Mission #37: The Final Chapter
By Bonnie Black
This morning just before 3am, everyone awoke in preparation for heading to the airport leaving behind a fraction of the original A Team: Bill C., Sarah, Betsy and me.
Once everyone had their suitcases in the courtyard and Sister Debbie had arrived, there were some lat minute instructions while passports were handed to each of the travelers. Although they hadn’t gotten more than about 5 hours’ worth of sleep, there was an excitement in the air in anticipation of going home.
Everyone proceeded out to the bus and loaded their suitcases on and hugs were passed around to A Team members standing by, watching them leave. Within a few minutes, the bus was pulling out of the yard followed by Oscar’s car in which he, Sister Debbie and Sister Stephanie were. That was just around 3:30am Nica time (5:30am yours).
A Team then looked to the sky – the first clear evening sky in almost 2 weeks and enjoyed the meteor shower that was occurring. There must be some sort of symbolism in that!
Returning to our beds for an hour or so while others were checking in at the airport, we were having breakfast and getting the last containers together of items to store at our new place when they were boarding their plane – the same one we will take on Saturday morning.
We were able to have the assistance of Chico, Carlos and Rene to move one of our refrigerator’s over to the CFC area for our cooks to use replacing the one that is on its last legs. We donated much of the leftover food to CFC, also. During the day, community members came by to go through the clothing and footwear that travelers chose to donate with most of it gone within a few hours.
We also moved all but our 4 mattresses over to storage, and many more items, but we will need to spend the majority of Friday organizing it so that all can be in the storage area leaving only mattresses in the future Men’s Dorm. That will allow some of the bunkbeds to be brought over with others out in the Pavilion once Sister Liega from San Jose Hospital in Diriamba comes to pick up her items from the container shipment. We’re hoping it is early tomorrow so that we can maneuver things around to make the Pavilion area presentable when the Clinic opens on Monday.
Looking over some notes from the last 2 days, I would like to let you know that members of the Community Development Committee believe a paint sprayer and a pressure washer might be two items that could allow us to complete more projects on each large mission trip. Having borrowed a paint sprayer for this mission made us realize the benefits. As we try to attend to the needs of the local people in Nicaragua, a few of ‘our’ kind of tools can be of great efficiency – we will be able to do more for more!
We have a container set to leave Plattsburgh mid-September, so if you know someone who could donate any of the items I have mentioned over the week, please stop by on Wednesdays between 9:30am and 1pm at our facility on Sharron Avenue.
An interesting note from the boat tour yesterday was the information the tour guide gave us. As we passed by the Managua coastline beyond the port, he said that the land we saw beginning to be reclaimed will house an Olympic-sized pool and a 700 boat marina in the near future. This will extend the Puerto Salvatore Allende Park into the biggest in Central America. Personally, I was wondering who those 700 people might be to own a boat that would need to be at a marina! We proceeded further and he pointed out La Chureca where we could see many trucks bring in landfill. The freshly built extension is being paid for by Spain to house a clothing factory by 2013. Our guide, Joel Altamirano, also said that Spain will be building 258 new homes for the residents/workers there. He also talked about the reclaiming of the lake from the polluted body of water it has become. The process will take 28 years to clean Lake Managua to the point where fish taken from it would be able to be eaten. They have cod, sardines and tilapia, but no one dare eat any at this time. I asked him why there were boats out on the lake and he said they were ‘garbage tenders’ actually picking up the garbage from the surface of the lake and bringing it back for disposal.
He told us that Lake Xolotlan – its original name – is from the Aztec sun god and means “place of the rising sun.” We passed by a small island that he said was once use by Somoza during his dictatorship in the late 20th century. We could see the ‘stairway’ of the rocks that once led to his home there. Now just a tin shack is on the overgrown island. He told us a story that Somoza would entertain his ‘happy girls’ on the island regularly, but once he told his wife he was headed off to Paris for a meeting and wouldn’t be home for a while. He was only on his island and, when word got back to his wife, the home scene was NOT a good one!
As I complete this journal note, it is just after 10:30pm (Nica time) and we are now down to just a few items to go over the morning we leave here at the Nino compound. We will finish our work at the new site tomorrow and secure everything so that after dinner (we will have no stove nor food by that point) we will head back to our bunks and grab a few hours’ worth of sleep. We, too, will head into Managua Airport around 4am on Saturday and be home to our loved ones and friends late that evening/early Sunday morning.
Thanks for allowing me to share Mission #37 with all of you – photos from the last days will be posted over the weekend once I get home for we take down the internet connection in the morning…