Nicaragua is suffering a drought caused by the weather phenomenon El Nino. The UN is in the process of providing emergency funds for food. Here on the ground, the reality of the situation is starting to become evident. Last week on garbage day, we had two separate men ring our bell and ask for our garbage! I leave it locked just inside the gate so that the street dogs don't get into it and then run like a mad woman when I hear the garbage truck coming down the street. These men obviously wanted to go through it to find both food & things that were saleable! We have also four times in the last week had our door bell rung by people begging. This has never happened before....and no matter how bad I feel or how much I want to provide something for them, you can't. You'd have them lined up constantly at your door, needy and greedy alike.
Another indication of the problem becoming more severe is a rise in crime. Nicaragua is said to be the safest country in Latin America but common theft is still a real problem (as we have discovered) and from what we read in the news is increasing. Gary & I were talking to a well dressed young Nicaragua at a restaurant. He started asking for some personal information (this is normal in Nicaragua. Being asked "how much do you earn" or "how much is your rent" is not considered rude) and we explained that we were uncomfortable answering due to a recent break in that had left us a little jaded. An interesting conversation ensued in which he indicated the belief that if someone has a lot and you are in need then stealing it would no longer be wrong! We were gob smacked. Such a huge gap between our basic beliefs and his. No wonder common theft is such an issue here. If they simply don't see it as wrong, then how can you make them stop? And as a foreigner, no matter how little you may have, you are always seen as rich.
Seeing the inside of another culture like this is fascinating.
We have just completed a crazy four days. We had a local Missionary couple for dinner on Sunday. Then Monday we had the Manzanares' (a newly assigned Missionary couple we meet in the States) come mid morning to stay for two days with a friend they had served at Patterson with. We had a delightful time with them, despite losing power half way through a movie we were watching! They took Nikki with them and went on a boat tour of the Isleta's just outside of Granada. She was very sorry to see them go! Half an hour after they left, we had the new C/O and his wife come for lunch. He is American and she is Nicaraguan. We are very excited to have them as the last C/O didn't speak any English so this is a real treat!
The heat is continuing to make life a little more challenging....not heat actually more the intense humidity and lack of air movement. On the upside, the tropical foliage surrounding us, in particular in our courtyard where we can water it, is gorgeous! Service continues to be a delight. Gary had an amazing call, which is now a study, on a lawyer. When he returned he got another young man home instead who is a dentist and also wants to study and when he returned again, got yet another young man (yes all in the same house) who now ALSO wants to study!! Three amazing calls in one house! They all have deep questions and are very serious about finding the answers. The one who is a dentist, Jamie, has also offered to take care of our dental needs for us and the really exciting part of that is that it looks like Gary will finally get some permanent front teeth made up. Then he won't always be losing them or leaving them in weird places for me to find (or sit on). I think he'll actually miss them.
Gary said his first prayer in Spanish last night! We were so proud :)
That's it for now.....oh I could ramble on endlessly but then who would do the laundry????