Tuesday, September 27, 2016


Five years ago I started this blog to let my friends and family know about my adventures in Nicaragua.  Well, I am sad to say the adventure is over.  This past year has been very challenging in every way possible, and after some VERY specific prayers, it was obvious to me that it was time to move on.  So this is my farewell letter to the land of lakes and volcanoes.

There were times I loved you and times I hated you.  There are things about you I don't think I would've understood even after a lifetime of living with you.  But you taught me things I never would've learned if I didn't come.  Practical things.  Spiritual things.  Even though we ended on a sour note, I 100% do NOT regret coming.  I know myself and my needs so much better, and my teaching skills have improved more than I could explain.  You are a place that has both repelled and fascinated me but has permanently opened my eyes.

No matter my location in the world, there is a part of my heart that will always be hexagon-shaped, smells like frying plantain, beats to salsa music, and is hot and steamy like a mango field after May rains.  At the end of day, the best I could say is, 

Thank you, Nicaragua

And to all my readers, thank you for sharing in this journey with me.  I have appreciated your kind and insightful comments over the years more than you will ever know.  And if even a small part of you is thinking about being a need greater whether in your own country or abroad, do it!  Do it now!  There is no other comparable experience.  It will draw you closer to Jehovah and give you friends all over the world who see things just like you.

I am still available for any direct questions about Nicaragua or need greater life.  Just contact me through the comment box at the bottom of this post or a private message using the box to the right of this post.

I am now living with my sister and brother-in-law in St. Louis, Missouri, United States.  I attend a newly-formed Spanish congregation and am enjoying the Cuban, Honduran, Mexican Latino population here.  Aaaaannnnddd learning Nepali :)  Turns out they're a huge immigrant group here with no group or congregation to help them.  Please pray Jehovah blesses my effort to locate them and others looking to help in this work.  And who knows...maybe in time we'll catch back up in a blog named Adventures in Nepal!

Saturday, June 11, 2016


Another thing that was on my must see list while I am in Nicaragua was seeing Ometepe Island.  It's a volcanically formed island in the middle of Lake Cocibolca (Lake Nicaragua).  It's made up of one active volcano (the larger one of the left named La Concepción) and one dormant volcano (on the right named Maderas).  It is a stunning island that you HAVE to see!!!  Definitely one of my favorite things I've done here.  When you get there, just drive around the island...the views and the constant presence of La Concepción is breathtaking.

The view from the ferry approaching the island

Close-up of La Concepción.  She's obviously active but truly the most beautiful volcano I've ever laid eyes on
To get to the island you can either take a ferry from San Jorge, Rivas, or a plane from Managua that leaves twice a week.  My parents were visiting and we took our rental car on the ferry.  Basically, you drive the PanAmerican Hwy to Rivas and you'll see a roundabout with signs to the ferry.  Just keep following the signs and you'll get there in 10-15 more minutes by car.  It was a bit confusing booking the car on the ferry.  DEFINITELY do this in advance and pay roundtrip.  If you have no reservation for the car, YOU WON'T GET ON THE FERRY, and there's only a few ferries per day with room for maybe 9 cars on each one.  Will you think the ferry will sink as you drive onto it?  Absolutely.

Here's another piece of gold...instead of calling each ferry company individually trying to see if room is available, call Arnoldo at #+505 8966 4981.  He'll do the reservation for you with any company for the same price as calling them directly.  Roundtrip with a car is $50.

We stayed at Hefziba Bed & Breakfast in Moyogalpa, and I'm not exaggerating when I say it's the nicest hotel I've EVER stayed at in Nicaragua!!  For about $60/night you get a.c., coffee maker in room, hammocks everywhere, paradise-like gardens, free breakfast, refillable filtered water, and the nicest staff you could ever find.

My favorite activity we did was go walking through Charco Verde.  It's a nature reserve on the island that's maybe $2 to enter.  There are various trails to take depending on the time you want to spend.  It's a great example of tropical flora and fauna, is CHOCK FULL of howler monkeys, and has beautiful views of the lake and the volcanos.
My parents at Charco Verde

Howler monkey...how can something so small be so loud?!  A across between a pig squeal and a dog bark

Butterfly reserve directly next to Charco Verde.  Very peaceful inside.
 We also visited the famous Ojo de Agua.  It's a natural spring in the middle of the island with crystal clear waters.  It's pretty packed but has bathrooms, changing areas, and places to order food and drink.  You can get a coco loco for about $1 for just the coconut water or $2 if you mix that water with condensed milk and rum!

And I just have to add, this very unnoticeable restaurant near the docks was one of the nicest Nicaraguan food restaurants I've ever eaten at.  They serve a lot of very authentic food that you'd normally only find in homes like sopa de frijoles (bean soup).  We all three loved what we ordered, easy on the budget, and no tummy problems afterwards.

