Sunday, November 9, 2008

November...the beginning of the end

Oh November, sweet November. The seasons have changed, the sun has come back, and the sweat has returned. It feels a little backwards to us to be entering into the beginning stages of summer as November is usually a cold and rainy month back in Seattle.

November is also the "beginning of the end" as we are in the initial stages of wrapping this wonderful and crazy year up. It's hard to believe. Classes are ending and we are starting to sort through stacks of school related papers, books and clothes that have somehow accumulated even though we haven't gone shopping in a year! It is a month that will be bittersweet. Sweet- because we are ready for change, ready for classes to be over, and ready to see what new things the Lord has for us back in Seattle. It is bitter for school will be over, the smiling faces and hugs from the children we have come to love will no longer be a part of our daily routine and we will be leaving this Nica community we've grown to love. We are ready and we are not and for that it is bittersweet.

Top: Jasmina raking in style. Carlos and Osmin sharpening the machete...number one tool in Nicaragua.
Bottom: Roberto your supposed to use the shovel not lean on it. Pastora looking like a Gringa ready to clean up the streets in Los Cedros.

Well enough of reflection for now. October ended well with an amazing week spent with women from Northshore Baptist and Cascade Community Church in Settle. This women's team is becoming a highly anticipated and deeply impacting group not only for those from the States but also for the women of Los Cedros.

The main purpose behind the week was a three day women's conference held at the Perkin's Rancho. There were about 140 women who came, give or take a few. Each day was a treat for these women who got to leave behind their children, their housework, and in some ways reality for three days to this little slice of heaven. We socialized, ate lunch together, listened to a speaker and did crafts together. It was amazing to watch the women connect despite the language and cultural differences. It's amusing to see how women just seem to connect even if they can't fully understand one another.

Top: The women entering the rancho on their first day of the retreat. Fatima sorting through the clothing goods.
Bottom: Uh...David...I think the shirt might be too small for you....well apparently it fits?

One of the highlights of the three days was what we like to call the "Blessings Store." The women from the states brought down 14 suitcases packed with clothing, shoes, purses, jewelry, underwear, the works. The Nicaraguan women were then split into groups by table and given a number. When their number was called they excitedly rushed to the ranchito to begin their shopping extravaganza. Each group had 10 minutes to pick out 5 items consisting of shoes, one clothing outfit, and accessories. The excited frenzy and smiles upon their faces was worth the minor frustrations of orchestrating such an event. The reward for us was watching them come the next morning all gussied up in their beautiful new outfits. The satisfaction and boost in self-esteem was almost tangible and was our reward for all the energy and hard work put into the week. It was beautiful and touching to me to watch these Nicaraguan women I have come to love be enveloped and encouraged by love from the Lord and love from fellow sisters.

Top: Tywla playing with a puzzle with Genesis. Craft time! The ladies decorated flip flops
Bottom: The women after a successful shopping trip. Even Josh found something!
Bubbles were a great hit with the little ones.

Other than that, we are trying to soak up these last four weeks of being here and I am trying not to kill a few of my classes who become rowdier with every class as the end is in sight. It will be a full month, and while it still seems like some days go in slow motion, we know the end will come probably faster than we are really ready for.

Top:Halloween Nica Style
Middle 2: Brisa showing us how to properly use styrafoam cups. Saying good-bye to the Lockridges as they head back to Seattle.
Bottom: Participating in the foot drawings at the Lockridges good-bye party.