Monday, February 22 10:15 a.m.
I can’t keep up with EJ’s wit, but I will try to type with caps and apostrophes. Yesterday was a day full of travel and getting settled into our home for the week. We left Managua early in the morning and traveled to the village of Matasano. We stopped in Sebeco, a regular stop for those of us who have been to Nicaragua before. Several of us enjoyed ice cream as a morning treat – how often do we indulge in ice cream before lunch? Ron con pasa for me (rum raisin ice cream) in honor of Shirley Hansell, her favorite flavor. We also bought some fruit for the group at an open air market. Beautiful produce for sale including carrots, beets, HUGE papaya (2 feet long), mangos and pineapple.
The road to Matasano was pretty rough so we were all very thankful to arrive at the village to the warm welcome of their pastor. We met the village council and the pastor shared how thankful they were to have us come. The village has been waiting for a medical team for two years. One of the council members welcomed us by song and we read Psalm 113.
After scoping out the layout for the medical and dental clinics, we loaded back onto the bus with promises to the villagers that we would see them manana. Another 1 ½ hours in the bus took us to the Cepana farm, our home away from home. With a group of 21 plus three interpreters, our living quarters are quite “cozy”, but we are thankful for beds, showers and flush toilets. A cold shower is a blessing in the heat of Nicaragua’s summer.
After enjoying our first dinner at the farm and a few minutes to reflect as a group on the experiences of the day, the work really began. The group made quick work of breaking down all the contents for the home health kits, which include basics like toothpaste, soap and ibuprofen – all things that we take for granted as readily available in our medicine cabinets. We completed nearly 200 of the kits in just 1 ½ hours. A total of more than 400 kits will be distributed throughout the week.
I’m struck with how familiar this country feels even though I have only been here once before. The beauty of the country and the warmth of the people have not changed, and I am grateful for another opportunity to serve among the people of Nicaragua.
Dios les bendiga,