Nicaragua 2012 – Days 1 & 2
First of all, I would like to apologize for my delayed blogging. We have spent a lot of time traveling up to this point, and I am just now able to sit down and do some writing. We left Detroit yesterday at noon. We arrived in Atlanta with enough time to eat some lunch, discuss the customs process and plans for the evening, before catching our plane to Managua.
We arrived in Managua safely last night. There was a little delay in finding one of my checked bags, but fortunately it eventually showed up before our 3 hr car ride in the morning! We spent the night at the Best Western, which is literally across the street from the airport. The rooms were renovated since last year, but I think many of us were too tired to fully appreciate anything more than the top side of the pillow!
This morning, we were able to enjoy a big buffet breakfast before hitting the road. We drove from Managua to Chinandega, which is about a 3 hour drive. Once we arrived in Chinandega, we unloaded the many duffle bags, and sorted them out during lunch. After lunch, we piled into our 16 passenger vans and embarked on the 1 ½ drive to Petosi. I believe that the total trip was around 70 km, but only the first 50 or so are paved. When the pavement ended, we were flagged down by a few army officers. Jose (our driver) gave them the proper documents and apparently the correct answers, since we were permitted to continue. I don’t know if you have seen any pictures of the Army officers in Nicaragua, but they are armed a little better than the police back in the states. All of the officers at the stop were armed with AK 47s. It was fortunate that they did not hassle us on our trip today!
After we cleared the Army stop, it turned out that we had yet another obstacle to navigate; the road was flooded, and it appeared to be a pretty deep hole where the water gathered. Jose had to adjust the air intake on the vans (since they draw air from the bottom side of the engine), so that we wouldn’t have major problems crossing the road. After the adjustments were complete, we piled back into the van and made it across! After numerous kilometers of rough roads, water puddles, and numerous motorcycles sharing the road, we arrived in Petosi!
Our arrival in Petosi was a little softer of a greeting than we are used to in the familiar village of La Joya. Once in Petosi, James and Sandi started community mapping with the families that gathered at the church. The children got to participate in coloring exercises and the parents were able to draw maps and answer questions about the communities in which they live. This is the first mission group to Petosi, so it is a bit of a learning experience about the community assets, skills, and needs. A large group of us were able to walk in the community and visit the houses in which we will be planting community gardens and installing skylights. By the end of the afternoon, we had a better view of the community and the people definitely opened up and were sad to see us go. The children were as friendly as ever, and I cannot wait to have some time to play with them later this week! Who knows, with all of the talk of the playoffs down here, we might just have to get a baseball game going! Well, it is getting late here, so I better get going to bed. Hasta lluego.
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