Friday, August 28, 2009

Meet Mismar...and his dimples

It's been a couple of days since we first arrived in Rivas, however it only took Mismar one morning to steal my heart. Huge brown eyes + dimples that would make anyone smile= I'm a goner! This sweet 6 year old has become by far one of the highlights of my days here. Tickling him could easily become one of my favorite pass times. We play endless games of hide and seek, or rather Mismar runs around the clinic and I chase him until I catch him, throw him into the air and we start the game over. He loves to be spun in circles, loves watermelon (which I quietly sneak him my piece everyday during our lunch breaks), and has the best giggle I've heard in a long time. The best moment yet with him took place today after lunch. The church worship band played Open the Eyes of My Heart for us, and as we all worshiped together, my eyes were drawn to the cutest little Nicaraguan who was joyful smiling, dimples in full force, and clapping along to the music. I can already tell on only day 3 of the clinic that I am going to miss this boy when we leave. A LOT. Heart get ready.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Today started off shaky. I didn’t feel well on the bus ride to the clinic. Felt shaky, light headed, incredibly anxious for some reason and as we lined up for our morning prayer, tears began to come like it or not. As the awesome leader he is, Nathan, our full time Nica leader, noticed and quietly pulled me out of the circle to breathe, grab some Gatorade, and gather myself. I am not sure if everything was taking a toll on my body or if my new station in the clinic of “eye glasses” was freaking me out subconsciously.

I had wanted to be willing to go where I was needed and gladly accepted the request to serve in glasses this morning, but on the inside I was terrified. I know nothing about glasses. Have never worn them and definitely had never tried to fit someone for them. On top of that, we would not have a translator in our station, which meant speaking in Spanish about glasses. Awesome. With a few prayers, okay a LOT of prayers, and Mary and Amber’s patience and help, Rachel and I mastered just enough Spanish to be able to say to our patients in Spanish: “please stand here, can you read this line? How about this line? Is it clear or blurry? Is the problem reading or distance? Too strong or do you need stronger?” Whew. Here goes nothing!

(Fast forward 8 hours) As I lay in my bed after surviving the day, I am realizing that I’ve learned more Spanish in 8 hours than I did in 6 years of classes! Not to mention, I was able to give 20 people glasses!! AWESOME. I, me, little ole me, was able to help renew someone’s sight right before my very eyes! I can assure you that I have never felt anything better than what I felt when you can see sight, clear sight, come back to someone after years of blurred vision. My arm hair stood on end every single time and I had to fight back tears, after all, I was the professional (or so they thought). Praise God for donated, 1987ish glasses. I also learned that Nicaraguans care just as much about how glasses look as we do. We had to talk a few women into choosing the glasses that they actually read better with versus the smaller, more fashionable ones. Too cute. It made me laugh that even in a poverty stricken country, fashion is still important to women everywhere.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Day 2...Clinic Opens

Today we kicked off the clinic with a bang, or actually with a beach ball and a microphone if you want specifics. After praying as a united team, both Cheles and Nicarguan church members, we were all given our marching orders for the day and headed our separate ways. With children's ministry being an area that I had not experienced much last year, I headed to my area without really knowing what to expect and equally taunted by fear and excitement. My 1st day in children's ministry definitely allowed me the opportunity to hone in on my strengths and weaknesses. 
Strengths~ who knew I would come all the way to Nica and learn home to make a perrito chimboomba (balloon animal puppy)?! Who knew I could make a scraped leg better on an 8 year old boy with only  2 words ("dolor?" does it hurt and "Aqui" here), 1 rickety old chair, and a make shift band aid, aka...a monkey sticker?
Weaknesses~who knew how exhausted I'd be and out of creativity in aprox. 1.5 hours of the clinic opening its doors? What do we do for the next 6 hours? Who knew we'd have 35+ kids to entertain all afternoon? Maybe I'm not as great with kids as I thought.
Somehow, by the grace of God, we made it through the day with broken Spanish, broken toys, a blow-up microphone and beach ball serving as our only athletic equipment ( Only one child bleed, and another needed 3 stitches (thank God we are hosting a medical clinic), but I guess it could've been worse, right?
Can't wait to see what tomorrow holds!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Waking up in Nicaragua

Today we woke at 5:45am, not because I had to per say but because the sun was shining through the window above my bunk and the roosters were telling us it was time to stir. With our morning orientation behind us and our mission in clear sight ahead of us, we boarded our trusty bus and drove 2 hours through some of the most beautiful hills I've ever seen. Rivas, Nicaragua will be our new "home" for the next 6 days and I am excited to meet the city and its people. It feels wonderful to be back and yet it also feels as though I never left.

