Thursday, July 31

Suffering for the LORD

Well, it was a rough month, health-wise. I barely wrote any emails and did almost no blogging, not to mention we missed church and a going-away party. So, below you will find a compilation of pictures and stories of what we did this past month (besides suffering in bed...suffering for the LORD, right?). Enjoy!

BOYS will be BOYS





Here are a few shots of our boys. They enjoy playing together, but they also know how to push each other’s buttons! Zachariah is all boy, I sometimes wonder if he is made of pure testosterone. Nathaniel is a more of a softy, but Zach is teaching him all his wrestling moves. Our housekeeper remarks on their physical differences quite often; she probably finds it hard to believe they both came from me! I can’t say I really blame her; sometimes when I look at Nathaniel, I wonder where he came from, as well. I was playing around with some of the settings on the camera, so enjoy the photos.

COUNTRY BIRTHDAY




We made a trip to visit our friend Uriel and his family out in the country last month. During our visit, he mentioned his birthday on July 27th (he turned 27) and invited us to come and eat gallina (chicken) with them. Marta, Uriel’s wife, whispered to me excitedly, We are going to eat chicken next month! Her eyes glowed as she told me. Meat is a specialty for them, and they were going to slaughter a few of their chickens in celebration of Uriel’s birthday. So here are a few photos of our visit on Uriel’s birthday. Above, the sopa de gallina (chicken soup) is cooking on their stove. Notice the dirt floor and mud walls. When we arrived, Uriel’s mom was busy making the soup, while Marta “walked” their 10 month old daughter around the kitchen.

While there, we visited Uriel’s dad, who lives in the next farm over. Here are a few shots from the trail to his house. Uriel has a large plot of land devoted to growing peppers, which he sells in the market in the city. See the coffee growing (they look like small green beans on bushes). It will be ready to harvest by December, January (they turn red at harvest time). Here you can see some of the corn growing on his dad’s farm. Notice how steep the hillsides are. We visited a plot of land that his mother-in-law is selling. Here are a few shots from the plot of land. It is located high up above Uriel’s house. Her asking price is $2000 per manzana (unit of land here, equal to 1.6 acres), which we thought a bit high. You can see how steep the land is. They are currently growing maize (corn) and frijoles (beans) on the land.

WATER FORUM

Today (July 30) we went to a forum on water resources in Managua. It was really fascinating to hear the different viewpoints of why Nicaragua has such water problems, even with seemingly abundant resources, and ideas for how to conserve water in the poorer communities. Many of the people think that capitalism is the culprit for why Third-World countries struggle with providing access to water for their people. Others think that the rich people are to blame for the shortage of water, or poor distribution of water resources. We have talked to people in Matagalpa that talk about how it was years ago, how the Big Matagalpa river was much larger and cleaner 30 years ago. Streams never ran dry. Nowadays, many of the streams run dry in the summer time (dry season), and all the rivers are contaminated. Children bathe in the rivers, and women wash their clothes in the river. Afterwards, they have to carry the water to their homes for drinking and washing. The communities are frustrated and asking, What can we do? We would be interested in hearing your comments on this vital issue.

Granada

Well, we made an overnight trip to Granada for our 8-yr anniversary. It is a beautiful city, a bit south of Managua, but we made it in 2.5 hrs by bus and taxi from Matagalpa. Here are some pictures I was able to take before my camera battery died. Granada is a big tourist area, so it appears less like a Nicaraguan city and more like a US city. You don’t need to speak Spanish here to get around, the Nicaraguans who work in the hotels and restaurants speak English well enough to get along. Here are a few shots of our hotel room. It was a beautiful hotel, with two pools, and our room had a Jacuzzi and king-sized bed (which looked HUGE compared to our double at home). A few steps away from the hotel is the large central park, with lots of benches, little shops with indigenous wares, T-shirts, and horse-drawn carriages which offer varying tour packages of the city. Look behind us and you can see the horse-drawn carriages.

The colors of the city are fascinating. Here is a picture of the cathedral, you can see what I mean about the colors of the city.

Here are a few shots walking away from the park. This is a long street with no traffic that goes all the way to the beach on Lake Nicaragua, the largest freshwater lake in the world. On each side are restaurants of all kinds.


We found a restaurant called Asian-Latin fusion, and had supper there. We ate our Thai cuisine with chopsticks, which was fun. You could dine on couches or even a bed. We opted for a regular table, as eating curry and rice with chop sticks seemed challenging enough and prefer to eat our supper rather than wear it!

Saturday, July 12

Presidential Passing

How many of you have had the president of your respective country pass by the front door of your house? Not too many I venture. Well last evening we had the pleasure? of having the president of Nicaragua drive (yes, he was driving his own vehicle) past our house. He was in town to give a speech about something, no doubt railing against the imperialist Yankees and the Nicaraguan people who oppose his attempts at creating a dictatorship. Anyhow, it was interesting to see the pre-procession security searching for bombs (our neighbor lady said that it was the first time she has ever seen them doing anything like that, shows how popular the pres. is) and to recognize the relative lack of security during the procession (he drove by with his windows open). I put a video up so that maybe you can see a bit of what it was like.
video