Saturday, March 25, 2006

Thoughts from Nicaragua: Day VI - IX

So I have been bad keeping track of the last couple days. Right now we're on our way to the beach to unwind... More on that later, but here's some things that happened over the last few days.
I don't remember what we did Wednesday. Yesterday, Friday, was an important day for us. we first went to te dump and walked around. It was a little over-whelming. You have to get the picture... imagine driving down this path, people rummaging through the recently unloaded stuff, looking for glass, metals, plastics, anything that can be used or recycled. They use the blue dye that's dumped from the jeans factory for cleaning, since it has a bunch of chemicals in it, bleach and such. Just off the main section were the homes, made of anything, scrap metal, matress springs for fences. The whole time I felt dirty, and in harm's way... there are constant fires which start spontaneously, and with the trucks kicking up dust and whatnot... it was horrible. Even nearly a day later, I still feel the effects of the pollution in my lungs. We had to use handkerchiefs when it blew directly at us.
There were dogs, cows and birds rummaging in the trash, searching for food. There are over 150 families living in the dump, usually 6 to 8 in a family. All of them are exposed to this pollution on a daily basis.
Afterwards, we went to a park and thought through what we just experienced. We shared, prayed and ate lunch. We then went to the project, and they held a ceremony presenting their appreciation for us coming so far and pouring into their lives. They made us a popular Nicaraguan meal, with Yuca, pork rinds, cabbage. It was good. So was the juice. We then presented them with a monetary gift to help wherever they need it. They told us it would go toward finishing the walls and roofs of the school. We then gave a birthday gift to this beautiful girl, Blanca, for her Quinceria that is coming up. Then we played with the kids, trying to gett in as much time together as we could. It was really hard saying goodbye. All the kids are so beautiful, so happy being with us, despite not being able to fully communicate with us. After our last group pictures, we left, the kids trying to grab onto the back of the truck. We then made our way back to the church, ate dinner, and we debriefed during the church service. Right before going to bed, I experienced my first time at a washboard, cleaning my clothes by hand.
Thursday, we went to the project, mainly playing with the kids, but Heidi, Gabby and I taught the 2nd grade class. Then we went to lunch at this nice restaurant. I had a banana and milk concoction and chicken wings (barbacoa y picante). There was a zip-line there, in a playground next to the restaurant, so we tested it out. We then went to the market and bought stuff. We only had an hour though and the spirit of the market made me sad. It seemed a very dark place, spiritually. That night we went out to dinner with all of our host families. We went to the mall and ate at the food court. We got ice cream then headed to an internet cafe.
Wednesday, we went in the morning to a men's prison. At the cultural center there was a church service the men attended. We sang a few songs in English for them and Gabby translated their meanings. I really enjoyed that experience. I wasn't hindered in the slightest from entering the worship circle and feeling God's presence. At the end, we helped pass out personal toilettries for the men. We then went to the project and had a solo time. There were still a few kids around, not in class, so it was a little distracting. We then just mainly hung out before heading back to the church.

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