. Now that door was stuck. We would have to tear it down to get out or the house could fall on us and bury us alive.
I decided to go to the backyard to get an iron pick in order to knock down the beautiful door. When I informed my grandma about my plans she burst into tears. Nevertheless that was the only way,so I proceeded to do what I still remember with disgust. It was the only way out. The splintered door fell away with a crunching noise and we were out on the sidewalk. All our neighbors were already out. We sat on the sidewalk in the dark, the dust making an eerie halo around us. To amuse my grandmother, I would shake Torta´s fur and tons of dust would emerge like a cloud. That finally got her laughing. By the time my parents and rest of the family finally came to see what had happened to us, we were chatting amiably and even making jokes. That is the Gueguense in us Nicaraguans, we are able to laugh in the middle of a great tragedy. It was the fact that I had been grounded that had saved my grandma´s life. If she had been alone,she would have died in the second floor unable to get down. Curiously, she had always criticized my dad for getting me involved in weightlifting because she always said it was not fit activity for “ladies of quality.” From the moment I picked her out of her bed, she never made any more disparaging comments about the sport and became my first fan. So when I started winning medals the first one to beam proudly was my grandma.
The huge town house my grandmother lived in and 7 more houses she had for rent in downtown Managua didn´t collapse, but were devoured when a huge fire came in from the San Miguel Market, 5 blocks away from the townhouse. My grandma had always refused to live with any of her married children, and now she had to move into my parents´house while she could solve her dwelling situation. For a proud lady, it was a low blow that destiny slammed into her solar plexus. A dusty kick in the ass,to be sure.
We never know how life chooses to teach us the hardest lessons, dearest reader, but life is sure one hell of a professor.
More than 50 thousand people among dead and missing.70 per cent of the downtown buildings in Managua collapsed. There was risk of epidemics due to the rotting corpses, some of which couldn´t be dug out despite the rescue teams we got from other countries. Help started to pour from everywhere, and the dictator Anastasio Somoza´s cronies stole it like crazy. Managua would never be the same. The Christmas celebration has been killed instantly. The cemeteries were full and new places where to bury the dead, sometimes in mass graves, had to be found. Whole families lay beneath the rubble. The scar on the Nicaraguan psyche would never heal, to the point that we now say “before the earthquake” or “after the earthquake” to pin time down. Of course, there had been another big earthquake in 1931, but the Quake is the one in 1972.
Ever since, I don´t fear tremors. My spouse may run out the shower only dressed in his shampoo suds without a towel, so afraid of tremors although he wasn´t in Managua when the Quake shook us.
Managua before the Quake was a small,compact,clean and safe city. Now it is a huge octopus with slums as tentacles, with a dead hole in the middle, and fear nestling among the cracks left by the fault that tore our lives apart in 1972. It is ugly,dusty and dangerous. The Quake not only gnarled the city apart, but marred the innocent bloom of the lifestyle we had, never to be naïve as the Managua before the Quake which I knew as a kid. Sometimes in my dreams, that compact Managua where I lived as a cosseted rich child comes back to greet me. It even sounds like Charlotte Bronte´s first lines of “last night I dreamt I went to Manderley.” Like my broken column, the Quake snaked along the fault it left on the city of Managua. It broke our lives into shattered glass shards through which we remember the Managua that will never be again.

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