Sunday, November 11, 2007

Arrival at last!

No pictures for tonight - I have to spend some time downloading photos. Will post some tomorrow. We actually have internet/computers at the hotel - so I should be able to post something every day.

Today, we did finally arrive and the planes were fully functional, at least as far as we know. The weather is really pleasant - in the 80s probably. Lucian (our group member who arrived on Wednesday) greeted us at the hotel in a Hawaiian shirt, shorts and a Panama hat - and we knew we'd arrived. We had fish, rice and cooked vegetables for lunch - excellent - and had a fantastic dinner of rice and beans, a dish with rice, chicken, raisins?, and spices (I'll have to get the name) and made from scratch, chocolate cake! (Thanks Millie!)

We've spent today getting acquainted with some of those people who have been working with our trip leader over the last several months to plan our itinerary.

Nan met us at the plane. Nan and Miguel are in ministry here in Nicaragua (I hope to learn tomorrow more about all they do) and have visited Foundry to speak about Nicaragua. We also met Catalina, one of the main organizers of our trip, Marcos - our interpreter/guide, our driver (who's name is slipping my mind because I don't have it written down) and Ron and Millie. Ron gave us a great overview of Nicaraguan history and the current political/economic situation - and spoke a bit about CAFTA-DR (Central American/Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement). I'm sitting here thinking that I've really got to start taking notes because I'm having a hard time remembering even overall themes, much less specifics. Ron did talk about the successes, which were many, of the Sandinistas when they were in power, as well as some shortfalls of that government.

Ron and his wife, Millie spent some time in Washington, and went to Foundry while living there. They, and their adorable 2 yr old son, graciously hosted us for dinner tonight. We brought grits as a gift.

Yes, you read that right. Millie is a transplanted and true Southerner...and the woman needs her grits. We were so glad that we could be the grit-givers.

Some issues we talked about today are the recent law in Nicaragua, that doesn't allow abortions of any kind - even in order to save the woman's life - and what a dire effect that has had on women's health. We've also talked about just how people make it by here - as some statistics we saw put unemployment/underemployment at 50%. Nicaragua is the poorest country in the hemisphere, after Haiti (according to stats I've seen) and one can't help but wonder how people put food on the table.

What a blessing it is to be getting to know all my group and all our new friends in Nicaragua!


Mark Schoeff Jr. said...

Hi, Sarah:

Your blog postings--and sharp photos--are lively and engaging! I admire your ambitious travelogue. You'll provide a terrific real-time window into Nicaraguan life and the work of the VIM team.

You should think about transforming your blog into a story for the UMConnection. They might be receptive to a pitch about your VIM excursion.

I look forward to reading--and seeing--more!

Mark Schoeff

Anonymous said...

Dear Sarah and the Nicaragua FM Team,

Hola! Como estan? I hope that you have had a great start to your mission trip. May you and the people you meet have a lively and lovely connection. We are thinking of and praying for you. And looking forward to reading and seeing more of what you're doing this week.

Peace and Love, Lahn and Lynn Kim's family and friends