August 2, 2013

A conversation with Nicaragua

Hello, Plattsburgh. Some of you might remember me as the 16-year-old kid who wrote about a life-changing trip to Nicaragua with Mission of Hope a few years ago.

Well, I’m back. I’m no longer quite the same goofy, wide-eyed girl in the bandana and the fanny pack, off to see the world for the first time.

Except I’m still wearing a bandana, as I write this. And my fanny pack is sitting not even an inch away. And I’m still goofy.

But, anyways, over the past two days, as I put my hand out the window in the warm Managua air, as I tasted sweet pitalla and as all the familiar smells of burning trash washed over me, I tried to think about, on this 50th Mission trip, something that I could say that would sum up everything that has changed in my life since my first Mission trip, and everything that has changed in Nicaragua since the very first trip 15 years ago after Hurricane Mitch.

All of these years, all of the painstaking labors of love, all of the time I’ve spent turning it all over in my brain ... and I realized I truly have nothing to say anymore. Instead, I think it’s time to turn it over to someone who’s been waiting patiently in the corner to speak for far longer than my years on Earth extend: Nicaragua.

Harvin is a teenage boy. He’s been showing us around and helping us out for the past few days. As we sat down at the end of the day under the pavilion with other prep-team members (missioners who come early to help prepare for the larger group), I heard the words coming out of my mouth (in extremely poor Spanish): “Harvin, can I interview you?”

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