Be Grateful

Fox Valley Mission Trip to Siuna Nicaragua

Roosters crowing, howling monkeys, neighbors partying, the sound of rain on the tin roof, wild dogs barking. Don’t forget your ear plugs because it’s constant throughout the night! Have your buckets ready to catch any rain that seeps through the holes or it will splash all over your canopy…I mean mosquito net.
Duty calls. Let’s slip those zapatos on A.S.A.P. so you don’t get any foot slivers. Time to walk outside in the rain to use the porta-shit! But first, let me hopscotch along the wooden boards in hopes I don’t fall in that hole right in the middle of my living room floor.
 Can you imagine going to the bathroom on someone else’s urine because you couldn’t waste the rainwater you’ve collected to flush every time? How about living in a home where you couldn’t flush the toilet paper? Instead, you have to put it in garbage bags and burn at a later time. To put the cherry on top, ladies, you’ll never take a tampon for granted until you’ve lived without it!
What if you had to hide your valuables in your under garments because someone might steal them while living in your own home? Could you live wearing the same clothes, over, and over, and over, washing them by hand, on a washboard, every week? To then, hang dry them in hopes it doesn’t rain? Craving an ice-cold beverage? Let’s walk to the store because refrigerators are rare to come by.

While spending time volunteering to help remodel a local church, it made me realize when you don’t have much to work with, you have to be smart and work with materials you were given.  It’s not like the US where we have an unlimited amount of nails or pencils to go around. When we can’t find something, we simply buy it because we can. Or because we don’t have ‘the time’ to search so instead we waste more money collecting things we already have. Wasting is not an option in Nicaragua, so why should it be ok in the US?

Take a moment and look around you? Are you watching a beautiful snowfall? Maybe you’re riding in your Tesla? Are you lying in a comfy bed, in your own bedroom? Or maybe you’re just walking on an actual paved road…  Either way, you have it made. Take a look around and soak it in. Can you see how much you actual have? We are all guilty of taking things for granted. Even when it comes down to sipping on that coffee you just wasted $5 on.
Nicaraguan’s are just like you and I. If anything people in Siuna appreciate the little things much more than any of us. You have too much… I have too much…we have way more things than we could ever need, and they have so little. The difference between Nicaraguans and Americans is that we strive for more. They strive to survive.

I consider myself a pretty minimalist human. I don’t need much to get by to live a happy life. Popping a squat in the woods and taking showers in freezing cold water isn’t hard for me. But to most, this trip might be a real life challenge.

I did my best to paint my experience into words but it will never be the same until you experience it yourself. I think everyone should have to experience something like this in his or her lifetime. I did this trip with a mindset to help and impact. Not knowing that I, in return, would ever get as much out of this trip as I did.