Two volunteers, Robin and Breanna, and I are about to take the bus for a fun weekend excursion in Nicaragua. It is October. It is the rainy season. It is raining again and since the six am bus never came, we enjoy chatting an extra hour until the next bus comes while trying to stay dry. It poured so heavily this past week a bridge was washed away. We were a little upset because we have to get off our bus, walk across to the other side of the small river, where another bus is waiting to transport us the rest of the way to Liberia, Costa Rica. Here, we are in the back of the line, and when we get on there are no seats available. We will be on foot for the following two hours, where we will find a legit reason to get upset.
Being on foot, we had great views out the windows of the bus, where a serious matter gave us a better reason to be upset. We are in the Santa Cruz and Filadelfia areas where we see cars on the sides of the road with standing water up to their windows. Homes have waters up to the handles on their front doors. I overhear someone mention that her friends’ mattresses were washed away into the river, along with their kitchen table. Houses are evacuated and look a complete wreck. Water is everywhere we look. Turns out, thousands of people were displaced from their homes, and are living in the community salon. These people didn’t have food to eat, nor pans to cook rice in, much less salt or oil to put in their rice.
Once back from Nicaragua we decide we want to help collect donations for these people affected by the flooding. Alex, a local Tico who is free during the day since he works nights, borrows the truck of a friend, and offers to drive our three volunteers and myself around to collect canned goods, toilet paper, diapers, clothing, anything really that people were willing to give. Another local offered to lend us his big speakers to help advertise as we drove by, but that fell through since he ended up needing to repair his speakers. However, our very fun and diverse group representing Italy, Canada, and the US shone through and sang out, “Help the people of Santa Cruz and Filadelfia!” except in Spanish! They were so cute! Breanna didn’t know any Spanish when she got here and Robin came as a beginner, but after a couple weeks of classes and practicing in the community and with their host family, they were able to go door to door and communicate our proposal. I am so proud of them!