Well here I am again, about to start the second leg of my journey to Nicaragua, the first leg from Boston to Atlanta uneventful, except for walking thru Atlanta airport at rush hour. I think I know how the cows feel when they get herded down the shutes to the milking parlor, except of course I am not about to get milked, but otherwise I think the analogy has some merit. Maybe it is more like the school of herring getting harassed by tuna on every side, but that is a little exaggerated, unless you are in Bejing airport, but that was 2 years ago, so that analogy isn’t accurate either. Let’s just say it is very crowded, the opposite of living in Ashburnham which is slow at its busiest, and you can get a reverse analogy and try to figure it out yourself. So we set out and as soon as we leave the gate, it starts raining, and not just a typical rainstorm we get in Massachusetts, but the kind of rain they get down south where the clouds are professional and know how to rain and thunder hard, kind of like they are crying because of the unsuccessful sports teams down here so they have had a lot of practice crying hard. So we are waiting with 49 planes ahead of us and I figured this would be a good time to vent, because I already told you if you were going to read my blog, don’t blame me for any harmful side effects. You have been forewarned.

However in the desire for full and honest disclosure, I must confess that instead of being in row 27B, middle seat, I am sitting in 1A, because some kind soul who was the telephone agent who booked my flight on my world points felt sorry for me or something. When she asked me if I wanted to upgrade from Economy to business class because I had extra points, I told her no because I was going on a mission trip and it wouldn’t look right for me to be in first class while the rest of the peons….I mean team members, were in economy. So unbeknownst to me she upgraded me on the flight from Atlanta to Managua and I did not know until I, actually my daughter Megan, checked me in and said I had seat 1A, and I said that must be a mistake because I did not upgrade, but she assured me that was my seat, so here I sit in the rain, sipping orange juice and stretching out, and trying to figure out if drinking that champagne they keep going by with would be kosher to drink. I will let you know later, because trying to be humble and noble at the same time is a tightrope balancing act, and I need to get my balance and not fall or get to big headed. What a tangled web we weave…..no that really is not a good analogy either. But all I do know is that the 6 members of our mission trip who are also on this flight, in economy of course, all made a point to go by me and make some Snide comment about me not being a good role model of mission humility and servant leadership, or maybe that was just me reading to much into those waves and fake smiles. Like I said, I need to get my game on and get some balance…maybe that champagne would help…

Ok so now that I have set the stage, let me explain the mission. I am going with a team of 15 people, including 3 veterinarians, 6 vet students, 2 vet techs, and some prevet students and spouses to Nicaragua to do some work with the people here with their animals. The group we are serving under is Christian Veterinary Missions, and they organize and send many short term and long term veterinarians in many countries, to help people with their animal health, and also to build relationships and encourage people with the gospel. We will be staying with a church planting couple, Oscar and Tamy, and they will lead us to different towns and villages, and when we get there, people come with their animals and we will do what we can to help them. This mostly involves vaccinating, deworming, and applying topical ectoparasite products to the large animals, horses, cattle, and pigs, and the same with dogs, except we will be spaying and neutering them also. We will also see whatever sick animals they have and treat as we can.

The purpose of the mission is threefold. First is to help the people in regards to animal health, treating and preventing disease where they do not have access to good care, and cannot afford to treat themselves. Second is to teach the vet students about basic veterinary medicine and surgery, which is where we will spend the majority of our time. Third, we help Oscar and Tamy meet new people, as they encourage them to come to the church or one of the studies they have in the area. We will also try to encourage their faith and talk about the good news of Jesus as the opportunity arises. CVM is a great organization for helping people in the animal health field use their time, talents, and possessions to help others, and live out their faith thru service as instruments of Christ’s love.

Well I have to go now because there is turbulence over the Florida Keys and it is jostling my sparkling water, and you know how sensitive I am about these things. I am also hoping my wife, Nancy, along with daughter Megan, Caitlin, Emily, and Justin and little Lucy, have a safe and uneventful trip to Seattle to visit family. This will be my granddaughters first flight, from Boston to Seattle non stop, so I hope she will do fine, because when a 15 month old gets tired and jostled, well you know what can happen. But then they can drink Starbucks and eat at Pikes place, as I trudge thru the dirt and jungle of Nicaragua, but that is a choice I made and now I have to straddle that fine line between humility and nobility. Again. Oh what a tangled web….it still doesn’t fit here either. I never said I was a literary scholar, and I did warn you, so don’t blame me because you chose to read this. Time for me to kick back and put that warm cloth on my face and endure the hardships of a mission trip.

Until tomorrow,
Blessings from first class
Dr Mike