Wow! It feels like we have been here for so long because everyday is jam packed with very "touristy" things.
So Saturday morning started off with us making a new friend. We found a kitty who just can't seem to leave us alone, so we (mainly me) named him Carlos. (: We got a brief history and geography lesson of Nicaragua, and than we took a drive around town. When I say "drive", it's NOTHING like in Canada. Here they are absolutely CRAZY drivers, making everywhere we go an adventure as soon as we step into the car! We went out for lunch at a restaurant somewhere in the city, and we got our first real taste of Nicaraguan food. Most of which is deep fried, and not a lot of veggies, which seemed alright with me when we first got here, but after today, I'm kinda wanting some carrots!
After the restaurant, we went to a kind of nature reserve where I learned how pineapples grow; not on trees and not undergrown, but instead they grow above the ground in some sort of plant. The view from the pineapple fields was gorgeous! There were mountains and volcanoes in the background, and it made Christy want to break out singing "The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music". It was crazy driving on the roads in the reserve. Just think of the worst possible roads in Canada, and they are about 10 times worse, and barely wide enough to fit two cars side-by-side.
After that, we went to a conservation area where we went on a hour and a half walk were we saw a small waterfall, which was right by a wall that was the home to hundreds of parrikes, which show up each evening around dusk. The leaders cleverly arranged it so that we would be at the waterfall right when the parrakies showed up. They were super noisy, but it was beautiful to see!
At the conservation area, I made another friend, and his name is Chester. Chester is a treefrog, and I got to hold him. Lester, our driver and one translator, decided he would pour cold water on Chester, and the frog climbed right up my arm, across my back, and jumped right back onto the tree. Watching Chester climb was so cool! He has the longest legs, and they're blue and colourful! And it was just so neat to watch him walk, and it felt kind of funny too. (:
Being here is both amazing, and heartbreaking at the same time. Each time we stop at a red light, someone is trying to sell us something, and a few times children have come to each window asking for money. However, we aren't allowed to give out money, and it makes me so sad to see them. And also driving down the highway, we've seen really nice house, with gates and barbwire all around it, right next to a house made of cardboard and some plastic. I knew that I would see poverty, but until you are actually here, and see it firsthand, it doesn't seem real. I want so bad to help, but for right now, all I can do is pray and work my hardest tomorrow and the rest of the week, to not only help build the center, but also to build the relationships with the youth of the village.
I can see God everywhere here, and it's amazing to see a whole new side of creation, in a whole new culture, and a whole new part of the world. I cannot wait for the rest of the week, and I am excited to see what is in store for us.
Written by Kim Kieftenburg, Team Member for AOYC Team - March 2012