Cereal, toast, fruit and fresh squeezed oj for breakfast at 8, and then we set off for our village, El Convento. It was about 30 minutes away down a completely dirt/mud road with huge pot holes all over - and it was still drizzling a little.
The village is awesome and the people are so welcoming and nice! LWI actually built another well in this community just last week, and they were so greatful - and so excited to get another one!! We saw the other well right when we pulled in to town ("town" is 2 blocks wide by 5 blocks long) and there was a little girl there trying to pump water!! I was so happy to actually see a well, built just last week by some Americans from Texas, being used in the community! I just had to go up and ask if I could pump water for the next family that came. Of course they let me. So there I was, in my Sunday dress and sandals, pumping water out of a well in a remote village in Nicaragua...
It was one of those "moments" I have on every trip - where it really hits you - where you are and what you are doing... Anyways, my little moment didn't last long, because the old lady who the water was for was quick to point out that I was raising the pump handle too high and was hitting the top, and that apparently was 'no bueno.' Once I figured it out she clapped and smiled and let me fill her two jugs for her. Let me tell you, pumping water was harder than I thought! And it was SO hot and muggy (it rained all night and was still drizzling a little) - I was sweating pretty good by the time I was done! The same lady was saying something about me to another lady, I wasn't listening, but then she said, "tambien bonita" as I was walking off...which means, "also pretty." I didn't actually hear her say it, the pastor did...he walked over there to take a picture for me, and asked me what it meant. She probably said something about the dumb American who doesn't know how to pump a well, but she's pretty! ;)
|"No, no, this is NOT how you do it!"|
|Belki and her son, Diego|
I walked back to everyone else waiting at the church (about a 1/2 block away) - the church is a one room, probably 15 feet by 20 feet, cinder block building (exactly like a lot of the other buildings/houses here) with a tiled floor, nice roof, and 4 rows of pews on each side. Most of the other houses just have dirt floors, are not painted, and the roof isn't so nice...
|Brothers, Jonathan and Justin|
The building actually completely filled up - babies through elderly, and there were people standing outside!! They were all very anxious to meet us, so we all had to get up in front of the church (after some prayers and songs) and share. I told them my name, how old I was, where I was from, and that I spoke very little spanish - I said all that in Spanish. Then I started talking in English and let the translator do the rest. I told them I was very excited to be there and I thanked them for allowing us to come serve them and share with them...I don't remember what else. I tried not to blab on forever like I tend to do. And they all clapped and shouted Amen when I was done!! It was SO cool! We read more scripture, said some more prayers, sang some more songs - I'm not gonna lie, I was having a hard time paying attention for all of the adorable kids eyeing me and smiling really big! Oh they're all just beautiful! Church was about an hour, and I was glad it ended when it did, because I had sweat running down my face and back (literally) and I felt like I was going to pass out! I tried to talk to a few of the people, they all wanted to shake our hands and say "God Bless You" - I grabbed as many of the kids I could and told them they were "muy bonita"! I can't WAIT to spend the week there with them! I brought a whole suitcase full of frisbees, jump ropes, tennis balls, bubbles, coloring books, crayons, and markers - and man am I glad I did! These kids are going to LOVE playing with everything!! :)
Links to YouTube videos of the church members singing songs:
Okay so before we left the village to head back to Leon, I really had to pee, and of course no one else did. I was a little weary of going to the bathroom there, but I figured I'd better get used to it now since I'll be there all week! It was a little hole in the ground with a cement block/box kinda thing built up around it, and some little pieces of plywood and sheets around that! It really didn't smell all that bad, and no toilet paper of course, but I've seen worse! (China bathrooms = hole in the ground. I can go anywhere!)
|The bathroom behind the church|
We drove to the other end of the village to see the spot we will be drilling. There was already a hole in the ground. Oh, and most of the houses here are nothing more than a few pieces of tin put together somehow. Some of them, though, are cinder block houses like the church. Chickens, cows, horses, pigs, and LOTS of dogs just run rampant. I just can't imagine living there, like that, how they do! Man, if I had to pump my water every day, I think I'd be a LOT more resourceful with it!! Those jugs and buckets are HEAVY!! And trash just lined the sides of the roads n places... Siigghh...it makes me sad. But at least they will have clean water now! :)
|The start of our well...a 4 or 5 foot deep square|
|The pigs have these stick things around their necks to keep them|
from running through the barbed wire fences all over the village!
