This week's list will be a few more memories - surprises - from my trip. I'll finish up (well, maybe or maybe just for now) my reflections on this awesome week in Nicaragua. I guess we're never really 'finished' with learning from a dive into a new world. I believe little pieces, memories, faces, stories, moments stay with us forever - changing us into new people, tiny bits at a time. That's good stuff.
Nicaragua was definitely 'good stuff.' I spend a lot of time reminiscing about those I met and what I saw and learned. I find myself searching for ways that I can assimilate what I learned with the life I'm part of here where I am.
For now, though, here are a few of the moments that surprised me most:
1. I was surprised when I arrived at the Youth Ranch in Padre Ramos, Nicaragua, and I took in the beauty.
2. I was surprised when we spent the day in the dump of Chinandega and I watched the young, living in the depths of poverty, share what they had with others. I watched them reach for an orange and then turn and give it to another. I saw them treat each other with a kindness towards each other that I couldn't believe.
3. I was surprised by the colors of Nicaragua. I loved the brightly colored buildings, the spectacular hues of the natural surroundings and the brightness that I saw with every turn.
4. I was surprised by a night on the beach that I'll never forget, with folks I had only known for a couple of days. One night, tired from the day, a few of us wandered down to the beach. We wanted to spend some time looking up at the stars in a place where the lights of progress don't interfere with the darkness. The sky was spectacular - stars sliding across the arc above us, as we listened to the splashing of the waves. Our necks tired and we finally decided that we'd just 'get yucky' and lie right down on the sand below. I'm so glad we did. The warm sand immediately comforted us and all got very quiet. After a few minutes, my friends, Terri and Mona, began to sing. They sang mostly hymns and old time church songs. It was a moment. It was a feast for the senses. After a while, noticing that I wasn't singing, one of them asked me if I knew the songs. Of course I knew the songs, but I was busy enjoying the gift of the moment. Their music and all that was happening around me was one of those good surprises that don't come around very often - or maybe they do, but we don't always notice them. I'm thankful for the surprise of that night, those stars, that warm sand and two friends who sweetly sang.
5. I was surprised by the feeling I got the many moments that I felt another beside me and looked down to find that a precious little one, who I already knew well or I had not yet met, had moved beside me and quietly reached up to grab my hand as we walked along. I can often be a fan of personal space; but on this special trip, I was thankful for the many ways that the fine people of Nicaragua are free to hold on whenever they want.
6. I was surprised at the times that animals - farm animals - roamed casually through a house during a conversation and no one but me thought anything of it!
7. And, I was surprised when the 'zip line guy' turned me upside down before the second zip. Whooooooooooooo!!