Dear friends, i ask that you forgive me for this blog entry.
Many of you have asked me about how my trip to Nicaragua went. Excitedly i am approached with questions about my trip and how it went. “Was it fun?” “Was it fulfilling?”
And each time, a lump forms in my throat and i fail to say anything. Here’s the thing: i am not ready to talk about it yet. And i may never be ready to talk about it. But i also feel the urgency to break the silence and stutter my way through some of my emotions/thoughts. So please please please forgive me if I (or this blog entry) come off as dismissive or exclusive. I honest to goodness just don’t have any idea how to process anything.
Earlier this spring, i decided to join a friend of mine, BC Serna, on a trip to Nicaragua. We were going to build homes for impoverished neighborhoods. I researched it. Watched videos. Googled everything about TECHO, and Journey and Nicaragua and everything in between. And then i asked all of you to help me get there… to fund my trip.
Part of me thought i wouldn’t actually make it on this trip; wouldn’t raise the funds. wouldn’t be able to afford the flight. or the costs. wouldn’t be able to find someone to care for my child while i was gone for a week. But then… the pieces fell into places. on their own. And i had packed a bag and made my way into this developing country.
I didn’t know what to expect.
This write up is not a diary entry. or an explanation. and i don’t even feel like i’m giving these people a voice. I am just sitting here crying in front of my computer monitor. Nicaragua forever changed me. I leave there my (literal) blood, sweat and tears… right there inside their new home.
The family that you all raised money to build a house for was the most hard working, humble, giving, generous and joyful group of individuals i have ever had the good fortune to meet. Under their circumstances, they live in poverty, and will likely never escape it. We put up four walls and handed them a set of keys. for me… for anyone i know in my “real world” this is nothing. but to them it was everything.
so for those of you who donated. prayed over me. believed in me. and supported me on this journey… i owe you endless thank yous. and i cannot iterate how much of an impact you made, not only in a poor community – but for this family and their children and (perhaps more importantly) for my own soul and spirit.
Also, a very special thank you to the people that i met on this trip – many of which i now feel tethered to by some invisible soul threading. We all did this together and i am so very honored to have shared space in this life with each and every one of you. Thank you for being my sounding board. My shoulder to lean on upon return. And the people that can absorb my scattered thoughts and emotions and embrace them as your own.
Friends… Nicaragua was the hardest thing i have ever experienced or done in my entire life. And i’m not sure what to do with that now that i am back. So forgive me for staring at my shoes when you ask me how it was. Or for dodging the question altogether. I don’t know what i experienced. Honestly. But i imagine that i will spend the rest of my life trying to figure it out.
this is Traci. Traci and i were the two volunteers asigned to the house you all funded for the Reyna family!this WAS their home! Helen. She broke my heart and made me new. Over and over and over again. I wanted to bring her home with me. And this little girl… she ran after our bus yelling my name as we drove away. Each day, Dona Reyna made us a meal while we built. Her kitchen is outdoors and just on the other side of this is their shower where they use a bucket to wash their bodiesThis little boy. He was the happiest baby. And he loved his bath time. again. with the heart breaking.Their older brother, Charlie, is a year older than my kid. He worked so hard to build his new home with us. It was truly beautiful. And when he wasn’t helping us, he was running errands to help his mother. But that is their life. And they don’t know any different. And they are SO happy in their placement. We had two AMAZING TECHO crew members that were the brains (and the brawn) of our operation. They were also volunteers. When i asked why they volunteered their time, he said “i live in somewhat acceptable living standards. and so many of my people do not. and that is unacceptable to me” the Reyna kids had amazing little friends. They would come over to keep us company. To lighten our spirits. they put cold towels on my head when it had become too hot for me to stand. they brushed my hair. and offered to help us dig yet another post hole. They are kids. And i felt so nurtured. and protected. and loved. and i miss them. i miss them terribly.After we had completed our building days, we went to another location about four hours away. There we got to visit with children in a medical clinic set up with the help of Monty – who is perhaps one of my favorite persons on this planet. I have never met a man that is this dedicated to the betterment of humanity and spirit.
Next to the medical clinic, is their school. They have instructors who teach the children English. These children come to this school after they attend their regular school. They are learning the very basics of English.We spent our last two evenings looking out at the ocean. The same ocean that comes through and washes away homes in this community. Our last night together, we all sat quietly staring out at the waves. While this was an excruciating experience on all levels… i know this:
Nicaragua, you are beautiful. In your pain there is beauty. In your poverty there is abundance. In your humility there is quiet confidence and strong faith. You have changed me. And i will always always always be in love with what you taught me about this life and this world.
again, i lower my head in gratitude for all of you who supported this trip and made it possible. i cannot express adequately. or say that enough. thank you. thank you. thank you. thaaaaaank you. thank you for doing this with me.
be infinitely blessed