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Wednesday, March 2, 2011


We're back! Our week of summer in Nicaragua was a nice break from winter. The trip down on February 21 went smoothly and we arrived in Managua on time. It was snowing when we left home and in the 90s when we arrived in Managua. Joel Heatwole met us at the airport and took us another two hours north to Leon where we stayed for a week.
The four men and two women in our group were split up and lodged in three houses with mission staff. We stayed with Nathan and Angie Miller who are from Nebraska. I think we had the best accommodations with a nice room and our own bathroom. (Age has its benefits!)

Paul and Gloria stayed with Richard and Andrea Burkholder (from PA). Merle and Ed stayed with Delmar Martin (from our church) and Joel Heatwole (from SC) in their bachelor pad. Merle and Ed slept on cots on the front porch (below). That should tell you something about the weather.

The main purpose of the trip was to build a house for an old lady in Leon. A native, Benito, joined the work crew. The five men moved the lady's stuff out of her house and tore it down in less than two hours on Tuesday morning. They left the block wall in place and reused some of the tin for the walls but replaced the rotted wooden corner posts with concrete ones and put on a completely new roof. It was finished on Friday morning. It doesn't look like much but she was crying, hugging, and kissing them and couldn't get done thanking them. She said it is the nicest house she ever had. The old house was full of holes and must have been a sea of mud in rainy season. The floor is still dirt but now she at least has a tight tin roof over her head.

Some of the men also helped another man lay block for his house and the others helped Delmar pull the pump out of his well and fix it.

Gloria and I spent most of our time cooking for the men but we also took the bus twice into the city to go shopping. We hit all the fabric stores and 51 yds. of fabric came home with me. (Gloria had 42 yds.)
After the work was finished Friday (Feb. 25) we were free to do some sightseeing. Delmar took the men to see a huge cathederal and old prison on Friday afternoon while Gloria and I cooked a PA Dutch meal for all the mission workers and some of the natives. We made ham loaf, mashed potatoes, sweet corn, cabbage salad, jello cake, and cherry delight. We used the kitchen of the single girls on the second floor of the apartment next to the church and served the meal in the large room below. Everyone seemed to enjoy the food and the natives asked for plates of the leftovers.
On Saturday Richard and Andrea took us to see a volcano in a national park. We could drive up to the top and look down into the crater. The size of that hole was unbelievable! It has not erupted for a long time but is considered active because it is still smoking. I don't know when it first erupted but the first drawing of it was made in 1529 so it has been active for at least 500 years and probably erupted the first time much earlier. It was impossible to get the whole crater on one picture. The hole where the smoke is coming from is about as deep as the one you see in this picture.

We had supper in a restaurant overlooking a lake. From that point we could see the entire lake, across a strip of land wide enough for a city (plus some) to Lake Nicaragua. At this higher elevation the landscape was greener and this was the most beautiful scenery we had seen. The whole land is lush and green during rainy season but this was dry season so the landscape was brown and very few flowers were blooming where we were staying.

L-R: Ed, Merle, Paul & Gloria, Leroy & Romaine

We went to church with our hosts on Sunday morning but I understood only a few words of the Spanish service. Nathan and Angie invited all of our group to their house for lunch and the afternoon. Around 4 p.m. they took us on a 20-minute drive to the Pacific Ocean to watch the sunset. To me, that was the highlight of the trip. The sand was black instead of white. The sky was not as colorful as sometimes but it was still beautiful. I took oodles of pictures as the sun went down but they do not capture the full beauty of the sunset. It was a lovely end to the week and more spiritual than church that morning.

The trip home on Feb. 28 was a long, drawn-out affair due to teriffic thunderstorms in Atlanta that closed the airport for 45 minutes. We were diverted to New Orleans and sat on the plane waiting for the weather to clear. What was supposed to be a 3 1/2 hour flight from Managua to Atlanta turned into seven hours on that plane. When we finally landed in Atlanta at nearly 10 p.m. we were unable to make our connecting flight to Baltimore. We got vouchers for a motel in Atlanta and fell into bed at 1 a.m. After only four hours of sleep we got up again to get to the airport. Our flight to Baltimore was on time and it was a smooth ride. We had about a three hour drive home from there and finally reached our house about 2:30 p.m. It was the best place I saw on the whole trip!
I'm glad we could go and the memories will last as long as I do. But I am more glad to be back home and ready to settle into my own familiar rut. I went to bed at 7 last night and was not disturbed at 4 by the crowing of roosters. (I would cheerfully have wrung a few necks down there if I could have reached the crazy critters.) It was 26 this morning and we did not need a fan last night. The highs will be in the 40s today instead of the 90s but the crocus are blooming and spring is on the way.


Anonymous said...

I enjoyed this interesting account of your "mission" trip. Pictures are so helpful. Mary H

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing all about your trip. I hope I get to go on a missions trip someday. I know that must be a very rewarding experience.
Ginny Traycik