I am often found at a loss for words when I have to speak of Nicaragua. I do not know where to begin, there is just too much. In September I spent a week in the village of El Carmen, Nicaragua, helping a team of missionaries conduct a medical clinic. This village had nothing but the school compound and a small church in it, though I heard rumors there was a small family restaurant somewhere close by. I did not realize how much one week could change someone’s life, until I spent a week with these people.
The first thing that people always ask is about the conditions that we stayed in, and I’m going to be frank about this: They were awful. Plain and simple. We crammed about 25 women into this little church, mattresses, suitcases and all, and attempted to live for a week. I was told by some of the veteran missionaries that this was the worst they had ever had it. The whole bathing thing was also a little difficult. They don’t have running water out in the jungle (I don’t know why people are surprised when I say that), so they always have to improvise. What they do is get some barrels, attach a few water hoses and drape them over a metal box. Presto, you have a shower. For whatever reason, though, they decided the morning that everyone wanted a shower, to stop working. I had already been two days without a shower, and I had another one to go before I would get one. Let me tell you something, though. That was the best shower I have ever taken. Hands down. After 3 days of sweating a dirt and people who have nothing but dirt floors and leaves for roofs, that shower was the best thing I had ever done.
Another thing people are often curious about is the food. What did I eat while I was there? Well, I want to first inform you that I did NOT eat any of the food from Nicaragua, unless it was factory made. It is a third-world country, nothing is safe to eat. We brought our own cooking team and water and prepared all of our own meals. Actually, I ate so much that week that I gained weight. Which, looking back on it, is astounding. There is no way I was able to eat that much all in one week. The food was delicious, and I was burning so many calories from the heat and the mud that I needed the extra ones.
Speaking of which, I have never experienced such mud in my entire life. It started raining when we got there and did not stop until sometime much after we left. In fact, I'm pretty sure it will never stop raining there for any reason what-so-ever. It will continue to rain for the rest of eternity. Judging the amount of mud that was there when we arrived, it had already been raining that long. At one point, I stepped on a spot that looked solid and sank through up to the very top of my rain boot. I was very lucky water did not start rushing into my boot at that point, I probably would have grown some sort of foot fungus.
I think, at this point, I will end this post as well. It has given you some idea of the conditions of that week, and I will continue to speak of it in the months to come, I am sure.