See Nicaragua Part I here
During the middle part of our trip, we went to a Vida Joven (spanish Young Life) camp up in the mountains. We split our group in two and one group did Vacation Bible School with some campers and the other half worked building a road to another entrance then the groups switched. Since the Vacation Bible School was in Spanish, I didn't do very well helping out except for at the sports and games part of the day. The building road days were pretty fun. We worked on clearing out the brush, placing large boulders, then gravel, and packing it down. It was fun working and spending time talking with other people on the trip with us and some of the Vida Joven leaders. There was a missionary family from America that had kids our age with them so we got to talk and learn how life was like for them as missionaries.
I was paired with another girl from my church and a student that participated in Vida Joven for our home stay. The girl we were paired up with was my age and had just finished high school so it was kind of like seeing what life would be like if I lived in Nicaragua. We went and had dinner at her house and saw her neighborhood. We met up with some of her friends that our church friends were paired with. We all went to one of their Vida Joven meetings then had a sleepover with her and her friends at their local Vida Joven club. It was pretty interesting seeing the similarities and differences of the lives of someone our age in a different country.
This day was one of those days that is still so vividly stuck in my mind like it happened yesterday. We were dropped off at the entrance of the dump and we had a small van that brought us closer to the clinic we were visiting. My first reaction was just awe at the sheer size of the dump. There were mountains of garbage as far as I could see. The smell was pretty bad, but my sense of smell adjusted pretty quickly. The air was thick making it harder to breathe.
Walking through the dump, we saw little huts made out of cardboard probably the size of a child's fort. This is where they lived! I couldn't believe it. We reached the clinic and we spent our time outside playing with the children. I paired up with a girl probably around 6 named Luisa. I helped her decorate a t-shirt and we played. I remember there being flies everywhere. One of the little girls was snacking on a banana and the flies landed on the banana and she didn't even notice.
We got back on the bus and my heart just broke for the people that had to spend their life living in a garbage dump. Images from that day are permanently stuck in my brain and I continue to think of and pray for the kids I met that day.
During this trip, God opened my eyes to ways that other people lived and how fortunate I am to live where I do and have so many opportunities open to me. I learned that you can connect on a deeper level as brothers and sisters in Christ despite the language barriers.