Sunday, June 15, 2008

Living la vida

Hola ya'll. Don't be too surprised if this installment of the blog lacks the beautiful rhythmic flow that you have come to expect. That's right, Josh is writing this week. Before I get going on recapping our last 2 weeks I want to say a big "Thank You" for the help and support that we have received with fixing our car. If you weren't aware, we have had some major car troubles that will require a total engine overhaul of our diesel 1992 Mitsubishi Montero. The price tag for this work is 3,000 + dollars. Ouch! If it was a plausible option we would have looked for another car for that price, but unfortunately there is no such thing as a cheap (meaning $3,000) car that actually functions in the country of Nicaragua. Cars hold their value for a long time here and it would be nearly impossible to find anything worthwhile for anything less than $5,000. Thank you again.

Last week we had the pleasure of hosting an 8 team soccer tournament at the school. Our boys from Colegio Havilah performed greatly against teams who had obviously played together for some time and had some more resources. In Los Cedros' municipality there is not an organized soccer league between the schools, only one day tournaments once or twice a school year. The reason for this lack of organized sports is supposedly transportation issues, not having school buses to transport players to and from schools, and other resources. Once more, the things we take for granted in the States are so appreciated by the kids here. You should’ve seen the looks on their faces and the excitement when they found out they would actually play organized soccer games against other schools in the area. Unfortunately we lost the two games that we played in: 2 to 1 and 1 to 0, but our boys played with heart. One explanation for our loses is that the tournament was supposed to be for kids in the 5th and 6th grade, but I am sure that some of the kids on the other teams were in their mid-20s. How many 6th graders have full beards and can kick a ball all the way across the field? I guess it’s what can happens when you don’t start the first grade until you're 12 or 13 years old.

Having the tournament at the school was also the motive we needed for completing our soccer field and construction of our goals. I am proud to say that we now have the nicest soccer field in all of Los Cedros with the two best goals. Thanks Northshore Baptist youth group and Mr. You-know-who for all your help with that project.

(Team huddle of the Havilah Eagles)

(The rain didn't hold us back from having a great time)

(The crowds really came out for the final match!)

We have also been happily planning for the arrival of around 20 youth from Northshore Baptist. We have been meeting with the youth group in Los Cedros planning for different outreach events and service projects that we will do to reach the city. The concept of youth here is very much the same here as back home. If you are young, you are probably up to no good. Breaking this idea and showing that Christ’s love is just as alive in the youth as it is for others has always been one of my passions.

Like any fully functioning democracy, which Nicaragua is unfortunately not (you can read about this on your own time), we had our school elections last week and the kids voted in Anna Flores as the school president. It was fun to see the kids taking ownership in their school and learning the lesson of civic responsibility. Let’s hope that this lesson sticks with them and they can help this country in the future.

(Two thumbs up!- They stamp their thumbs as proof they'd voted...During the election there was a special committee checking for hanging Chads)

(Offering a special prayer for the elected leaders)

We also had the opportunity to go with two of our Nicaraguan friends to a community roughly 45 minutes from Los Cedros. The point of this trip was to survey a successful the central market in the town, which may be a good economic model for Los Cedros. Presently there are no stores in Los Cedros, only small “pulperias” which are like pop-up shops run out of peoples homes. The vision is not complete yet, but the hope is to develop some sort of business enterprise that would allow an open market to develop in which farmers, artisans, store owners can come together and do business. Presently, family’s must travel 40 minutes into Managua on the most awful buses in order to get their most basic needs. Part of my continued work in Nicaragua will be to plan and help support the vision for this economic development project.

(Common store from in Market)

(This guy was really proud of his onions)

(I really wanted the Puma t-shirt but Mary Frances said no.)

(We also had a field day for the kids...hence the bag race, even Josh joined in racing Profesor Carlos...a few kids modeling their prizes for winning)

Enjoy the pictures and we look forward to providing more updates on our work here. We love you all!

Josh King