More than once in Nicaragua, I felt like Pam on that most memorable episode where she and Jim vacation at Dwight's beet farm; she wakes up in the middle of the night to a loud banging sound, goes to look out the window and sees Cousin Moes using the outhouse with the door whipping in the wind. She turns to the camera with a bewildered-amused, but nonetheless bewildered-look on her face and exclaims, "What century is this?"
I relate this sentiment not only to the unfortunate times when I had to use what can hardly be termed a restroom, but also to the emaciated horse-drawn carriages with whom we shared the road. I don't know why it was so poignantly sad to me to see the ribs and hips poking out of the overworked horses; I'm not really an animal lover. It was the same reason it upset me to see people perpetually throwing coke bottles out the window, or 9 year old children well on their way to needing every tooth in their mouths extracted. It was all symbolic of a fundamental ignorance about simple things like teeth, and how having all 32 of them greatly increases the contentment level of a person. As if I am saying anything profound. It was a third world country. We all know what that is like, so I am obviously stating the obvious. Enough.
We had a wonderful time. Adam was totally in his element, making best friends with every bus driver and street urchin. The experience he got, practicing all the procedures he has spent the last year doing on mannequins, finally on real people who needed them so badly, was invaluable. We worked really hard, but we played hard on the weekends. We went surfing the last day we were there, at a gorgeous beach that only took us 45 minutes on a winding dirt road to get to; we rode in the back of a van, which I am sure is meant for human trafficking. It was at least 95 degrees in there, and there were at least 10 sweaty people huddled together. Very authentic Latin American experience. Unfortunately, the van couldn't quite make it up the 60 degree sloped hill it came down after it had rained. Here is the van trying to make it up...such awesome entertainment to watch it try and make it up that grade. So we had to ride back with a swindling taxi man who told us we would get murdered if we did not have him drive us back to the airport in Managua rather than ride the bus...
We also went to church in a little town called Rivas on the day we left. It was amazing. There were 20 or 30 people there, a brand new missionary from Springville who was elated to see us, and a super strong confirmation that the Gospel is true in any language. It didn't matter that the bishopric were all in jeans, that the sound system was fuzzy or even that I didn't understand much of what was being said.
I am so glad that we did this. I am so glad that I married someone who cared enough about choosing a career which opens so many doors for meaningful service. I am so excited for my kids to be old enough to participate in these sojourns with us, so that they can know how incredibly lucky they are to born in this country. And so that they will always brush their teeth.