Some final thoughts about my Nicaragua trip


Now that I'm sleeping in my own bed, not doing "bug checks" at night (Dorritt was especially concerned about scorpions, and we did kill one) and showering in a real shower, I can remember the beauty of the country-here's a photo of a bandera flower, taken at the Hotel Raizon in Maysaya, Nicaragua, where we spent our first and last two nights.

What a beautiful, complex and infuriatingly "messed up" world we live in, where folks can work really really hard and still have nothing, where a beautiful country can house so many people in poverty (Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, after Haiti). We met a woman from Ecuador who now lives in Chicago and is an environmental engineer for Texaco. She was amazed and touched that Americans would come to Nicaragua to help build houses. Kind of restores your faith in all of us, doesn't it?

Here's a "parting shot" taken at the airport in Managua. Emily, Alexa, Lauren and Becky, looking very happy to be on the way home! I don't yet know how, but I know that this trip has changed me (and all of us who went on it). It sounds silly and trite but I definitely received more than I gave (I'm not a very good house builder) and came home with a much healthier perspective on what it means to be happy and successful. Now if I can just figure out what that means in my daily life, I'll be all set!

4 comments:

Amy said...

Connie,
What an amazing trip! I'm sure the pictures don't do the country and people justice, but your narrative was wonderful. I'm so glad the trip was everything you hoped for and more.
Amy Billig

Connie Knapp said...

It was an amazing trip. It was everything I hoped for and more. Sure makes me glad to live in the first world and not the third world (whatever that means in this era of globalization.

Paul Brockmann said...

Hi Connie -- Don't know if you've turned on the email thing, which lets you know when you've got a comment on your blog by sending you an email. In any case, hope at some point you'll notice this comment. :-) Your thoughts on getting more than you give are so true in my experience as well. And I think therein lies an essential truth about something many of us Americans are missing -- there are things far more rewarding, far more deeply satisfying, than buying the biggest television screen available, or whatever consumer passion currently occupies a given person. I keep hoping I'll find better words, better ways of describing the glory of getting away from the daily life of the US and seeing the billions of ways in which the world's inhabitants go about their lives, to all those who think I'm "suffering" in some way. One sees one's life so differently, and one takes our minor American setbacks so much better in stride, when we know what it means to live with literally nothing, and yet to be happy with one's family and community as much as possible nonetheless. It's such a rewarding voyage. You make me want to experience Nicaragua firsthand, but first I'm looking forward to getting to know some parts of Africa firsthand. All my love,

Paul

Connie Knapp said...

Paul,
I couldn't agree with you more. Somehow accumulating more "stuff" doesn't seem to make any sense at all. I'm reading Barbara Kingsolver's Animal Vegetable Miracle, about the year that her family spent living off what they grew and bought locally. She talks about how it's about how much you have of something (like zucchini 8:)) and not about what you don't have. We seem to focus on what we don't have-doesn't make much sense, does it?
Have a wonderful adventure in Africa, as I'm sure you will. So sorry we missed you on this trip-hopefully we can see you in person soon.
Lots of love,
Connie