ROAD TRIP, 2 words that bring happiness to the boys in our home. It's a rare thing for us, given the fact that we do not have a vehicle. And, it's also viewed as an exciting adventure away from the ordinary things we do every day. A mini-vacation of eating out, strolling through the malls, taking in the sights and sounds of the big city. Yesterday, we took a road trip to Managua. This road trip had great significance, we were on our way to pick up our friend and newbie missionary, Leah Adams. We had to rent a van in order to transport Leah from the airport in Managua (MGA) to our home in Leon. So, we utilized the good fortune of having access to a vehicle to include a time of shopping while in MGA.
This particular trip we invited the woman, Santo, who helps in our home and her teenage daughter, Ana. Neither of them have ever left the safe confines of Leon. It is hard to imagine someone not ever going beyond their city. MGA is only 55 miles and 1 1/2 hour drive away. After retrieving one child from school and allowing 2 others to take a day off, we loaded up and headed south.
First stop in MGA, PriceSmart! It is the Latin answer to Costco. The first time we took the boys they were overwhelmed with the size of the store and the abundance of items. But, what they really liked was the unlimited refills on sodas with their meal. This luxury that is second-nature to us Americans, is unheard of in Nicaragua. Nothing is free! So the idea that one of their favorite things - "gaseosas" - is available in unlimited supply. Add to it, fried chicken, well, this just makes the world an absolutely perfect place.
Next stop was to visit Pablito. 2 months ago he asked to spend some time in another ministry for some additional help with personal issues that he was having difficulty with. We are not counselors or psychologists, so any help is always welcomed. We were happy to see him and he certainly was surprised by our visit. During our short visit, I could not take my eyes off of him, something was not right. The boy who is usually so vibrant, always with a sparkle in his eyes and a huge smile was not the same boy I remembered. There were 3 of us women visiting Pablo and when we exited the building, we all had the same impression that things were not going well. There was so much sadness in his eyes. It was not the sadness of a boy missing family, we couldn't define it. We couldn't imagine what had happened to change him so dramatically. He committed himself to a 3 month program and we cannot interfere. Before I left, as Pablo walked away to his quarters, I called him back, held him and told him I loved him. He looked at me with eyes glazed and said "I know".
We journeyed on to buy supplies for the house and then went to the mall. Santo's middle son is being promoted from elementary school to secondary school, the equivalent of high school; we told her we would help to buy the clothing needed so that he would look presentable at his promotion. Santo is a single mom trying to raise 4 children on the salary we pay her of $100 a month. I do not know what other sources of income she receives. It is very apparent that she is poor. I cannot describe to you the type of poverty that she faces daily. She has strong faith in God as her provider. We enjoyed blessing her with a day of fun. There were moments to remember from the day. One in particular was watching Santo ride the escalator for the first time; she found it very tricky to get on and off. We had to steady her several times to keep her from falling.
At last, the long awaited time had come to pick up our guest at the airport. We all came prepared with extra clothing because we've learned from past trips that the AC in the terminal is "cranking" and we freeze. After snacking on cappacinos to keep us warm while the more foolish of the group drank the sweet frappes, the boys spent time entertaining themselves the best way they know how while waiting for the delayed arrival of the plane.
Music and texting is a teen's best friend.
Noel was the first to greet his friend whom he met 8 short months ago. Leah's return means the world to him and Engel. Someone kept good on their promise, "I will come back".