Sunday, October 26, 2008

Winter Washout

One week, it's hard to believe that's all there is left to October. It has been an uneventful month in which we've enjoyed the luxuries of living in a modern house complete with tv and internet while the Perkins family has been in the States. But tomorrow, it is back across the street, back to life with out these modern day luxuries. Sigh.

Since October has been a fairly uneventful month we thought we'd let the pictures do the talking for us...demonstrating a little bit of what Nicaragua in October is like.

But before we get to all of that, one exciting development for us has been watching our dear friend Luisa opening her own pulperia (Nica 7-11). Luisa has been a faithful woman in our church, the cook for all our teams, and owner of the consignment clothing store Northshore sends used clothing down regularly. She is a dear woman. A strong woman of faith who has demonstrated an incredible heart and joy even while her family has been hanging on by threads the last few years. Thanks to a micro-loan given out by the economics team in September she was able to start up a pulperia and we have seen a burdened lifted and an even greater smile upon her face.

Our friends Bryden and Trista Russell, from our B.C./Trinity Western days, stopped by Managua for a week as they backpack their way through Central America. It was awesome to have good friends to chill with each evening, playing cards, making dinner, and experiencing the Wii together. We also got to take Bryden to the hospital since he had some crazy intestinal bug attack him...that was probably in the top three most eventful things that happened to us this to the lightening strike that hit the Perkins property frying their power invertor and swimming inside their house due to all the rain.

Finally, we thought we'd show the destructive and awesome power of Nicaraguan rains. The above pictures are a few examples of what we like to call "winter washout." The top pictures are what used to be the road we take to the beach. Now there is a ginormous hole in the road which will most like take them a year or two to fix. The bottom pictures is the road right before getting to the beach. Apparently the waterfalls above the road have a wee-bit more water than usual as it has spilled over the road. Also, we thought we'd share a video of what the road directly in front of the school becomes during all this rain.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

October Rains

October is fondly known as the month of rain down here. It is a month of mud, of mosquitoes, of torrential down pours, beautiful sunsets and cooler days. To those from Washington, it is a month that has the sentiments of home. I personally have been relishing the changes. I have worn pants more than shorts and skirts. I have actually worn my hair down a few times instead of in the continuous ponytail I've had since we moved here. While these may seem strange things to find joy in I've missed these small changes. In any case, both of us have enjoyed the cooler weather, the ability to move around and not immediately break into a sweat. And we laugh at ourselves when we feel cold cause the weather has dropped into the low 80s high 70s. So far it has been a good month. A refreshing change of season.

We recently experienced two dramatic examples of the soaking power of Nicaraguan rain. The first came on a trek on which we were helping bring food to a feeding program out to Montfresco, a neighboring community to Los Cedros. There are a series of puddles, or rather lakes, that have gradually increased in size over the past three weeks on the dirt road out to Montefresco. We have learned how to navigate with the skill and savvy of a local and with the help of some sweet 4-wheel drive action.

But on this particular drive our "puddle senses" failed us. We decided to navigate one particular "luddle" (lake/puddle) we knew to have a huge dip that, before the recent heavy rain, was almost past the headlights when driven through. So confident in our idea and in our truck, we passed through the puddle only to quickly discover a horrible rut that managed to high center our truck and render our 4-wheel drive useless. Mistake 1 - stick to what you know when it comes to "luddles". Mistake 2- just cause you have 4-wheel drive doesn't mean you can pass through anything untouched. Mistake 3- always have your camera handy!

Fortunately we had many Nica's come to our rescue, complete with a cowboy and his horse. After a few failed attempts, the cowboy galloping off on his horse to grab a chain, and a quick call for help from Lee Lockridge, we managed to get our truck out of the hole. If only we had had a camera for it was a prime photo opportunity.

Top: Josh and Mateo Bustamante getting the grill ready. Mateo Bustamante waiting for dinner to come.
Middle: MF demonstrating how delicious the BBQ was. Pastora and Pastor Manuel posing so nicely for me!
Bottom: Seattle groupy BBQing after the crazy rain that soaked our house. Halle August (minus his awesome wife), a dear friends who hails from Woodinville.

Our second amazing rain experience happened last Saturday. The thing about rain down here is that you can actually feel when it is coming. The wind picks up, the thunder starts rolling, the lightening starts stricking, the sky is blackened with ominious clouds and there is a heaviness that comes to the air. We noticed all of those changes but did not expect the intensity of water that was about to deluge the Perkins (family across the street who we are housesitting for) house. As the clouds moved over us it was like being hit sideways by a wall of water. Water was streaming in through every window in the house regardless of whether they were closed or not. It also started pouring in through the high windows the Perkins have in their vaulted ceiling. All we could do was laugh at the fact that we could go "swimming" inside, marvel at the crazy force of the rain, and grab some mops to start pushing the water back outside. Needless to say, we've had a nature adventurous last couple of weeks.

Top: Lee Lockridge the handy man working on our new fence. Josh demonstrating just how much these watermelon plants have grown in the past two weeks!
Middle: Our new fence at the entrance to the school. A view of the growing garden!
Bottom: We have success! Our first banana crop!

Beyond the entertainment rain has brought things around the school have been fairly quiet. Pastor has put her foot down so that we are not losing so many days of school to all the thousands of holidays this country has. Instead we've only had one celebration so far this month which, amazingly, didn't cause us to lose a day of school. It was the day of Nicaraguan Food. All of the kids and teachers brough traditional food to school to share amongst ourselves. The students in their classes were required to stand up and explain to the class how their typical food was made, what it consists of , and what makes it traditional. For the most part we've come to enjoy these traditional foods and enjoyed the opportunity to celebrate with our friends.

Top: Plate of typical Nica food (pork, cabbage salad, and yucca), Third graders waiting to present their food to the other classes.
Middle: Fernando one of my sweet 2nd graders proudly showing off his food. Helmon, a 4th grader, giving his food presentation to the class.
Bottom: Josh and Jasmina (2nd grade teacher) displaying some traditional Nica food. MF, Fatima and Cela also showing off some traditional Nica food before our potluck.

Other than that we are starting to wind down. We have 4 weeks left of classes and 8 weeks left in total here. With that comes a mixture of feelings and the beginnings of reflection on our year here. I will end with some verses I have been reflecting on. Psalm 111:3- "Everything He does reveals his glory and majesty. His righteousness never fails. He causes us to remember His wonderful works." Every face, every life, every experience we've had, every majestic bolt of lightening that shatters and splinters across the sky, every deep and powerful rumble of thunder, every drenching of rain, every cry we've uttered, every moment we've rejoiced have been opportunities to see and know our Creator in a new and deeper way. We rejoice in that. We rejoice in knowing that "we are God's masterpiece" (Ephesians 2:10) just as the sunset below is yet another display of His greatness and glory.