Friday, April 19


As I thought about writing this post, I had to wrestle with my thoughts. Is it okay to write something so simple and "off-topic" immediately after a tragedy? Do I need to wait? Should I write my grieving thoughts or is it okay for me to write about dogs today? I think all of us are grieving, coping, praying after the Boston bombings and the West, Texas explosion, and I'm guessing you, too are struggling with facing everyday stuff again. However; the everyday doesn't stop and with everyday God is walking right beside us.

Okay, I don't want to make my mommy sad, but here, in Nicaragua, I am now a little afraid of dogs. It's not something I can easily admit; not even to myself. I visited my Nicaraguan family from La Dalia the other day. They have a new "pet"/guard dog at their house. His name is Toby. However, if Toby walks anywhere near a person everyone in his vicinity tries to shoo or hit him. Vaya Toby! Vaya!

This is not all to uncommon with any dog in Nicaragua, due to the fact dogs and cats are not spayed or neutered and have therefore become more like wild/dangerous animals. Spending time around Toby for a few days really caused me to have somewhat of internal battle with myself. Dogs are bred to be around people. They need people for their happiness, health, pues everything.

However, I've found myself shooing different wild dogs, as well, because they are dirty, sometimes mean, and Nicaraguans are really upset by a dog's close presence. (I am someone who comes from a family which has always owned at least two big dogs at once. Our dogs sleep, sit, and live with us. They are considered part of the family. I miss you Sophie, Sadie and Izzie!) I haven't change my love for dogs, but I understand the difference between a wild dog and a cared for pet.

As for Toby, it's harder. I could see in Toby's eyes he still really wants to receive love and pets from his family members, even though they continue to neglect him. The whole time I kept feeling like I wanted to pet him, but at the same time I feared so much he would bite me after having so little trust in humans.

My supervisor Dr. Reyna has two precious dogs at home and she also treats them as family members. Also, in my neighborhood in Managua I see lots of people talking their dogs for walks, but these are more progressive thoughts towards dogs. Yet, my friend Lauren who worked in La Dalia through the Peace Corps, took in an "orphaned" perrito named mani, or peanut, and would constantly walk mani throughout the town, but many people thought it was strange.

When leading orientation for our volunteer groups at AMC, we now always talk about how to interact with animals when we are in the different communities. There was a participant in the past who decided to set her plate on the ground for the local dog to eat the remains of her meal off of the plate. Our Nicaraguan leaders were ofended and later threw the plate away, because to them plates are a nice item used for people and a wild, random dog is an animal that deserves to eat scrapes off the ground or a designated bowl. Earlier this year I had the opportunity to stop by Dra. Reyna's house and meet her family and doggies. As I was petting her dogs, she explained how much she loves them but then was sure to tell me, however, the dogs eat on their own designated bowls.

Last night, as I was walking to my house, I approached a girl sitting on the curb accompanied by a dog. The dog stood up to greet me, as many dogs do, but I tried to avoid the dog. However, I second guessed myself as the dog continued to follow me. I stopped and asked the girl if he was okay to pet and she gave me the go ahead. I began petting the cute doggie and talking to the girl. It turns out she volunteers with the equivalent of the SPCA in the States. She began to radiate her passion for helping out animals in Nicaragua. She told me a story of how she sat with a momma dog for numerous hours as the dog went through labor. It really was a spiritual moment for me. I took her number and I'm going to talk to her about possibly volunteering in the future. Although, a small, moment, it seemed like such a uplifting moment.

I will continue to understand more about people's different views towards dogs in Nicaragua.

God-Dog, Jack
Izzie dog.

Sophie dog.

Wednesday, April 17

God is not...

                  God is not Western
                                                     is not Eastern;
                      is not exclusively the God of classical culture
                                         or of primitive culture;
                  God is the God of the plethora,
                       the God of the diverse, the redeemer of the plural. 

                 Pentecost tells us that one artistic tongue is only a start, 
                                      and a thousand will never suffice.

Harold M. Best

Tuesday, April 16


“I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. John 21:3

Here is the "backyard".
Sarah and I were invited by Dr. Francisco, who is our supervisor at AMC, to spend the weekend with him fishing. Dr. Francisco is a fanatic fisherman, but also works so often he doesn't always have the time to go fishing. He's been known to carry his fishing pole along when traveling with AMC to visit the project sites along the Rio Coco.

Dr. Francisco in his element.

One of the family members, from the house where we fished, found this baby "lora".

Last Friday night, we traveled with Dr. Francisco and his wife Alicia to stay with Dr. Francisco's mom in Matagalpa. Her house is located in a neighborhood just outside of the city and sits raised up on a hilltop with an awesome view over the city. We got to meet his mom and some of his siblings.

On Saturday, Dr. Francisco, his brother, brother-in-law, nephew, nephew's friend, Sarah, and I loaded up in the pick-up truck with two in the back with the poles and headed to MuyMuy or very very. The big question is very very what? We fished in a river in the backyard of a friend of Dr. F's. When I say backyard, I mean a breathtaking view of the mountains and rushing river. Their humble home sits in one of the most gorgeous spots in Nicaragua.

Kency and Sarah fishing with Kency's "breakfast" sausage.
I have to note that this is the first fishing trip I've gone on where we actually walked directly through the water while casting. I was very grateful to be in the cold water after a while and not standing on the hot shore.

One of my favorite moments was standing chest height in the river casting my line and simply listening to all the sounds surrounding me. I heard the clicking sound of my reel as I reeled my lure back in, the grunting/yelling sounds of local resident herding his cattle down to the water to get a drink, the sound of water rushing through rocks, and the slapping sound of a women as she swung her clothes to on stone in the river.

Sarah hadn't been fishing since she was 10. She became a casting pro.
One thing I quickly took note of was how little we fit into the scenery around us. We walked with our life vests, hats, fancy fishing gear, the whole package, yet we encountered "cowboys", children bathing and women washing clothes. We did encounter another little boy fishing, but he was using a simple fishing line and hook. Dr. Francisco's brother-in-law, Antonio, said he caught a fish but then noticed a local women was only catching little puny fish, so he gave his fish away. We were fishing for pleasure, while the community members were seeking food to feed their families.

We came across this precious little girl as we walked along the river. She was carry a sack of stones back to her house.
Dr Francisco quickly captured this picture right as my camera battery died. We traveled outside of Mantagalpa to stand at this breathtaking lookout where we could easily spot several of Nicaragua's volcanoes.
Sadly, no one caught any fish in our group, but as every sport fisherman and woman knows- it's not all about the catch- it's more about being in God's creation and being present with others. The whole time I could not stop thinking about how much Keith and my Pa would love to fish in such a location.

After fishing, we enjoying swimming and risking our lives for a thrill.