It has been an incredible first day. We arrived at the Villa in the early afternoon and had a little bit of downtime to settle in as a heavy rainstorm came through. Later, we got to help set up a volleyball net and put together gift bags for tomorrow’s family carnival. My favorite part of the day came in the evening as we got to meet and interact with the girls at the Villa for the first time. It was difficult initially to communicate since many of them did not speak much English but we were able to get past the language barrier and have so much fun together. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much in my life. The girls taught us lots of fun games and soon there was tons of clapping and singing everywhere. I spent time with two girls in particular: Allison & Alexandria, and I couldn’t stop smiling and laughing as we played together. We communicated in simple sentences, and they taught me a lot of new Spanish words. I never expected to fall in love with this place so quickly. I am excited for what God has in store for the rest of the week!
Britnee Joaquin, sophomore, Simi Valley, CA
Any time you visit a new country, inevitably you’re going to experience that strange period of adjustment where you’re bombarded by new smells, new sights, a new climate, and the sounds of voices speaking rapidly in a language that’s completely foreign to you. Sometimes, you even have to change habits or routines that you usually do without thinking (even simple things, like learning to navigate Nicaraguan plumbing).
At first, these things are completely overwhelming. They may cause you to be anxious, but as time goes on (even within a day or two) you slowly begin to adjust. We arrived late last night in Nicaragua, around midnight or so. As soon as we left the airport, the significance of the difference in culture was immediate.
However, as today went on, though, the shock began to dull. The Spanish becomes less foreign and more familiar. I took Spanish in both high school and college, and I find that the longer I’m around it, the more I began I began to think in it, read it automatically, and speak it naturally.
We also met the girls living at the Villa Esperanza tonight, and it some way, interacting with them was kind of like adjusting to the culture. At first, things are awkward, and you’re anxious and shy, and you find yourself staring at your shoes or into your bowl of ice cream. But as time went on, we began speaking with the girls in a funny mix of Spanish and English. We played fast hand games until our palms were red, discussed hobbies, family and food, (“Te gusta jamon en tu pizza?”) and laughed till our sides hurt.
It’s only our first day here, and it’s already been wonderful, but I know that even greater things are yet to come and that God has something important for each of us here in Managua.
Days like this remind me that all things worth having take time and patience—language, relationships, and even remembering to throw away your toilet paper instead of flushing it.
Zoe Herron, junior, Olympia, WA