Friday, May 30, 2008

through adrianna's eyes

Sometimes it takes fresh eyes to accurately capture a place. Adrianna (left), one of the Dordt students who was here for the last two weeks, wrote this introduction to a reflection on her experience here.

"What is Nicaragua? It is a country where men hunt iguanas and sell them on the side of the road.

It is colorful houses with walls and gates.

It is cathedrals and Spaniards and colonization. It is civil unrest and unstable governments.

It is a transportation strike for better prices, governmental irresponsibility, and volatile times.

Nicaragua is polluted Lake Managua and pristine
Lake Nicaragua.

It is active and extinct volcanoes. It is fresh fruit, sketchy water, toilet paper in trash cans, and people selling things all the time.

It is a land where children greet foreigners with cries of “gringos!”

Nicaragua is poverty and hope; despair and development."

Thursday, May 29, 2008

One of many things that living in Nicaragua for the last two years has confirmed for me is that I love college students. I love to watch them learn, grow, be stretched in their thinking, in their emotions, in their understanding of the world. And these last few weeks I became a learner, a teacher, a translator and interpreter alongside them in their experiences...first, for two weeks, I was the full-time coordinator of the logistics of the visit of 5 Dordt students and their professor and his wife from Iowa. They were here to study missions, development, and culture, and this meant organizing a variety of meetings with everyone from the US Embassy to USAID to other NGOs working here, to farms, to historical sites, to natural wonders and cultural hotspots. It was a lot to take in for the students, I think, and for me too. But I was grateful to walk alongside them in their learning, participate in their reflections, and share my own experiences here with them.

Then, after about 48 hours rest, I headed up to Boaco on Monday where another team headed up by my roomie Andrea was working to help her with translation. While I was there, the team did a lot of activities with the kids, building relationships, and visiting people in their homes, as well as two small construction projects. Being with this other group of college students from Messiah in Pennsylvania was another great opportunity that I enjoyed immensely, although I am now officially exhausted. Visit below for a sampling of the photos from my last two weeks.

In other news, after 12 days, the transportation strike here is over (though perhaps not for long, because although an agreement was reached for a certain level of subsidiy for the taxi and bus drivers, the price of gas continues to climb and within 2 weeks may eliminate the effects of the subsidy altogether).

Also, Tropical Storm Alma appears likely to convert into a Hurricane overnight and is currenly dumping large quantities of rain on the Pacific Coast of Nicaragua. Streets are flooding and home damage is already being reported in the region. Will keep you all posted on further developments.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

in which i explain my sporadic appearances lately

i know there's only a few of you out there that actually read this blog daily or even weekly, but i still feel the need to explain where i've been lately.

first, last weekend i was with my friend Wendy and her boyfriend in Ocatal near the Honduras border--we actually crossed over and drank some delicious licuados--for pics of that trip visit my Facebook album:

second, i have been preparing like mad for the arrival of 5 students and a professor and his wife from Dordt College in Iowa who are coming down for a two week interim studying missions and development--with an emphasis on agriculture. this has become an exciting new component of the Nehemiah Center, hosting semester programs nand various kinds of academic experiences for college students...i have really enjoyed being part of the past ones and i am sure this one will be no different.

third, speaking of semester programs, the Trinity Christian College semester program is coming to an end and the students finished up their final projects this week--they each made an outstanding film--which one day i hope will be online for all to appreciate--but i became one of the principle translators for two of the projects--which i greatly enjoyed, but which left me quite exhausted at the end of each day this week.

and finally, this past wednesday, i had a close call when i got hit by a motocycle crossing the street at one of Managua's busiest intersections on my way to work. the good news is, i'm fine (and i have the x-rays to prove it!). the bad news is, my laptop screen in ruined. but at least i'm not black and fractured like it is.

i guess that about sums it up. sorry i won't be around much for another week or so, but i promise to update you on the Dordt experience and everything else life brings my way as soon as i can.

oh, by the way, we're now in day 5 of a taxi-bus strike here, and it's causing quite a bit of concern for many people. i wish i could go into more detail, but nicaraguan politics are mostly taboo on this blog now. but, please, if you are the praying kind, offer up some words for the resolution of this issue. thanks.