We had a good mix of gabbing with the locals and moving bricks. Meeting local people was an honest pleasure. I believe their patience, gratitude, and sense of community spread to our team, which has continued to respond to each other in a new and better manner.
I loved being able to be in relation with community members and to build lasting memories and relationships.
The home [health care] visits were incredibly amazing as well as what I got to learn from the [attending] doctors. The Spanish experience was also amazing and the translators were helpful and encouraging for me to do as much Spanish as I could on my own with the patients.
[We went to the] market with the scenario of needing to feed three people off $1.37. It was a huge reality check to see how difficult it was to wander around the market and have to bargain for food and barter when we didn't have enough money to buy an onion.
This boy made my day. It was our last clinic day and by this time I was able to explain the importance of and when to brush teeth pretty well in Spanish. While I was explaining brushing to him during his cleaning he would occasionally giggle at me. I thought that maybe it was because I wasn’t pronouncing certain words right. After his cleaning I wanted to make sure that the boy understood, so I called over the interpreter to ask him, "How many times a day do you brush your teeth?" He replied, "Two." I couldn’t believe that he spoke English. He laughed at the astonishment on my face. I then asked, “So you could speak English this whole time?!” He said, “More or less.” We all laughed.
On Building Relationships
I was so blessed to have been able to go on this trip, build relationships with the villagers, and shine God’s light. I will forever be grateful for this amazing group that took me in as family and hope to go back next year!
This trip was different for me than the other 3 I have taken. I felt a personal connection with many of the villagers. We are more than acquaintances, we are close friends.
Learning about ourselves and others
This was my second trip to Nicaragua and the best so far. During this trip, we spent more time building relationships and getting to know the people we are helping. I learned who we were building the stoves for and a lot about their family and who lives in their house. The families we were doing the work for worked alongside us and spent time talking to us during breaks.
I also had the pleasure of having a long conversation with Meyling, the mayor of La Flor. I practiced my Spanish and she worked on her English. We compared our jobs and responsibilities. She has several hundred residents in her village and I have several thousand. Her job is full time and mine is just part-time. She coordinates getting people to the doctor, making sure everyone has food and a roof over their heads with little to no money in their budget.
Five years ago, I went to Nicaragua and found myself. In each trip back, I’ve become reacquainted with the person who God has called me to be, and with the people I’ve grown to love. My only hope is that the people of La Flor have received as much joy from our visits as I have!
I feel that my mission trips to Nicaragua have helped me more than the amount of help I’ve given them.
I still don’t quite understand how God called me to work in Nicaragua. At first I thought it was Cindy Shepherd and the appeal of a new adventure. Now I know it is much more than that. In Nicaragua I have felt deep frustration, sadness, tension, and anger; but also satisfaction, joy, hope, and love. Each visit, I move further beyond the duality of our cultures towards the “us” of our shared humanity. It is a blessing that I am only starting to truly appreciate. Despite the hassles and difficulties, I look forward to every visit, knowing that I am growing within as I try to do God’s bidding.