Saturday, March 12, 2016

A beautiful side of Nicaragua

We spent 4 hours traveling back from Tierra Nueva to Granada, the oldest city of Nicaragua, founded in 1524.  It has a rich colonial heritage and the buildings and streets have beautiful architecture and structure.  

We were blessed to be able to take an educational tour and hike to the Volcano Mombacho.  It is the fifth highest volcano in Nicaragua standing at 4000 feet and only the second volcano to have a cloudforest (differs from a rainforest because it is at a higher elevation above sea level).  Mombacho is not extinct, as crater three of four is still active, but it has not erupted since 1570.  

The bus ride up the volcano was bumpy and steep!  


It was colder and foggy at the top.  This is a picture looking down into one of the lush craters before we started our 4-5 mile hike. 

The volcano has two hiking trails, one that circles the main crater, which we did, and one difficult one (El Puma) which requires a guide.   We hiked down the volcano through the "cloudforest" -  It's cool and misty and is lush and green with beautiful ferns, mosses and one-day orchids.

Guillermo walking in the tunnel

Sandy feeling the warm steam coming from a vent

The view from atop crater one is spectacular.  It overlooks the city of Granada and Lake Nicaragua.   This freshwater lake was formed by the last eruption 20,000 years ago when the implosion blew the volcanic cone off and landed 5 miles away.  It is the largest lake in Central America.  

Doug & Kim Viafora

Charlie Hammerschnitt & Chris Wise
KatyKovac, Beverly Proie, Chuck Kovac and Amy Blettner

Sandy Day and Kim Viafora

 Kate, Ethan, Bryan, Josie, and Elise Higgins

Amanda and Eliza Lowman

We also did ziplining for a team building event.  

It wasn't easy saying goodbye.

Chuck & Katy with Maylin (village board president) and her family and Adrian our interpreter on right

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Agros "Home Record"

This is a chart that hangs on the front door of every village home.  It is an inspection process that Agros uses to help keep the families responsible to manage their homes in a safe and compliant way.  For example, the way they store their pesticides, how they vent and use their stove, how clean they keep their house, and making sure they chlorinate their water, etc.  The families get happy or sad stickers according to results.  By making the chart public to the village, it keeps them accountable and has almost become like a status symbol in the community.

A great celebration on day 3

Day 3 - March 9, 2016   

Today we studied Matthew 5: 1-12 for our bus ride Lectio Divina - The Beatitudes.  Let us all be blessED witnesses so that others may be BLESSed.  

The kids were again waiting all along the road as we drove into the village.  We noticed they decorated their community pavilion for celebration of our visit and later presented us with handmade tokens of appreciation and sang for us.    

Before morning devotion, we visited the school class in session and Kate K. did some math homework with the kids!  

Senior Carlos Kovac led morning devotion about the mustard seed.   The message was powerful and his compelling use of metaphors grabbed all our hearts.  In closing, our song team Eliza, Elyse, and Josie, lead by Amanda,  sang "I got the joy joy joy joy down in my heart" in Spanish. 

it was the perfect message leading into our group skit of the Matthew 13 Parable of the Sower.  Our huge thanks to Beverly Proie for costume, production and narration! We were the farmer, seeds, thorns and weeds, and the sun.  We hope to post a short video to show you!

We did so many craft activities today for the kids!!  Painted nails, fingerprinted canvases, took polaroid fotos. 

Game on!  The men of the village live for baseball and couldn't wait for the reunion match.  

Lunch was at the home of the couple Eulalio and Pilar.  They have 2 sons ages 28 and 24 .  They came to Tierra Nueva 2 years ago.    Eulalio farms coffee, corn and beans about 2 miles from home.     His crops rely on the rain and this year the beans did not grow higher than a foot and did not reap any harvest.  And the rain won't come till May so they can't plant anything right now.   His coffee plants usually can be cultivated 4 times and the fourth time did not produce much crop.   Eulalio said they “are fighting” and rely on their strong faith that everything comes from the Lord and He will provide.   

Sandy led the woman's craft to decorate nylon drawstring backpacks.  It was wonderful to see the smiles on their face as they nurtured their inner child and creative spirit.  

The love of Christ has brought us all together and will certainly keep us there.