We arrived in Managua last evening at 9 p.m. The ride from Managua to Diriamba took over an hour through crazy traffic and running red lights. We were told it was "better not to look." Our driver took us at top speed up winding roads into the mountains with the Pacific Ocean to our right and Lake Nicaragua to our left. Not that we could see anything. It was pitch black. I could only compare the drive to the old Disney attraction, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride!
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Everyone was asleep when we arrived at the mission house, so I used my flashlight to go into the bathroom and change, then get myself up to a top bunk, as all the lower ones were taken. Between fear of falling off, fear of SNORING and waking someone up, and FREEZING (it was hot when we arrived - I only took a sheet as my covers for that night, then the wind started to blow - hard), I didn't get much sleep.
Our morning started before 5:30 with showers, then breakfast. Today's task was to sort toys, clothing, and personal hygiene items for the children.
There was a LOT of stuff! Many suitcases filled with items. (BTW, we left the States with two suitcases of deflated soccer balls - 50 in one, 25 in another. When we pumped them up, we had 150. I like God's math!)
We started making gift bags to be given away during the week. The team who had arrived on Friday had already bagged up thousands of pounds of beans and rice. (Final tally: 10,300 pounds of rice and beans.)
We were also invited to participate in a graduation ceremony at the school Nicaraguan Christian Outreach helped build. The ceremony was very sweet and included children graduating from both primary and secondary classes. The buildings themselves would be considered extremely primitive by American standards, but the children and teachers were very proud of their facility.
After going back to the house to work for a few more hours, we went walking down the road quite a way, then off onto dirt paths.
The cinder block houses were quite small, one of the larger ones was perhaps the size of our school room in our house, and the translator told us there were 9 people living there.
The kitchen was a little lean-to attached to one side. Outdoor toilet. No water or plumbing in the house, but there was a refrigerator, one bare light bulb, and a tiny TV!
The children are so beautiful and are grateful for whatever we had - balls, candy, Mardi Gras beads (those were popular with the women of all ages!) and the adults were so thankful for the large bags of beans and rice. They were so gracious and invited us into their homes.
I was so touched by what I saw, but so frustrated by my lack of ability to communicate. Oh, to tell them how Christ loves them and that they are not forgotten by their Father in Heaven. I will learn Spanish before I return. That will be my #1 goal for 2010.