We got in late Saturday night - to the hotel at about midnight. The first morning we got up early to go to church. We enjoyed the glimpses of the countryside we got from the bus on the way to church - rolling hills covered in lush foliage and trees that look much like Hawaii. We weren't sure if we would be sweltering in the heat all week, but there's a beautiful breeze coming off the coast or Lake Managua that makes it pleasant.
At church, the drummer in the worship band was crazy good. It was like a rock concert. After church, we went to lunch at a restaurant called La Pinca, a bright yellow building with ornate white columns and shutters. Very cute. I drank jamaica with my lunch - hibiscus tea - and Mike found that he's in love with the pico de gallo of Nicaragua - as it consists of onions and carrots, rather than tomatoes. In the afternoon, we had a time of relaxation, hanging out in one of the main malls of Managua. We enjoyed people watching the wealthy of Managua. That night, we had a chance to jump in the pool before it got too chilly.
At the mall in Managua
One of the weird statues we've been seeing around Managua
The next day, we went to the Compassion Nicaragua office in the morning to help sponsors understand how our programs work better. I got to visit with Orfa, one of the writers I used to work with, which was grand. For lunch, they had a traditional Nicaraguan meal for us at the office, including avocado salad, fresh pico de gallo, tortillas, shredded chicken, coconut candies, and sweet plantain candies. It was delicious! I am really enjoying all the food here.
Our delicious lunch at the Compassion Nicaragua office
Orfa and me
Yesterday was a highlight for me so far. We visited a project that was on the southern edge of Managua, a very pretty place. At the project, the children welcomed us with balloons, a puppet show, and a song. They also had made us each a gift - a flower arrangement made out of paper and popsicle sticks. Then we had a chance to visit the children's classrooms, meet with the project staff, look at the programs files, serve lunch to the kids, and play with them. I enjoyed playing frisbee with a fiesty boy named "Jiminez" or something like that. I also really enjoyed hearing the project director share about the project. I asked him what his background was and he was in tears within minutes. He so clearly cared about the children he was helping and had a tender heart for them.
The kids put on face paint to sing a cat song for us
For lunch, we went to a phenomenal nearby open-air restaurant. We sat under grass thatched roofs and looked out over the forest. I had lamb which was tasty and Mike and I both ordered tibio con leche - a drink made from corn and milk. It was like a rich, thick corn pudding for a drink.
Drinking tibio con leche
at the restaurant