After arriving in Nicaragua late last night, we woke at 5:45am for a hearty breakfast and boarded the bus to the Christian Academy of Los Torres (http://www.caltnica.org/). With this being my first clinic of the trip, I was a bit unsure of what to expect, but was anxious to dive in and get my hands dirty...literally.
On the bus ride to Los Torres we were briefed by the full-time missionaries of Christ for the City that the neighborhood we were serving in would not be safe and therefore we were not to wander far from the gates that would be locked all day for our protection.
During today's clinic we saw 44 patients, mostly students of Los Torres, and a few of the teachers and family members. I spent the day playing soccer, bowling, dancing and singing, and running around with the children as they waited to see the doctors. The language barrier was tough and would later serve to be the cause for most of my tears this evening during our nightly recap. I can tell both of us (the children I am playing with) want to speak to each the other, but our conversations fall short and usually end in "no se" (I don't know) or "no comprende". I just wish I could talk to these children and tell them how excited I am to meet them and to be in their country. I want to tell them so badly how beautiful they are. I want to know what their favorite color is, do they like to dance, and what's their favorite song. Without words to share, all I can do is hold their hands, hug them, and play with them. Smiles take the place of language and playing games with the girls becomes my way of showing them that they are my priority during our time together. I soon start to realize that actions really do speak louder than words, and although I do not know much about their likes and dislikes, I can feel their heart and I hope they can feel mine beating through our sweaty, clutched hands.
Halfway through the morning, I met my Liwuska Gabriela Lovo, my favorite Nicaraguan thus far. Liwuska is 9 years old and attends Los Torres. She is beautiful, gives amazing hugs, and for some reason she chooses me to latch on to all day. We play all day, exchange addresses and at one point throughout the clinic she quietly slips a picture of herself into my hand and smiles. Liwuska has two small sisters and in watching her interact with them, you'd almost think she was their mother. I can tell she is mature beyond her years and most likely has to be. I decide by the end of the day that I want to sponsor Liwuska through the program at Los Torres, which in my heart makes our bond even stronger.
When it is time to go she walked me to the bus where we exchanged what seemed to be 20 hugs. We'd say goodbye and she'd walk away and I'd get on the bus and then a minute later she'd come back to my window and I'd get up and walk back down to hug her. I've know this child for a total of 5 hours and I cannot seem to leave her. Each time she hugged my neck and kissed my check, my heart melted and I wanted to bring her home with me. I want to rescue her. I want to bring her back to the states and give her the life she deserves. Regardless of my wants, I am helpless. I can love on her today, and I can write to her when I leave, but she has to stay here. God is the only one who can rescue her and I pray that he does. I pray that for all of the children of Los Torres, all 44 of them.