After four years of living in Nicaragua, we decided to purchase a car. It was a long, painful and stressful decision even though we did not want it to be. We were worried that this decision would further remove us from living in solidarity with our friends and neighbors. While at times it was frustrating to not have the option with MCC (they have a policy that workers cannot own private vehicles, one that we very much respect), it was also nice not to have the choice. But there are several factors that made us think that this just makes sense for now. One previous MCC friend jokingly called us “sell-outs,” and most of our Nicaraguan friends said “finally!”
The public transportation system generally works pretty well here in Managua, we have written about it before. But then sometimes it doesn’t. Before Estela arrived, I (Cassie) traveled to one of my workplaces, Accion Medica Cristiana three days a week. For some reason, the only bus that will take me there, the lovely 106 route, only passes by every half hour, when all of the other routes usually pass every five minutes. And then when it does finally pass, it usually does not stop. Unfortunately, this resulted in frustration and tears on a regular basis. What literally is a five minute ride in a car, usually takes 1-1/2 hours of waiting at a bus stop, sometimes being able to climb on the packed bus, but too often having to take a taxi after waiting for an hour.
On top of this our work at the Seminary requires us to carry a lot of technological equipment (computer, powerpoint projector, speakers, etc.) For this reason we do not feel comfortable hopping on the city bus or getting into a taxi with someone we do not know or trust. We were generally calling a friend who is a taxi driver to come and pick us up, but the costs to and from were adding up, we were actually more than doubling our monthly transportation costs just from the costs we incurred on Saturdays.
With the arrival of Estela, purchasing a car seemed to be the right thing. I have traveled frequently with one child on the bus, but it can be tricky to ride the bus while standing up, trying to keep myself up by holding onto the pole, setting a child on my hips strapping all of my bags to my shoulders and around my neck (for some reason I can never just travel with one) and making sure that my cellphone doesn’t get stolen.
These factors were at the forefronts of our mind, when one Saturday a student of ours at the Seminary, Juan stopped us and told us that he was selling a car. It is an old car, a 1990 Kia Rio to be exact (or so he thinks, it could be a little older or newer), it was nothing pretty, but it had a brand new motor and all of the original Korean parts have been replaced with Chinese imitations. He even said he would purchase it back from us when we are done with it. And so we decided to go for it.
We received our car ten days ago and are very grateful for this added convenience. Kevin still plans to take public transportation to work each day. Estela and I do enjoy riding the bus, so we will continue to do that as often as we can. If you come on down for a visit, we can assure you a fun ride!