Saturday, January 21, 2017


What an amazing trip!  We are still trying to process everything we saw and experienced and figure out what response is needed to some of the harder things.  It is impossible for me to share everything here, the pictures and videos do a much better job.  Here are some highlights from each of us:

Kyla: monkeys, Lake Apoyo, all the jewelry that the street vendors sell
Keanan: zip lining, seeing the kids, hiking to the waterfall
Zac: swimming in Lake Apoyo, visiting the Compassion center, talking with Kara from Beauty for Ashes
Jen: the kids (out at the dump, Maykelin, Carlos), fresh coconut, cacao seeds, and pineapple, and zip lining through the jungle

Lows/things we've learned: 3 beds are necessary for our family not 2 (no matter how large the bed is, the kids will fight about "sides"), it is a good idea to bring pepto bismal tablets, it is so hard not to use the faucet to brush your teeth, kids at the dump with no shoes, the amount of trash everywhere, jungle birds wake very early and are very noisy!
We flew from San Francisco to San Salvador and then our flight to Nicaragua got delayed by about 4 hours!
Day 1:
After the flight delay, the kids were super tired the next day!  We had a driver, Juilo, for the week since there are no road signs and the drivers in Nica are crazy!  He spoke little to no English which was good for practicing our Spanish.  :)
Standing at the edge of the Mayasa Volcano crater!  You could actually see the lava!
playing with rubber from the rubber tree
beautiful waterfall at the end of our jungle hike
 In the hammock outside our guest house.
Day 2:
The "Árboles de la vida" - trees of life, all over Managua
This is Pedro.  I think he is about 5.  He was working at the dump BAREFOOT and stepped on some glass when we were there.  Another little boy was also barefoot, but Kara told us she has given him many pairs of shoes.  The problem is his mom takes the shoes and sells them for drugs and alcohol.  Out hearts were broken.
This is Caterina and she is 12.  Such a sweet girl in such a horrible place.
As soon as we got to the dump the kids jumped all over Kara's car - hood, roof, sides.  They know she comes with water, snacks, and most of all love.
The girls really wanted me to take a selfie with them!  This is Francesca and Caterina. 
This sweet family that lives right outsides the dump was recently sponsored through Kara to build this new house - complete with metal walls and a concrete floor.  The previous house was cardboard, plastic, whatever they could find, and a dirt floor.  About 12-16 people will live here.
Day 3:
going zip lining!!
The monkeys were awesome to watch!
This is how we got off the zipline!  My video was the most entertaining...
Zac and the kids in the water.  Year round constant 84 degrees!
Enjoying the tropical weather from the shore.
Day 4:
Maykelin's family!  Their one room house was not much better than the ones we saw near the dump.  It was neat to see what they have done with the gifts we have sent.
Carlos's family.  Both kids live in the barrios - one of many slum type areas in Managua.  Very poor - but they are so filled with joy!
Kids are kids - no matter what county they live in.  Note: it's a cultural thing that the Nica kids don't smile in photos.
Yep.  I stole the baby!  Maykelin's 4 month old sister
Day 5:
Riding horses up to the cacao plantation.  They were in such sad shape :(
A cacao pod!  You can suck on the seeds - so sweet and yummy, like fruit.  It doesn't tasted like chocolate till it's fermented and dried.
lunch on the side of the mountain, Lake Nicaragua in the background
This bag of cacao beans is ready to ship to the USA!
This colt followed us up and down the mountain because one of the other horses was it's mom.  Kyla was the only one it would come up to!!
Oldest church in Central America - in Granada.
In summary:  Go on crazy adventures with your kids.  Sponsor a child. Visit that child.  If you can read this, pause and realize how blessed you are.  Do something about it - it is our privilege and responsibility. "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." Luke 12:48  One way to respond is support Kara and her work in the dump with Beauty for Ashes:

Nicaragua was wonderful, and it was hard.  Lord willing, we'll be back some day!

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