Siesta Fan Club

June 2nd

Hola! I made it to Nicaragua safely with my 7 traveling companions. I¬¥m leading a work trip and we are here to build houses and work on a water project. We traveled Saturday to Managua, the capital, and yesterday took a microbus to our project site in Jinotega. I¬¥ve been here six times now with this NGO and still fall head over heels in love with this sleepy little Latin town. I swear Jinotega, with its high, lush green jungle mountains, water falls, fields of calla lillies and hydrangeas and geraniums, was exactly what Gabriel Garcia Marquez had in mind when he wrote his ¬®Love in the Time of Cholera¬®and“One Hundred Years of Solitude.“
The people are equally remarkable. Nicaraguans are just kind to their very core. They are welcoming, generous and sweet people. I feel safe here, and there is nothing better when traveling with a random group of very foreign Americans.
My group is basically entirely strangers. The eight of us include 5 folk I´d never met before our flight to Houson. Thankfully, we seem to be melding well. These are donors who have decided to spend their summer vacations working hard labor in the humid heat. Color me impressed with their dedication to improve the world. I get paid for this. I don´t necessarily know that I´d want to spend my vacation working as hard as we did today.
It is 6 pm and the group is finally rousing from their naps. We are about to head out the door to a small sandwich shop for dinner. We spent the morning and most of the afternoon working on the housing project with the most rudimentary of tools. My work team includes and engineer from Chicago, a former professional football player from California and a man who owns a construction company in Phoenix. Needless to say, I spent a good bit of time today soothing ruffled feathers that there simply isn¬¥t any other way to get this work done. No, in fact, we cannot rent a tractor. No, there aren¬¥t any other tools. No, I can¬¥t do anything abou the giant puddles we are trucking through — it rained all afternoon.
So, we are dirty and tired and slowly making progress on these houses. It is a great project and I¬¥m happy to be a part of it. I¬¥ll post photos soon — when I briefly return home to Phoenix on Sunday — and in the meantime post travel details as I can.
The shirts haven´t yet been distributed. We will go to the orphanage to work on Friday and surprise the kids with goodies then. Thank you again for your kindess and well wishes.


p.s. foreign keyboard = wonky punctuation.

p.p.s. One thing I love about this country — they don¬¥t wake you up with calls to your room. Instead a hotel worker comes and gently taps on the door and wishes you a good morning. It is so much more peaceful than a phone ringing off the hook next to your head, don¬¥t you think?

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18 Responses

  1. So glad you and the crew made it safe and sound! Be safe!

  2. It is good to hear from you.

  3. Nice of you to let us know how everything’s going. Take care.

  4. Yes, more peaceful, but harder to hit the snooze button!

  5. Wow Kelli, sounds like you’re in for an amazing time. Can’t wait to hear more about it.

  6. I hope your trip is wonderful all around. Sounds like it is so far. I can’t wait to hear more.

  7. Oh, Kel! Safe journey and strong muscles! You’re in my thoughts!

  8. You are awesome!!

  9. so glad to hear from you 🙂 hope all goes well. looking forward to the pics!

  10. Kelli, I am thinking of you guys on the this trip. Send Nica and its people my love… I miss them.

  11. So glad you and your fellow travelers made there safe! I can’t wait to hear more about your trip and see the pictures!

  12. Kelli,
    I’m team captain for our Summer food-bank project at work. I’d like to provide some guidelines about best things to donate and things to stay away from (like bottled-frigging-water). Can you point me to some?
    Have a great and safe trip!


  13. Hi Kelli! I’ve been lurking around your blog for quite awhile now. I think this is my first post. Just wanted to say I’m glad you made it. I’m so impressed by your kindness and dedication in this endeavor and everything else you do. Good luck with your project!

  14. Maria Cristina June 3, 2008

    Glad you’re doing well! Keep us updated! Hugs

  15. What an amazing project, Kelli! Cliches aside, the world IS a better place because of people like you and your crew.

  16. I only recently found your blog and have been reading it for a few months. You seem like a person who walks the walk. You believe in something 100%. You do what you say. You live the way you believe.

    At least that what it seems to me.

    I read this post about the work your doing and I’m left a bit in awe. You inspire.

    Thanks for blogging. And inspiring.

  17. Thanks for all your good work. And, thanks for sharing with us!

  18. i have always wanted to visit nicaragua. the country, and the work you are doing, sound amazing. xox