June 28, 2013


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Early on June 4th, we received an e-mail from Kevin’s parents sharing that his Uncle David had passed away in a car accident that morning.  It was a difficult e-mail to wake up to, one that we would had hoped never to receive.  We talked and cried with one another and family and decided that it would be best for Kevin to go home to be with his family during this time.  It was a difficult and emotionally draining week, but it was one filled with family time, reflecting on David’s legacy.

As Kevin was flying home, I received a call from our first host mother Damarys that her sister had passed away that morning.  She asked me to join them at the wake and burial that afternoon.  I went, we cried and mourned the loss the of her sister and in a way, it was very healing for me.  As I walked the three kilometers, with hundreds in the hot Managua sun from her home to the cemetery, I couldn’t help but think of Kevin and his family back home.  Even though I could not be with Kevin and his family during this difficult time, it was a reminder that loss and death are everywhere.  It has the same sting and it brings the same grief, no matter where you are.

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Kevin recently wrote this beautiful memoir of his Uncle David.  May he be remembered today and always, what a gentle and generous man.  We will miss him!

We spent countless hours “changing oil” in the shop, a routine we both knew well and loved.  We enjoyed the mornings; the newness, the quiet and the intimacy it afforded us.  I knew that when I pulled onto the yard a little after 5, it would not be long before he would appear in the standard uniform of jeans and a t-shirt, his customary dress no matter the season, which was only slightly modified when he realized the comfortability of suspenders for his large frame.

Of course, we did change the oil.  As I went through this process David would meticulously look over the car, applying a little grease, noticing a belt that was wearing or another area that needed attention.  However, mostly, we would sit and chat.  We talked about life, where we both had come from and how we found ourselves there in Dave’s shop during those early mornings.  In those times we would often talk about walking through hardships and what it meant to be faithful through the joys and difficulties of life.

David was an amazing man, a caring, humorous, thoughtful, loving and calm presence in many lives.  I think that those who knew him were all touched by his kindness.  A person whose spirit is hard to describe to those who never had the pleasure of meeting this kind soul.  David is missed by many, his loving wife and four wonderful sons.

It will be awhile before I see David lumbering out the door, greeting me with his grin and his firm handshake my hand engulfed in his, my body crushed by his firm hug as we say goodbye.  For now, I have those talks, like so many others do, and I have his example, a sturdy and solid rock amongst a moving sea.

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June 19, 2013

Our Crazy, Lovable Cat


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Brisa is still happily with us, although some days we wonder if she was the best decision.  Her constant amusement with human food, which often gets in the way of our cooking and eating can be quite frustrating.  She also enjoys killing rats and birds (we are okay with the first, not with the second) and often enjoys bringing them into the home to show us.  On a couple of different occasions her trophies have been brought to our bed.

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And if all of this isn’t bad enough, yesterday our little neighbor girl, Zayda, showed up at our door after school while we were gardening and shared that she needed to talk to us.  We stopped what we were doing and gave her our attention, when she went onto tell us that our cat had entered their home last weekend on two different occasions and killed their baby chickens.  She was gracious with us, but we were so embarrassed and are unsure of what we can do to change this.  Later in the day we brought over some chocolate cake to say sorry and we are headed to the market today to buy more chickens for the family, but we are afraid that it will happen again. 

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We love our cuddly kitty, but we don’t want to make any enemies in the neighborhood.  So for any of you cat owners and experts out there, send us some advice.

June 15, 2013

Visit to La Concha

Some of our closest friends in Nicaragua live in a little town called La Concha, about an hour outside of Managua.  As often as possible we enjoy heading up their for a visit to spend time with them.  Here are a few pictures from our time together.

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Jemima and I love to hang out together.  Everyone tells me that she is my daughter because of her blondish colored hair.  This is very rare here, unless it is dyed.

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Alison is a bright girl, always ready to play a game or get help with her homework.  Here I am with Jemima, this picture pains me, but I promise that we are pretty good friends!  And note: I am wearing a sweatshirt here.  This is another reason why we love leaving the hot city of Managua for a visit to La Concha.

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On Sunday afternoon, we headed out on a little hike.  In this white house lives two extended family members, one is ninety and the other is thirty-two.  They work hard, live very simply and raise animals to sell in town.  They invited us inside and we had a lovely visit with them.

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As we continued on our hike, we came up to a group of boys that were playing baseball.  They stopped their game for a moment so that we could pass by and also gifted us with some mandarins off their tree. 

And then we got out onto our path.  It was beautiful!  We could see the nearby volcano and lake, and all of the trees were filled with fruit almost ready to be harvested.

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We continued our walk, gazing around us and stopping for a couple of pictures.

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When we finally returned back home, we shared the fresh mandarins and played some games.  We are grateful for this family and their friendship to us.

If you are interested in reading about other times that we have spent in La Concha, check out:

  • One Week in Photos                                                                                    
  • Election Results and Experiences                                                                
  • Offline and Entering the Pueblos                                                                 
  • The Campo

June 5, 2013

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, Anyone?

One of our absolute most favorite things about living in Nicaragua is the incredible access that we have to fruits and vegetables.  Much of the produce that we buy in our neighborhood, at the local markets or in the grocery stores is grown less than 30 km from our home.  We have definitely taken advantage of what is means to eat fresh and locally, while being able to try new fruits and vegetables that we did not have access to back home. 

We have also enjoyed having a juicer and try to make a few fresh juices each week.  Our favorite combination right now is carrot pineapple juice with a touch of ginger.  

Remember back to this post about our visit to the Farmer’s Market in Minneapolis?  We thought it would be fun to document a recent purchase that we made at the market only five minutes from our home.

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  • 2 lb. onion – 30 cordobas or $1.25
  • 3 garlic heads – 10 cordobas or $0.40
  • 1 watermelon – 50 cordobas or $2.07
  • 6 carrots – 20 cordobas or $0.80
  • 12 limes – 20 cordobas or $0.80
  • 3 avocados - 20 cordobas or $0.80
  • 6 star fruit – 25 cordobas or $1.03
  • 2 sweet potatoes - 30 cordobas or $1.25
  • 2 beets - 10 cordobas or $0.40
  • 1 bunch of radishes - 20 cordobas or $0.80

In total – 235 cordobas or $9.73

Let us know what this would cost at your local supermarket or farmers co-op!