Monday, August 11, 2008

The Early Days

We arrived in Managua last Saturday night around 7:30 pm. We were greeted by a bank advertisement: Welcome to Nicaragua.

We were picked up at the airport by our two main hosts, Guillermo and Carlos, who would serve as leaders, translators, tour guides, go-betweens, and otherwise made themselves a part of our Calvary Traveling Circus. And we definitely felt like a circus at times. In any case, we waited nearly an hour to get through customs, then rode 45 minutes in the Nicaraguan darkness to our beautiful Chosen Children Ministries "mission house." Truly it was a beautiful facility built to house visiting groups. The next two photos are of the compound.

This is the building we slept in. Rooms with at least four sets of bunk beds and either one or two bathrooms in each room. No hot water, but we were grateful for lukewarm showers after long, hot, sweaty days in the pueblos where we worked.

On the right side of this picture is the building where we had our meals, and in the distance is the covered space where we had our team meetings each night.

Nearly all of our movement around Nicaragua was on a school bus. The views were fabulous; in nearly every direction, we saw steaming, smoking volcanoes, mountains, lakes, coconut or mango trees, farms. Lush, green countryside. With lush, green, countryside, farm smells! Oh, the smells. But I kept telling myself: "Gail, you are in Nicaragua. Be here now. Be all the way here."

And I reminded myself of the reason we went. To see, to hold, to love, to teach, to play games with, and to bring hope to these children and their families. How do you not fall in love with these little people??? We were in that one-room schoolhouse with all those children one week ago today. It feels like it has been a month already.

This precious child is Sheila, pronounced Shay-lah. I held her for a while on each of the three days we visited her pueblo so that her mother could make a craft, talk to others in the group, or just get a break. And at the end of the days we spent with her, I put together a little package for her: diaper wipes, baby shampoo, toys, baby clothes. I also filled a bag with cosmetics for her mother. Small things that made a big difference to them.

How is it possible for me to miss them as much as I do?


Jena Strong said...

How would it be possible not to?

I spent a month in a rural Russian orphanage in 1994, and it remains one of the most vivid, heartbreaking, present experiences of my life.

Such beautiful, beautiful children. You're beautiful, too! Thank you for sharing this. I've been coming back to these pictures all day.

Amy said...

My outdoor flag reads, "Wherever you go, there you are." Good for you, Gail, for reminding yourself to live fully in the moment.

BTW, that compound is lovely!

Lisa said...

Because we are ALL connected. Our hearts are woven as ONE in the great fabric of Creation. The only separations we feel are those we impose upon ourselves.

Thank you for sharing these initial glimpses of your journey with us. My heart is smiling and longing and growing right along with your photos and stories.