Saturday, June 4, 2016


One of the tourist activities I've always wanted to do here has been to watch sea turtle nesting and hatching.  I really love animals, so this has always seemed like a dream to me.  Well, I met some Spanish sisters who were serving in Masatepe for a time and thought, "perfect timing!  They'll want to sight see so it's a good excuse to finally go."  

So the sea turtle season is from July to December, and we went in November.  If you go to this site, there's a lot of useful information about how to get to Playa La Flor, cost of entrance, and general guidelines.  It even has a link to contact the Agricultural Dept of Nicaragua.

Now, I rented a hotel for the weekend, rented a car, planned a trip to La Flor which is about 19km from San Juan del Sur and you have to drive a very isolated, poorly maintained road at 9pm because they only nest at night; so I wanted all of this to go off without a hitch.  So I called the office confirming the dates the turtles were expected (based on moon cycles) and that I definitely was talking to the La Flor office.  Yes, yes, the woman told me.  But, I should've known better.  This IS Nicaragua after all and nothing ever goes as planned.
So the five of us make this long trip and arrive ready to see hundreds of mothers nesting at La Flor.  As soon as we arrive, a park employee meets us and says, "so sad you came tonight.  If you had come two nights ago you would have seen hundreds, but this batch is over so tonight we'll maybe get one or two."  What?!  I told him I specifically called to ensure this wouldn't happen.  Turns out they don't even have a phone out there and I was speaking to the Managua office three hours away. Grrrrrr.

Now I'll share some gold with you.  If you are planning this trip, call the park employee's phone number during the range of dates the Managua office will give you.  Call each morning and they can tell you if turtles have been sighted or not.  Then book it down to La Flor.  The ph#+505 8896 3750.
So we combed the beach anyway and only came across some prints in the sand indicating a sea turtle came on land, decided she really didn't like it, and immediately turned around and went back out to sea.

The only bonus is that the day after we spent a beautiful time at Playa Marsella and got to relax after a MAJOR letdown.

Sunday, October 25, 2015


Beginning in October, Nindirí has been invited to participate in a KH build in La Paz, Carazo.  Here, even when RBC existed, it never did in Nicaragua.  What we have are construction groups who settle in an area 2-3 months and work with the local congregation and surrounding congregations to complete the KH.  Each day, two different congregations are invited to support the work.  So far, we have gone three times.  I have attached some photos showing progress.

Taken Sept 11, 2015.  Only dirt.  The men spent all day digging a 6 ft. deep trench in a square around that high pile of dirt you see. 

Taken Oct 23, 2015.  That dirt trench is now the retaining wall that you see surrounding the KH.  Lots of progress, right?!
Because of budget concerns, just about everything is done by hand on the site.  And if you're looking for an RBC safety video, better you just turn your head and forget about it.  Shoes are whatever fits and hard hats are optional.  For instance, that trench I mentioned above could've been done easily with a backhoe, but we don't have one...we used manual labor.  On my first build here, men were manually mixing concrete all day...truly back breaking labor, but thankfully, I see that on this build, the one machine we DO have is a small mixer.  

Another big difference is comfort.  If you come to work, you arrange your own transportation and bring your own everything.  There's no snack girl walking around every hour giving you Gatorade and cookies.  And even though it's over 90 degrees, everyone is completely covered because 20 minutes in this sun EVEN with sunscreen, and you're toast.

There's also a slight difference in the spiritual ambiance.  The day does NOT start with a prayer or text consideration nor does lunch.  It often seems kind of thrown together, but then again this  IS Latin America.

To give you another example of things done by hand, we even made our own concrete...well, to be more specific, we make our own sand to mix with concrete bags.  On Friday, my job was separating gravel from concrete.  These sisters in the pictures show you how. 
Gravel was poured into screen netting first.
Then the gravel was immersed in a barrel of water.  By agitating the gravel, we separated the large bits from the sand.  The sand fell to the bottom of the barrel and as the water level rose, we scooped the sand out for later use. *My thanks to my Vanna White-ish model, Cathy Solowiejko from Pan Casán, Granada, for helping me demonstrate this.  She was a super fun partner to have on Friday!*

In the wheelbarrow is what we started with.  The other pile is the gravel and a pile behind me (which you can't see) is the sand.
 The really exciting news though is that when they're done with La Paz in about three more weeks.............THEY'RE COMING TO NINDIRÍ!!!!!!!  Yeah, we're up!  The congregation is in a buzz about how we're going to provide housing and food to the team coming, but I know that if we have a good attitude, Jehovah will bless our prayers for help.  So my hope is that a VERY SOON future post will have these kind of pictures from my local congregation.
Just as a reminder, this is the land we've purchased as the site for the future KH in Nindirí