My little corner of the internet has been basically silent for a week thanks to my latest adventure. I've been writing and rewriting this post and introduction because I realized that while I have a lot to say, I feel like a jumbled mess. I got back at 1am on Tuesday and I give props to those people who can bounce back right away.
The general idea of what we did: Kids' ministry. Every afternoon we sang, performed a drama, taught a lesson, played games, and made crafts for about four hours. Before and after, however, we hung out with the kids and played with them. In the mornings, we either painted or cleaned or rehearsed.
How many kids? The picture up top is, I think, from the last day. Best answer: a lot.
How was Nicaragua? How do I even explain that one? The homes were...sad. There was definitely proof of poverty. Our only acceptable water was from water bottles. When you went somewhere besides the church, they charged you to use toilet paper when going to the bathroom. And you couldn't flush toilet paper. There was no soap (so grateful for hand sanitizer). It was uncommon to have air conditioning. While there were scam artists, the people we met through the church there were the nicest people I ever encountered.
What did I love the most? THE KIDS. Wow. The craziest thing I experienced was how quickly I formed relationships with these kiddos. They ranged from about 5 to 13 years old from around the neighborhood (there's a school nearby too) and they were amazing. I've done other kid activities before in my church and area, but it wasn't really a WHOA I LOVE IT thing until Nicaragua. Nicaraguan kids stole my heart, ya'll. By about the second day, I already had a Spanish posse going on.
Here's the thing about the picture above. From left to right is Fernanda, Alexander, Monica, and Nayeli. They're cousins who all live across the street from the VBS center. This group specifically took me in as one of their own, tried to teach me more Spanish, and became my (younger) friends. While they had less than I did, they gave me gifts. I don't think anyone will understand how much they affected me.
Other cool stuff:
- Ziplining! This also included a tightrope section, swinging like Tarzan, and a HUGE, fast drop down. I don't even know how to explain the adrenaline rush.
- A boat ride and unsuccessful attempt to feed a monkey.
- Lunch on the highest point of a mountain overlooking a volcano covered by a lake. Basically, it was really pretty.
- SHOPPING. I'm not a shopper, but I was looking forward to souvenirs. I had 45 minutes-1 hour to go through 120 shops and buy for 7 people (6 family members and me). It was actually stressful, but I was dubbed the best haggler for prices among everyone.
- The driving was...crazy. Our bus driver had a humongous bus of about 26 people he had to navigate through the tiny streets of Managua. He owned those streets, I'm telling you. I almost felt death a couple times.
A big downer of the trip was sickness. About early-mid way through, I became really ill. Chills, a fever, and nausea hit me at once and I never felt so cold. Thankfully, it was only about 24 hours, but my runny nose is still here. And during the last two days, I lost my voice. Guys, it's already a struggle to talk in a different language, but it's almost impossible to do so while your voice is raspy.
I didn't read a single book, go on Twitter, or think about this blog during that week. Now that I'm home, I can't wait to catch up, talk to you guys, and read. But I'm so thankful that I had this opportunity. Nicaragua wouldn't be my first choice in the beginning. Now, I'm already hoping I go back and revisit with the people in a few years.