Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Thoughts from Nicaragua: Day IV & V

So yesterday I didn't feel good at all and didn't journal. We went to the Project and met the families, then the guys and I cleared some brush. I wasn't feeling at all well, so I had to take it easy the rest of the day. We played with the kids, and visited the classrooms. One class sang songs about numbers and one mentioned elephants. I started a game of Red Light, Green Light. But by the time we had lunch, I was burnt, dehydrated and still upset in the digestive track. The rest of the day at the project, I tried to work only in shade, and helped Shannon and a father at the Project, Pedro, tear down some metal structure to salvage the material. I slept through dinner and church, then showered, met up with the team and debriefed on the day.
This morning was interesting... and entertaining (at least it will be when I and others read about it). I got up and, not one minute later, soiled myself. I should have been more precautious since the day before I had the runs. Well, it ran alright, right down my leg. So I was in a frustrated mood this morning going to the Project. I decided to take it very easy, to drink much more water, and use sunblock religiously. We first played with the kids. I was feeling lifted in spirits already, so I braved it and played some futbol with the kids. Then we worked on making tables while the kids were in class. We used planers and sandpaper to smoothe boards out while some of the men of the group welded some metal together for the legs. Pedro, the man I helped yesterday, was in charge of the welding. Anyways, after the table work, we had lunch, then had our devotional book time and then a tour of the Project, seeing where the families lived and how they grew crops. We learned a lot of history, how some mothers are raising kids on their own since the fathers are abusive. One father, actually, sold all the families possessions and comes back every night to sleep in the house. The rest of the family is gone, at a safe house until the father leaves. Hopefully the trial against him will go well, but the judges are corrupt, it could go bad if he's paid off.
Another mother kicked out a father for killing three puppies in front of the kids. They were all abused, but that was the last straw. He comes back occasionally, which frightens the children a lot. Another family was at the Project but left to live in the dump again. A boy Wilmer fell asleep, so the mother covered him with cardboard to protect him from the sun and dust... a truck ran him over. They moved back to be closer to the grave and hopefully will continue to see the benefit of living there. Pedro's family had three children who died from poisoned peanuts they found in the dump. They came to the project a little over a year ago, and their youngest, David, was very mal-nourished. Today, he can walk, be away from his mom and is doing great.
We really connected with the kids today. I made my Donald Duck voice for them, which was a big hit for them, and my other fun noises. When we took the tour, we gave them piggy back rides and shoulder rides. Oh, we also did crafts today by making picture frames with popcicle sticks, glitter, stickers markers, and foam shapes. They liked that a lot. It was nice to see the kids opened up and enjoying our affection. The language barrier is nearly a non-issue now, which is a huge blessing. Holding one's hand and spinning them around while on my shoulders says more than words can. And it's not that we're not speaking. We're able to say and understand more and more.
Today was a great day. I learned today that there is a place for joy in all situations. When I felt frustrated and worried I wouldn't feel better, I gave my situation to God and praised Him regardless of my state, trusting He planned my ordeal for a reason. Things got better, but my joy in being here was constant, my joy of God's faithfulness never wavered.
Now back at the house, I look forward to spending some time, washing some clothes, windin own and hanging out.

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