nicaragua: friday

friday we spent the entire day living in the moment and doing whatever we could – in brett’s case, this meant being a mobile pillow. this is one of my favorite photos from the whole trip :)
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patrick found his home base up front,
continuing the mural from last year with help from the kids
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i took an opportunity to swing by the home base of one of the outreach projects in La Chureca – this is a safe place where the kids can get a bite to eat almost every day.
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by the field, i found deise and the face paints that she brought from home!!
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it was the sweetest thing – of course i jumped right in and we did the most simple designs – hearts and flowers for the girls, spiders and lightning bolts for the boys – and they lined up for it
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i broke out the big guns for elana
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eventually the tables were turned…
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some of the kids got in line two or three times –
i think the winner was our tribal friend on the right…
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as we painted, the concert was beginning to take shape – the plan for the day was to hang out and spread the word in the morning, and in the afternoon we would serve a meal and have a concert.
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Brett and some of the other guys had brought their equipment and got a massive lacrosse game underway
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and it was one of those days where there were so many cooks in the kitchen that we had the leisure time to hang out. if anyone needed us to be useful, we were around and happy to help… in the meantime elana was on my shoulders when she took this one of patrick and jessica
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and of tiago and his buddy – tig’s so tall this doesn’t even look like she was on my shoulders! – you can see that he got a dose of the face paint as well
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and sara had her little love affair to tend to. i can’t get over how beautiful they both are.
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the concert picked up early in the afternoon and went on for hours. i have so much respect for those kids on stage, it was sweltering hot and they put on such a good show
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we served hot (cooked) meals across the field – i’d like to say it was a highly organized and well orchastrated event, but in the end i bailed from managing the line and jumped behind the table to hand out food. sara thankfully took my spot and was able to communicate to people waiting for food how the system was supposed to work. when i was in front, it was basically me smiling while people tried to ask questions… i’m an idiot, that’s the real problem here. i should have gotten sara sooner! she’s got one of those megawatt smiles and soon things were on track. i was only trying to wrangle one of four lines, and she managed all four!

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elana and i took a break after the food was all distributed. there was a drink tent next to the food tent, and we sucked on pieces of ice, shared a bottle of water, and found some bubbles of all things lying around
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and after getting back into the game it was so sweet, austin asked me if she would like to swing around… and i was just like, go for it man. she’ll love you. and it just breaks your heart the way we all approach each other, the kids shy and desperate and detached but curious, us nervous about being misunderstood, misinterpreted, overbearing. both sides approach with caution and put their feelers out, and both sides realize at the same moment that we already know each other and are safe in the freefall towards each other through the proverbial fields of daisies.

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in other words, she did indeed love getting swung around by this fantastic bandanna-headed giant.

one of my other favorite moments of the day was when i was sitting on the ground talking to mike, and watching him chat with a one of our future lacrosse superstars

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when this little goatee-ed angel just strutted up to me with an orphaned bottle of face paint and helped herself to my blank shoulder canvas. she didn’t even want to talk, she ignored my questions about her name, her age, if she’s having a good time… she just wanted to paint and that was cool.

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i snuck “backstage” a little while later to catch a couple shots before the concert ended
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ah God i love fernanda.
she is like this, just exhuberant and happy and engaged, ALL THE TIME.
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after the concert it was like –
what is the phrase from Where the Wild Things Are? – wild rumpus time
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the sun was setting and i still was covered in paint. it had been a good day.
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the good and the bad of being here though – the harsh realities of it never go away. as much as we’ve been dancing and singing and throwing kids in the air and getting painted on, we get to go home. and these families live here. that’s the hardest thing about, well, anything, is opening yourself to realizing that these people LIVE HERE. ALL THE TIME. i will drive out in an air conditioned van in less than an hour, and elana will skip down the dirt road to her home.
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it ended on a somewhat somber note because as the sun sets, the tire fires that are camouflauged during the day stand out that much more as the sky gets its bruises from the sunset
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we did leave in our air conditioned van. i’ve never been here after dark before, and it’s a little unnerving. but we know the roads, we drove out past the school and new chapters of the mural and out through hell’s gate.
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at our hotel we made an assembly line and packed lunches for the beach trip we had planned for saturday. everyone was quietly happy, we were tired from the day but still wanting to decompress and tell stories, we took our time making sandwiches and chattering.
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after a while we were able to clear off the lunch prep and make way for dinner – STACKS of pizza that we shared with the family that tends to the italian property, who was able to make some time to spend with us.
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friday ended in a really cool way… deise and danni sat down to play a couple songs, just jam around, and i of course being obsessed with them just helped myself and sat in front like a front-row schoolgirl on the first day of third grade. and yes, i was that girl in grade school. but on the way to the concert i grabbed a couple girls to sit with me, marcus found his egg shakers, tiago got his guitar and before you know it nearly all of us were sitting at their feet. for almost an hour we were treated to some of the most magnificient music, classic brazilian songs that swish around you like cloth in a breeze.
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from the brazilians the singing shifted to brad, who played a couple new songs for us, before as a group we started talking about the future of what we do here and where it could go – how do we cultivate it, and how do we set those goals in the first place? i think everyone there was really into it, and left with the feeling that it’s all going to grow wildly.

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