April 8, 2013

DAY #8 – Exploring the Beauty of Nicaragua Together

Gateway 2013 HANDS Team:

Our day started out with a blacksmith demonstration in a shop right here on the grounds of the Nehemiah Center.  There students from NCA School (a Christian School located on the Nehemiah grounds) are able to attend a variety of trades courses such as blacksmithing, carpentry, automechanics, sewing and culinary and nutritional training. 

As well, young men are trained in blacksmithing and it is the goal and vision that someday they will be able to go out into their communities, start a business and train others in the trade as well.  The training gives these young men a purpose and a hope, which so many men without a trade struggle to find. We were given a demonstration on traditional blacksmith work, and were very impressed with their skill and with the end result.  We were given the opportunity to buy some of the handmade items that they make there, and then we prepared to leave for the day.

We left for Bautista Libertad where we met up with our friends from Grade 11 and their staff.  Together we filled the bus and van and we headed out for the day together.  First we traveled to a pineapple farmer’s land.  He and his family live in incredibly poor conditions, and yet they welcomed us openly and explained to us how they farm the land,  how long it takes for a pineapple to grow (a growth term for a mature pineapple takes 2 years to complete from planting to harvesting! … Maybe we won’t complain anymore about how expensive they can be when we purchase one in the store!).  He also farms dragon fruit, citrus, mangoes, and cashews.  All of the work is labour intensive, using his cow to plough the land or to plough by hand, planting, pruning and harvesting all of the land by hand.

Then we were taken to a nearby farm where the worker there showed us the land. This location had a beautiful house on it an the owner was obviously wealthy.  We were allowed to walk among the trees and eat the fresh ripe mangoes right off of the branches … they were SOOOO delicious!  We had lunch at the location and time to relax, play games, and enjoy the beauty around us before moving on.  It was very nice!

In the afternoon we drove to a National Reserve called “El Chocoyero” where you can see many parrots that live in the sides of the hills there.  We entered the road and saw a sign that said it 4.6 kms to the Reserve.  The bus drove and drove, bounced along the dry dusty road and scraped through parts that were almost impassable …. Only to arrive right back at the sign that said 4.6 kms!   ??!!   Apparently we had missed a turnoff and had driven in a complete circle!!  Haha!  We started the bumpy drive again, and finally made it to our location.

The reserve takes you throught the jungle with a guide, where you see a variety of beautiful plant life, insects, and the possibility of wildlife.  We were able to see a small waterfall, that is known for its rushing waters during the rainy season.  Because we were such a large (and loud) group, the parrots did not come very close to us.  However, we did see them from afar and enjoyed hearing them.  It was a time to mix and mingle with our friends, work on speaking the two languages together, and enjoy some of the beauty of this country!  It was a wonderful day together.

We came back to the Nehemiah Center and had pizza for supper and enjoyed a time of devotions and sharing together in the evening!

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