We woke up this morning to a great worship led by Grace, and another wonderful breakfast of pancakes, rice and beans, scrambled eggs, fried plantains and a wide selection of fruit. We piled into our bus and headed into the heart of Managua for our third day at El Padul. Driving through the city and seeing all the houses, people waiting for buses, street vendors, people making tortillas to sell on the sidewalk, horse-drawn carts, etc. was interesting as always.

When we arrived at school, we went to work in several different areas; some wiped desks and cleaned classrooms, some assembled a sandbox for the younger kids, and the others prepared the wall and plants for our potted plant project (this involved hammering nails into the cement wall near the entrance of the school, opposite the kindergarten and first grade classrooms, putting the plants in about thirty plants that we got last night, and hanging the pots on the nails in the blue and white painted wall). After this, some of us finished sweeping the classrooms, while the others cleaned the chapel where we will attend church tomorrow. In the middle of this, we took a lunch break to walk to Tip Top, a fast food restaurant. We stopped at one shop to buy toys for the sandbox, then at a hat store (which we later realized, after several people bought a few $2 Patagonia hats, was a black market). We tried to ignore the gringo jokes from people in cars and on sidewalks as best we could, but it was an interesting experience. The fast food restaurant was much like a KFC, with the addition of fried plantain chips, and a few other things not normally for sale in the U.S. We headed back to the school after lunch and finished up our projects, then gathered in the chapel with a few of the people from the school. We sang a few songs and Tanner and Christina ended up helping out with the worship, not realizing until later that this was actually practice for tomorrow’s church service.

After worship team practice, we visited a few houses of people from the school. It was fascinating to see the way people lived; most houses comprised of a few rooms, mostly walled and roofed by metal sheeting. There were often hammocks in the front room and an un-roofed space for cooking food. Some families offered us water or juice, and were incredibly welcoming. We returned to the school, some of us practiced for worship team, and we headed for home. A highlight for several of the students was riding in the bed of a pickup truck for the hour ride, seeing more of the culture and the way people live. in the evening, nearly everyone sits outside and talks or plays games in the street. We drove through some neighborhoods that did not seem to be used to seeing anyone not from around there, and the stares were a little unnerving. Towards the downtown parts of the city, we again tried to ignore the whistles and honks. But the temperature was perfect and we loved seeing everything up close; it was a fun and interesting ride. (After seeing all of the sculptures, murals, gardens, etc., we concluded that Medford definitely needs more art.)

At our end-of-the-day recap, few people could think of a definite low part of the day; overall, it was all very interesting and a ton of fun working at the school with our team. Serving and glorifying the Lord as a group definitely draws us closer together, and we thoroughly enjoyed our day!

Posted by: Christina Cannon