Sunday, July 2, 2017

Hasta la Proxima El Chaguite

Today we said goodbye to El Chaguite. As predicted, we shed some tears and it was very difficult. A great start to the morning with our attending the worship service with the other members of the community. It was a wonderful time of fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ, and we enjoyed Daniel's message and the music. 

For our closing message to the community we formed a circle with our local friends and with all of us holding hands, with the following spoken words:

- Holding hands represents the power and strength we have as a community

- The circle shape represents the never ending love and connections we have made over this trip

-  We all share the same sky

- We all move on the same earth

- Some have different possessions, different cultures and different opportunities, but making the most of what God gives us is the gift we are encouraged to give to each other and ourselves

- Your kindness and compassion has enabled us to open our hearts and minds to new experiences

- The love you have for each other is inspiring

- Thank you for sharing your gifts and love with us

Thank you Georgia for the great idea to do this and your inspiring words. We're proud of the work we did towards building El Chaguite's pre-school and the personal connections we made with such a wide cross section of their community. These are very special people!

Tomorrow we're on to Granada to see the Masaya market, Mombacho Volcano and old part of the city, before going home on Tuesday.  Thank you El Chaguite for sharing your gifts and love with us. 

Until the next time.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Our Hosts & Matthew 14:13

Behind every good man is a remarkable woman and that is certainly true for the Rickon family, our hosts here in Ciudad Dario. Patrick is the Co-Founder of Seeds of Learning, which has recently had its 25th anniversary. His wife Isa is a force to be reckoned with, who along with Patrick, have been the visionaries and driving forces behind getting SOL off the ground in the earlier years. Patrick is an American ex-pat from the Mendocino area and Isa is from the local area. Along with the two of them, they've raised two great kids, Wendell and Ryan, who are also involved with SOL.

Earlier this week Isa and Patrick shared the story of founding SOL and how it all started with a caja pequena (small box) of books to help local children with learning to read. As I thought about how that box became SOL along the way over 25 years, I started to think about the story in Matthew's gospel about the loaves of bread, fish and feeding the masses of five thousand. Although we're often starting with little and are facing enormous challenges, God provides and greatly multiplies what we've started with.

Hospitality to Strangers - Part II

After some brief work this morning, we visited the house and family of Dona Petrona Vega, the 75-year old matriarch of the Trujillo clan. We started the late morning making fresh tortillas--grinding the corn, rolling the dough and formng the dough into discs. Along with eating them hot off the griddle with cheese, we got to watch the Trujillo clan make local pastries. If that wasn't enough food, we then transitioned into eating lunch an hour later with their extended family and seeing Ernesto and Daniel's wood working shop. One of the great highlights of the day, along with feeling totally accepted by their family without knowing us, was Dona Petrona's grace before lunch and doing the Lord's Prayer together at the end in Spanish and English. It's 5pm and everyone's trying hard to stay awake for another couple of hours and getting through dinner. Glad we got the pinanta out of the way for tomorrow's festivities with the El Chaguite community...Another great Nica day.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Day 4 at the Worksite & Another Great Nica Afternoon

Just a few highlights below from the day, including a great trip to the SOL site in Las Delicias for some afternoon fun, a community about 30 minutes outside Dario. Some interesting before and after pics below as well from our typical ride to the worksite in the back of a pickup, that shows the difference in energy level after the workday.

Hospitality to Strangers

Deuteronomy 10:19 You shall also love the stranger, for you we're strangers in the land of Egypt.

All it took was a casual conversation about avocado farming with Tom and one of the people we're working with at El Chaguite and we were invited to a local farm. Although we barely knew this family, they invited us into their home for freshly made tortillas, queso fresco, a local cheese made from the milk of their cows, and pastries. If that weren't enough, Shelly was invited into another person's home that she barely knew, as were walking down the road to the farm. Between everyone's hospitality and sampling the local fruits, what an experience,

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Food – Que Rico

Working at El Chaguite the past five days in the Nica heat and humidity has been physically demanding. Fortunately we have Enrique and his La Estufa (The Stove) restaurant around the corner with some great food and buffet style meals. Breakfasts are always at his place, with lunches and dinners catered by him at the SOL Learning Resource Center where we're staying. All of our meals have been typical Nica food, and usually include gallo pinto (spotted rooster) which is a Nica staple at most meals and is made with beans and rice.

Snacks for the worksite this week have been an interesting adventure. Each day some of our group heads out into the community to buy them from local merchants and usually consist of fresh fruit and bread/pastries from the local bakery. Early this morning the three old men (aka Jeff, Tom and Joe) headed out at 6:30am to buy freshly made tortillas and pineapples from local women in the neighborhood and cheese at the main outdoor market in the center of town...Que Rico!