Once upon a time, it was Tuesday.
Initially we were going to record our trip day by day, but
we figured that a brief summary about the total experience would be a better
representation. The overall feeling of the whirlwind week was that of gratitude
and general amazement. La Chureca expanded our mentalities and opened our eyes.
We were able to be present for the inauguration of brand-new homes for two
extremely special families- one with a child with Down’s syndrome, and the
other with a seventeen-year-old mother. Their immense gratitude brought tears
to our eyes, not of sympathy or pity really, but of comparable gratitude. We’d
never felt quite so in another’s shoes as when Cecilia prayed with us for the
continued blessings in her life.
Another miraculous experience was called “milk day.” This
once a month event happened to fall on the week that we were here. People sponsor
children by providing them vitamins and milk for a month. We helped give consultations and a general
weight and measurement of the children. This
was a favorite for us because playing with children brought the biggest smiles
to their faces. At the clinic where milk
day is held the Jewelry Co-Op is housed. Women in La Chureca use recycled material
to make beautiful jewelry. Everyone in our group was so impressed, and we all
bought multiple items to support the women’s work.
El Farito, the little open-air school that Jessie wrote
about at the beginning of the week, translates to “the little lighthouse,” and
it truly lives up to its name. It stands as a beacon of hope, a future full of
more creativity and productivity, a future with more educational opportunities
and less falling into tragic stereotypes. El Farito remains a place where Agdiel can be not only free from discrimination, but celebrated for his unique nature.
We will all miss seeing the beautiful, innocent faces of all the children.
These children, who ran up to us and embraced us without even knowing our names
and continued to fall into a mutual adoration with us throughout the week, are what
made this trip what it was. Wherever we go henceforth, we will carry these kids
in our hearts. We will pray that they grow up to be as incredible as they seem
right now, to live up to their potentials.
There are too many memories to pack into just a few
paragraphs, but here we are trying. These words can’t even begin to stand up to
the actuality of this week full of rooftop mornings, gallo pinto for every
meal, dust-covered existence, tiny children hanging on us as though we were eucalyptus
trees, picking mangoes up off the ground, swimming in the midst of ten thousand
stars, cramming a clown-car amount of people into a three-wheeled taxi, making
the Harlem Shake our own with a Nicaraguan flair, feeding the world’s most
adorable children at Comedor, dancing like fools in Matagalpa, and just
enjoying life to the fullest, as cliché as that may sound. These moments are
irreplaceable; these moments are unable to be captured. Not even with a swanky
Jessie here from MPI UGA chilling out with 4 fellow bulldogs and 9
awesome program directors after our first big day in Nicaragua. Before
leaving the States, daylight savings time decided to thoroughly ruin our
sleeping schedules. We sprung forward an hour at home just to be
plunged back an hour in Nica making us feel like we're living 2 hours in
el futuro. All 5 of us were up by 630 ready to go, but our Nica PDs are
a little more use to the time, the loud birds, and blinding sunrise.
After a quick orientation we were off in the microbus to
meet the community. Cedro Galan is only a kilo and a half away. We
split up in two groups for a walking tour of the area. What seemed at
first like a simple dirt road unfolded into an entire town with many
people, houses of various shapes and sizes, and compound-like
neighborhoods. Here we actually got to eat in a Nicaraguan home! The
food was amazing and the company extremely pleasant. At our lunch we
enjoyed Gallo Pinto (rice and beans; name so because of the purple color
the beans make on the rice). There was also a cilantro-y salad (YUM),
stewed meat of some kind, and sweet custard for dessert. During lunch we
heard all about the community dynamics and about how this host family
is spread throughout the neighborhood, all while the kids were watching
the Junglebook in Spanish inside (I was definitely tempted to sing
along). We spent our time freely and meandered back to the community
center for our next program: math and literature class.
At our next location, Salero, we helped out with a
very large Beginner's English class. Even with 30 plus kids in the room,
it is easy to speak simple spanglish with any of them just one on one.
Tess, Christina, and I had a highly hilarious interaction during English
class with two characters Dylan Jose and Brian. These boys were
definitely the class clowns, singing their answers, copying our English,
and making silly animal noises. Jacqueline helped with a very diligent
group of eager students. After English class, Anise bravely lead the
class in our first creative arts activity of the week: Origami! Even the
rowdier bunch of children settled down to focus on folding their paper
into a pretty lotus flower. That just goes to show how much they enjoy
the arts. We have been told that all of the kids have been looking
forward to this arts week for months because it is not in their usual
curriculum. We expect to have a lot of fun with our eager participants!
After a long, hot, dusty day we were all glad to
come back to the house for a quick swim and cold shower. We are very
excited to do more of the activities from today and to experience so
much more. Hopefully tonight our bodies will let us sleep in...