Reflections on being back in my Nican home

Published: March 23rd 2009
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I was not looking forward to going back to Nicaragua. Going back home was amazing: I was able to drive where I wanted, buy what I needed, choose from a closet full of outfits and accessories, was able to choose from a load of on demand movies, and there was water and light when I needed them. Life was good.

However, I trained my mind for a visit back to the jungle life. When I arrived in Atlanta’s airport, I reminded myself that this was the last stop I would have to buy whatever goods I needed and to have the life of automated soap dispensers and flushing toilet paper down the toilet.

Landing in Managua was great. Looking out my plane window, I could see the city lights sprawled out, giving the city the impression of grandness and hugeness. I had a feeling of coming home. I surprise myself, because I think I can adapt to many situations and feel comfortable in them, as hard as they may be.

My first goal was getting through the airport where the taxi men attack you. Surprisingly, I got through the mob of shouting people and got out the door, no problem. There, I had a taxi driver waiting for me. My friend had set one up to pick me up. This made me feel a lot safer.

Driving through Managua at night was really peaceful and I instantly knew that I had missed this city…it has grown on me. We arrived at the girls’ home for my organization. Besides my home on the island, this is the home I like to spend the most time at, on my own account. Hugging my university girls felt so nice; I had missed them so much.

My night’s sleep was definitely different. I woke up to the sounds of traffic and lights. I knew I wasn’t in Minnesota anymore, sweating in the shade. After getting ready, I loved being able to step outside to the hot and sunny weather. Although a little humid and uncomfortable, being able to feel heat on my skin and seeing sun all the time was a wonderful change from the cold, crisp winter of MN that I had left less than 24 hours earlier. The dramatic change was welcomed, greatly. My transition back to Nicaragua was surprisingly great, just like my transition when I
Mr. SillyMr. SillyMr. Silly

To learn adjectives, I call Leonel different names. Sometimes, he is Mr. Stinky, Mr. Silly or Mr. Happy. It's silly, but at least he is learning English adjectives.
came home. If only all my transitions could be this easy…

I got a free ride to the office, as I had my luggage. If you are lucky, you just hitch a ride with the work vehicle, even if it means waiting 2 days. That’s when I took advantage of my location and saw a movie, which is definitely not possible on the island. Seeing my co- workers in the office was also joyful. I had brought them back chocolate.
Just a day later, I caught another ride into Managua, again, to do more work, leaving my luggage behind. I came back the next day and went to the island. In a matter of 4 days, I had gone between Rivas and Managua 3 times. However, in the nature of my work, I have to do this all the time, and I really like it. It keeps you moving and life is never boring.

My timing was perfect, as a Dutch school from Managua was visiting our home on the island Saturday. I had been coordinating their visit and rode with them, which meant free transport, coming in handy with a 50- pound suitcase.

Seeing the island was great, however, I had a fear of riding the ferry. Just a month ago, it had sunk, due to high winds and loading it over the capacity limits. Thankfully, this ride was successful. Getting off was very normal to me, as was everything. Even the men shouting at you for expensive taxi rides was normal and I felt at ease.

A very large school bus and some kids were waiting for us. I ran over and hugged my beloved kids…I hadn’t realized how much I had missed them!!! We all drove along the stone-paved single road of Ometepe, admiring the surrounding, all normal by now. Same old same old…things never change here.

Getting off at the home, the group was welcomed by all the kids and a folkloric dance. For me, it was also a welcoming party…I felt really happy to be back in my home and to see my kids. It’s really amazing how fast they grow on you.

I dropped off my stuff at the secluded volunteer home, tucked away on the beach and forest. It felt really strange to be back and not surprisingly, things hadn’t change here either, just my perception of
Managua, one of my favorite citiesManagua, one of my favorite citiesManagua, one of my favorite cities

I took Johanna to the movies and we walked around the mall. Later, we went to Tiscapa, which offers a great view of the city
how I felt in the home. I welcomed the cold water coming through the pipe in the mosquito-infested shower. I changed, as I had sweated too much in a matter of 4 hours, and was off with the pictures of the kids I had brought from the states.

Interacting with the kids was great and they definitely missed me. I missed them a lot too. I welcomed the work ahead, which was helping to coordinate the visitors. I didn’t even have a free moment to relax and unpack. I passed out photos too, which was very overwhelming. Some kids complained they didn’t get the photos they wanted or that their friends got one more than they did. However, most were very thankful for the gift; they don’t own many photographs. I loved seeing their faces. At any moment in time, I had 10 kids crowding around me, with their elbows and knees pushed up against me.

Reflecting over my day and a half being back on my island home, I feel as if I had never left…it was as if I picked up on the relationships just as I had left them 2 months earlier. There were no

I have been privlidged to have a 2nd moto ride! Osman, my co-worker, took me out one night. Moto is the way to go!
awkward moments, which sometimes happens when you are away for a while. I also think it is amazing how one moment I was in MN and the next, on an exotic island in Nicaragua…I should be very thankful for the gift of travel. This is really a privledge that many people do not have.

Additional photos below
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Cashew fruitCashew fruit
Cashew fruit

I live in the land of fruit. Just a short walk to the monestary next door to NPH lies property of fruit. These are the fruits of the cashew tree. They are pretty taste and huge once full grown!

23rd March 2009

even after almost a year I feel warm and home when I read your blog. I still miss the kids and the house so much. keep writing!! abrazos manh hung.

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