Friday, October 22, 2010

Life Given and Life Destroyed

Here I am again! Your responses make me a little more responsible about posting blogs more frequently. Thanks for the comments and encouragement. I enjoy sharing with you some of my experiences here in Nicaragua with the hope that it helps you feel more connected to your sisters and brothers who have and live a life that is just as valuable as each of ours but that for the grand majority is a life that has not had the opportunities that many/most of us have enjoyed.

One of the opportunities I have each weekend is visiting two of our government hospitals…one a hospital for mothers giving birth and for women with gynecological problems and cancer patients. The other is a physical rehab hospital. One part of Aldo Chavarrhia, the physical rehab hospital, is for those who have lost arms and/or legs through accidents or land mines. I’ve often reflected on this after I meet and visit with these folks. The majority of those who come to Managua to be fitted for a prosthesis or to have an existing prosthesis refitted or replaced come from the northern departments where the war years (1984 – 1990) took place They have stepped on a buried land mine which is still able to be activated and have had limbs blown off. The maps which tell where these mines were originally placed are not useful because with the torrential rains we experience and especially with the devastation of Hurricane Mitch in 1998, the mines have ‘moved on’.

The terrain in the north is very hilly and so the mechanisms have moved easily and far. One man told me that “not even God knows where they are!” Land mines have been outlawed by many nations as a weapon. However, the United States and a few other countries have yet to sign the treaty which would prohibit the use of such devasting devices which end up harming people young and old, for many years during and after the war officially ends. I suspect that the grand majority of our folks who have lost limbs through land mines or accidents do not have the advantage of a prosthesis. They hobble through the streets on crutches or in wheelchairs begging for a living, hoping for generosity, understanding and compassion from their sisters and brothers.

I have not been to the ‘higher hills’ since that adventurous trip I wrote about the last time…the lower ones, yes. I have been to Los Planes which can be reached by a variety of vehicles and which is is arrived at, over less difficult, but still challenging, roads. Kari and I go to this area every two weeks and meet with a group of incredible women who range in age from younger to ‘more mature’. I’ve been meeting with them for a couple of years now. We chat and enjoy each other, but the main reason for gathering is to study aspects of the Bible and to take time to reflect on Scripture and share that reflection. The wisdom, faith and richness of their lives is the gift that is shared. These gatherings give me life and I look forward to them, even though it’s a bit of a challenge to go and come.

Once I get into the ‘campo’ (farmland) area I experience a particular peace and calm. It’s mostly quiet there except for animal ‘voices’. The foliage is lush, colorful, thick and green and birds and butterflies are everywhere! It’s a simple, basic lifestyle that’s lived there and the beauty of creation leads one to prayer very easily. So each Wednesday evening I thank God for the presence in my life of Dominga, Paula, Maria Elena, Amalia, Evangelina, Yoma, Migdonia, Leah and others that come when they’re able. They teach me a great deal about life and God and relationship. They are gift! Who are the gifts in your life who enliven you?

You are gift! Thank you for your love, support, prayers, donations and interest in this country located in the ‘heart’ of Central America. Your Nicaraguan sisters and brothers … and this sister…are grateful.

Until the next ‘posting’ …

Love and gratitude,


1 comment:

Denise Sheppard said...

haven't stop by for a while so it was good to catch up. Your post reminded me of my tips in the '90's. have you been up to Jalapa recently? What is the area like now? That was where I had my home stay and experienced GREAT generosity and hospitality. I think of those families very often and pray they are well...