As we drove from Managua to Rivas, the city of mangoes, it was still surreal to see the life differences between my home and their home. Rocks hold their roofs in place and dirt takes the places of carpet. And although the condition of the animals here is getting easier to see, my eyes are still drawn to them. I know in my heart that I need to get over it, after all how can they justify feeding dogs when they are struggling to feed their families? But again it just opens my eyes to how incredibly blessed we are in the states. We have such a plethora of resources that even our animals are well fed and sometimes over fed, and can even be dressed to the nines in doggie couture if the owner sees fit. The bottom line is that even a small difference such as the animals here make me feel incredibly blessed.

With less than 24 hours in, I can already tell that the Lord is at work in my heart and mind. Preparing yourself to have your life turned inside out with questioning what really matters, asking yourself if you're really, truly thankful for your blessings and what you're going to do with those blessings, and finally being stripped of almost all of your comforts even down to clean clothes is never going to be an easy way to spend a week. Yet as we stepped off of the bus in El Rosario and I saw the first 2 women who were there to greet us at the church where we'd hold our clinic, I knew in my heart that I was in the exact place I needed to be. Clean clothes or not.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Hola y Buenas Tardes

Thank you to everyone who has welcomed me back via hug, text, calls, etc… Your thoughts and prayers have made my return an easier one. As we’ve spoken, I’ve been using the term “back in one piece” but started to realize last night that might not be the most truthful statement to use. How do you come back from a trip like that and not be missing pieces of yourself? The short answer is that you don’t. Pieces of me and my heart are still in Managua and Rivas, another piece of me is with a little boy named Mismar and a beautiful 10 year old names Liwiska “Gabriella”, and more pieces of me are with my teammates, both near and far” and most likely will be forever.

A few of you have asked if I have blogged yet or if am going to blog again about the journey. I will. It’s now my responsibility to tell my friends and family of the amazing people that I’ve met and about the wonderful trip that so many of you helped me finance and in turn experience. I wanted to start writing yesterday but honestly wasn’t ready. It’s still too fresh and I’m still trying to sort through everything. Tomorrow I’ll pull out my journal from the trip and begin to tell the story of our team, which is in turn their story (my new Nicaraguan friends).

Thank you again for your support, prayers, love, etc… I couldn’t have done it without you. I’m so glad to be back in pieces, but back none the less.

Dios le bendigas!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Diva, Apparently

Apparently I am a Diva. I knew I was in some instances but was completely blindsided to realize that I might very well be the “team Diva” on my Nicaragua trip that’s about to launch in less than T minus 5 days. When you’re headed out of the country for 10 days and in close proximity with 15 strangers, the last thing you want to do is come across like Heidi and Spencer Pratt on “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me out of Here”!

But seriously, is no one else stressed out that all of our toiletries have to fit into a small Ziploc baggie?! Not a freezer, one gallon bag, but a small, here's your sandwhich bag. And not a few of the toiletries, but ALL of them. And enough to keep me clean and non-smelly for 10 days, not a weekend, and sans air conditioning anywhere in sight! My head starts to swirl when I make a mental list of everything that must fit in the small bag and 16 OZ liquid limit (i.e. face wash, body wash, face lotion, body lotion, deodorant, toothpaste, sunscreen, bug spray, mascara (okay, maybe I am a Diva), chapstick, stuff to keep my hair from distracting/scaring small children at the clinic, hand sanitizer, etc…I could fill one whole baggie up with just sanitizer!!).

I asked about the baggie in question and felt a room of blank looks shift in my direction. Lord, please keep us safe, please bring us the patients and allow us to care for and love on the patients, and please Lord let all of my toiletries fit in the sad little baggie below. Amen.