During these four days we were humbled by the hospitality of others, love, contentment, and faith.
Thursday after Ryan got done with the preacher's meeting, We (us and Mariano, the preacher at Ojoche) started on our road trip. It was a 2 and a half hour ride. A ride that I tend to always watch the back of my eye lids during (bad wife alert). Ryan and I have been excited about this trip for a while. We were really looking forward to spending quality time in a place we love to visit, we wanted to push our spanish by being somewhere without any language help, and we wanted to experience life as most of our Nicaraguan friends live. I will be honest and say that this trip came with a lot of fears for me.. The biggest one being the idea of us being stranded in the middle of nowhere (literally) and having flat tires and not having anyway to get them fixed. We almost always get a flat tire when we go to El Ojoche and the last time we went we had two. Thankfully, the Lord always has us and I am always reminded of how silly my fears are.
Thursday we arrived around 4:00 P.M. We were able to spend lots of time with the children in the village there. There are not vehicles in this community so when we arrive everyone knows it. The children love to use our vehicle as a playground of sorts. It is the gathering point for all of them when we are in town. After playing for a few hours we ate dinner with Mariano and his family. This meal was a start to 3 meals a day of beans, rice, and tortilla.
Some of the children in the back of the truck
For the next three nights we slept here..
Using the restroom here (there is no toilet, just a hole)
and woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of these.. They think sunrise is @ 1:00 A.M.
We "bathed" here..
We brushed our teeth with a cup of water that was pumped from the water well (thanks to Living Water International they no longer have to walk miles to get water from the river).
We went to bed every night about 8:00 P.M. Because 1) life there just shuts down at dark and 2) because we were always so completely worn out.
Friday we got up.. Ate breakfast (you guessed it.. rice and beans) and then headed out to visit for the morning. We started at Trafilia's. She was a beautiful 82 year old blind woman who loved to sing. It was so beautiful to watch Mariano and her sing church songs together. She kept asking for another and another. What a wonderful way to spend your time.
We continued visiting friends of the church until after lunch. We were able to see them in their day to day activities. One family made pottery, another sifted for gold, others were farmers on the top of the mountain etc.
After our last visit we were able to climb to the top of the mountain in El Ojoche. It was only about an hour hike and it was well worth it. What an incredible view. In the very back you can see San Cristobal
Friday afternoon consisted of swimming in the river and then church (they have church on wednesday and friday night). It is always such a special thing for us to see what God is doing in these different communities.
Saturday morning we got up super early to head to Somotillo. El Ojoche is one of 30 communities on the outskirts of Somotillo. Somotillo is where any one from Ojoche would go to get anything that they do not grow in the ground. This is about a 45 minute drive. We got there at 8:00 A.M. where we got to join Mariano on his weekly trip to preach at the prison. This was definitely an experience for us. This building was very small and run down. In the back there were 3 concrete rooms next to each other with metal gates (the cells). The first one held about 4 women and the other two held close to 15 men each. These cells were no bigger than someone's guest bedroom in the states. To my amazement, most of the people in the prison were very accepting of the word and were following along in the bibles they were given. It was a very special experience. After we were done at the prison we went to a place where Mariano and a preacher from El Ranchio preach on the radio every week. This was also very neat and I think the ministries that Mariano is a part of are very special.
After wrapping up at the radio station we were able to visit a community outside of Somotillo where a church had been started. Right now there are about 5 adult members and 10 children. We were able to meet some of them and look forward to helping this church some in the future.
Aren't they beautiful?
Around 12:00 P.M. we grabbed some icecream to take back with us and headed to El Ojoche. When we got there we took some of the children from the community swimming in the river. We had a blast playing with them.
Saturday night was great. We ate dinner with Mariano's family and then we were able to just spend time together laughing and getting to know each other better. They were so hospitable and we really enjoyed our time together with them.
Sunday morning we packed up, ate breakfast and helped Mariano prepare the building for church. I loved being able to watch the children sing their church songs in class and really enjoying being there. It is such an important time for them and I can really see that their teacher takes the time to make it special each week.
After church Ryan and I served ice-cream to almost 100 children. This is always one of my favorite parts about visiting Ojoche. It has almost been two years since the first time I was able to do this. In March of 2011 we took a group to El Ojoche and brought Ice-cream and it was their first time ever to have it. So now every time they see us they say "chocolate? Chocolate?"
We learned a lot in four days and our love for the people of El Ojoche grew. Every day that passes I am more thankful for the opportunities that God has provided for us here. It is such a blessing to share life with such wonderful people and again I will say that this was such a humbling experience. There were times when I had to remind myself that I was not on a camping trip. This is how my friends live every day and they are so content. I am thankful for what God taught us and look forward to our next visit to Ojoche!
We would love for you to share in some of these experiences with us. Feel free to contact us about visiting at any time :)
As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. Proverbs 27:17