nicaragua: wednesday

tuesday was so beautiful that wednesday we all woke up a little early.
it was unplanned.

armed with water and energy we loaded up into the vans and headed back into the fray

this is one of the classic stories of what we’re doing… i don’t even know this little girl’s name, but every time i saw her, she was carrying her brother.

and as we approached, i offered to hold him, and she handed him right over – and the whole time i had him, she kept checking on me like a little mother. i can’t imagine what kind of strength she must have, both spiritual and physical, to carry around someone else all day. and it was so interesting to pick him up not just because i’m a chick with a ticking clock and love babies, but to relieve her burden. there’s no way for me to know if he ever feels like a burden to her, but i could see her without his weight on her little hips and that’s why we’re here. i recently read the book Intercessory Prayer and in it there’s a section about how we pray and take care of each other not to just ease the burden but to carry it ourselves, to shoulder and share what gets in the way of our being free. and i hope that helped her. what a beauty!

some of us stayed at the field and set up the field day… several of us stayed at the school, and helped prime a wall to extend the mural that was started last year

messy, messy work

of course it flies by when you’re with some good friends

we actually spent most of the morning painting, and then left for lunch back at the hotel. there was a great buffet place around the corner

it was a perfect breezy afternoon on a second-floor patio

after lunch we got to hang around and regroup

a fair amount of time is spent on these trips waiting… but the people are so amazing that no one cares. what’s fifteen minutes when you have these kind of people to share the stolen in-between times?

back in the field, joan and i sat with some families off to the side while the party raged on

kasey had his camera out the whole time

our boy daniel, who is a bionic mountain of a man – standing a full head taller than most nicaraguans – MC’d the games

and we each did our own thing for most of the afternoon. everything was focused on the field, but we each were connecting with different people, running different games… it was kind of amazing how we had all been there before and were able to work together in a different way than i’d ever seen. everyone found a place to be.

P1010201 P1010202


there was a series of field events with prizes, there were water balloon tosses and sack races, variations on sack races, relay races and parent / kid teams and husband / wife teams and random races. there were lacrosse games and soccer and tag

there was near the end of the day one of the coolest drum classes i’ve ever seen – marcus actually had the kids collect water bottles and other debris and it was like that thunderstorm game  you play in grade school where you teach each group a different rythm and then you lead them, introducing each sound until it’s a great big symphony and it gets faster and louder until the LIGHTNING IS CRASHING and then ALL THE BOTTLES ARE IN THE AIR      (this story is better with pantomimes, obviously)

as things slowed down we headed out around 6ish, exhausted and dirty, promising the kids we’d see them soon, reveling in a certain satisfation that everyone had fun and were only going to be gone for a little while. knowing you’re coming back brings a joy to leaving – does that make sense? every time i travel i’m reminded how quickly, how effortlessly we are able to acclimate. things become commonplace in a day. i’m leaving, but i know i’ll see you tomorrow, ain’t no thing.

on the way out we stopped to see the action at the entrance of la chureca – what’s literally called “hell’s gate,” where some of the older adolescents / young adult men hang out, waiting for the dump trucks to come, and loitering. there isn’t a lot of good that goes on over here.


but in the face of hell’s gate, austin and patrick had spent all day painting a new mural that was a celebration. it’s so hard to explain, like when the local guys understood what they were up to they started clearing away the garbage from that part of the street. the local guys began to show pride for the gate almost immediately. typically this area is covered in trash, often lit on fire, and suddenly it was swept clean and baptized and celebrated –

pictured here is matty, filming will interview austin for a segment on Fuel TV.


i jumped in for a quick pose with jessica and patrick

and once we got back home,
the leftover waterballoons *somehow* ended up in the street…


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