We drove back to Leon after seeing a little bit of the village, and Angel and Douglas took us around to some of the beautiful old churches there in the city.
|Pirates of the Caribbean was playing at the movie theater!|
|The outside of our house on the edge of town|
The hygiene class coordinator, 27 year old Kenia, came over to the house to meet us this afternoon and tell me about the week and what to anticipate! I can't WAIT to get back to that village and play with the kids!! Did I already say that!? ;) Tomorrow morning we (she and I) will be walking around to the houses and asking the women to come to the class, and in the afternoon (the kids only go to school until noon) we will have time with all the kids!! 50 or 60 of them, Kenia thinks!! Yea, CAN'T WAIT!!
After meeting with Kenia, we went in to Leon and walked around the Central Plaza Square, visited some more of the churches (all Catholic, and built in like the 1800s!) And of course I bought some jewelry...necklaces, bracelets, and earrings! The girl selling them, who said she and her mother made them all, really liked my watch - and my feeble attempts at speaking Spanish and translating for the others. After I bought my stuff and everyone else had too, she gave me a little wooden guitar shaped key chain that says Nicaragua on it and said to think of her when I see it! How cute! :)
|I'm squatting down and hunched over, and I'm STILL taller than she is!|
We made it back to the house and had a little down time for some basketball - and relaxation - before dinner.
Dinner was super good - AGAIN. It was lasagna, but it wasn't really just like our lasagna. The cheese was SUPER good and just really cheesy! I don't know how to explain it - just GOOD. And garlic bread and salad. I didn't have any of the salad - I wasn't that hungry and it didn't look that great.
After dinner I went I'm to my room and got out the BIRTHDAY CAKE!! :) The youngest little boy (Carlos - 3) hasn't been too friendly - he sticks his tongue out and scowls and just says NO any time you just look at him. So he was doing his normal antics when I brought the box out and bent down and whispered, "Carlos, mira...torta de cumpleanos" Ooooh man, did he like me then! I let him help me stick the candles in and he kept saying "Aqui?? Aqui?" And pointing to different spots...it was so cute! So we lit the candles with his momma and then we carried it out to everyone sitting outside who had just finished eating and sang Happy Birthday in Spanish! Little Jorge was so surprised...and maybe a little embarrassed...he put his head in his hands and tried to hide for a little bit! We had asked ahead of time how to sing the happy birthday song in Spanish, so that was really fun. Its so funny - all the kids understand English when you ask them something, but then they answer you in Spanish! I asked little Jorge if he knew I had a birthday cake for him in the box (he saw me with the box coming in from the grocery store). And he answered completely in Spanish...like that works for me! ;) He said he didn't know it was a cake, he just thought I had a box. The cake was super good - it was white cake, but it had a caramel flavor in it too. I was just glad it wasn't chocolate - I forgot to ask at the store!
|Carrying out the birthdy cake and singing|
We sat around outside (yes I got a few mosquito bites!) and listened to Jorge tell some of the funny stories from all the people he's had come through... He's been doing this for three years now, so he's got some good stories (pastor saying we poisoned your well, but god bless you...asking quantos anos...pipe wrench falling down well...lady sharing pb sandwiches/april fools joke... papaya eating record...lady upset about shrimp/bacon). I can elaborate on any of those, they're all pretty funny, but for the sake of my thumbs (since I'm typing on my phone), I'm not going to elaborate on them.
I guess this year, Jorge and his family have a new team coming to stay with them in their house literally almost every week. So like 40-something out of the 52 weeks this year, Jorge's family will have a new team here and a new community somewhere in Nicaragua will have clean water!! Last year there were only like 20-some weeks with a team there, and next year (2012) is already almost completely full! They must be doing something right! :)
I think we're going to turn in pretty early again tonight - we have to be up and outside by 6:30! I hope our power stays on all night, or I'm gonna be outside on the deck in the middle of the night! Its SO HOT IN HERE!
Tommorw is Day 1 of work/drilling/classes in the village!! :)