Sunday, January 18, 2009

back where we belong

Manna PDs returned to Nicaragua earlier this week, eager to begin another six months of sudor and amor. We’ve been well-fed, well-cleaned (with hot water!), and well-Christmas-ed up – totally ready for Nica life to begin once again…

And it’s now going in full force! We’ve been joined by two new PDs, Kyle and Jed-Josh (see pic below) and the ten of us have been busy preparing for programs, cleaning the house, taking rides on our newly-fixed motorcycle (thank you, Kyle!), and trying to keep our psycho male dog from impregnanting his mother. (We think a litter of incest puppies is on the way…)

Two days after our own arrival, we received a group of occupational therapists from Worcester State University, two professors and four students. After a restful weekend at beautiful Laguna de Apoyo (a gorgeous crater lake just outside Managua), these visitors began work at a school for children with disabilities and a special needs orphanage. While these women spent the week pouring their hearts into therapy for numerous children with both physical and emotional delays, Manna PDs had the privilege of serving them through transportation and interpretation.

And it truly was a privilege. In driving around Managua and attempting to translate between gringo and Nica, my eyes were opened to a population that is often overlooked and mistreated. Because special needs children require such specialized attention and expensive care, many developing nations simply do not have the resources or knowledge necessary for proper growth.

Yet both the school and the orphanage handle these children with amazing love. Sitting in a cement “playpen” with five deaf, autistic, or downs toddlers, tears streaming down my cheeks, I couldn’t help thinking about how different their situations would be had they been born into the prosperity of the United States. It’s a sad truth indeed. But more importantly, I was blown away by the daily enthusiasm of these babies’ caregivers and the way that these Nicaraguan women exude such a deep gentleness and grace. While money and training are undeniably essential, a mother’s love (and the orphans do call these women “mamá”) is powerful.

Who knows what the next six months will hold?! But we’re thrilled to be back home where we belong.


1 comment:

Ashley Jane Reina said...

I am very interested in learning more about your trips to nicaragua. I am an occupational therapist working in canada and I really want to do some volunter work in central america. It seems like this may be a private venture with a school but if there is any information that you can provide me with or other leads to other groups that go to central america for large time spans (4-6 months) that would be great. thanks ashley