The plane was delayed from Chicago to Houston, so we were 45 min late arriving in Managua, so our rather large group had to wait a little longer at the airport for the Massachusetts guy, but they were good sports about it, and only teased me a little, something about deflated tires and the usual stuff, of course I would have to respond in kind about how we beat all they’re teams in every sport anyway, and the usual banter that picks up 1 year later like you never missed a day. It is good to see them. It is good to beat them in every sport also. 

We got in kind of late and went to bed after midnight, and then, well guess what… if you have read any if my previous blogs you know what happened, and you have probably been secretly hoping it would happen again because you want me to write about the trials and problems because they are always more fun to read about than the good stuff, unless the bad stuff happens to you, then its a different story, but since this is my story you are glad it happened to me because you know I’m going to write about it and I know you’re going to like reading it, just like you enjoy rubber-necking at an accident scene. It was probably 12:30 when it started, just kind of slow at first, some dog barking, not non stop but close enough, just on the other side of the brick wall that surrounds the cabins, it was loud, but then he would stop, and a few minutes later, that ignorant, time-challenged rooster would start crowing, again not non stop, but enough to get you out of that deep REM (rapid eye movement) sleep that we all need for a proper nights rest, then after a few minutes, a firework, just 2 at a time, at regular intervals, like someone had a stopwatch and knew that you were about to fall asleep again so time to set off 2 more firecrackers, or kick the dog, or start the rooster a-crowin again; it went on again like that until 4:00 in the morning, on the dot exactly 4:00 am. Do you know why that’s significant? Well I will tell you: at 4:00 in the morning in the week between Christmas and New Year, the Catholic Church has a tradition, a custom that includes a parade celebrating something where they go thru town, and call people out of their homes to join their celebration that ends at the church where they have a service or mass. Now that sounds very proper and traditional and peaceful…NOT. You see the way they get people out of their beds…is to make so much noise that they can’t fall asleep. It starts with a drum, a snare drum, and they play a marching beat that sounds like something from our civil war days where the drummers lead the men into battle, and then just like the civil war, they start blowing things up, firecrackers and cherry bombs that sound like they’re coming from inside your room, like you’re in a war or something, and for some reason that attracts people to join the parade which makes it bigger which makes it louder, which attracts more people, which makes it bigger and louder…its a vicious cycle, like a hot spot on a dog that starts out small but all that licking makes it raw, which introduces the bacteria, which make it inflamed which leads to itching and more licking and infection and on and on until you get so much noise you can’t sleep and you say to yourself I really like the people of Nicaragua but some of their traditions I really don’t enjoy, and it feels more like pain and infection than pleasure. At least for the dog we can give it a steroid injection to take away the itch, and do the humane thing. But this, I don’t know the remedy. And even worse, the parade tomorrow morning will probably be louder…I cant wait. 

We worked today in a small town called Las Mederos, and we set up our supplies and surgery tables under a small crowded portico, which is actually just a tin covered roof held up by 4 thin posts, but it did the job as we spayed some dogs and cats, and treated whatever animals people bought to us, including dogs, cats, pigs, ornamental chickens (not oriental chickens that naturally taste like teriyaki) and even a guinea pig. It was fun to watch the students do their first spay under ideal conditions including dogs that were waking up half way thru the surgery because we had no tape to hold in the catheters which kept coming out so we couldn’t give the full variety of anesthetics we had in our possession because some of the bottles were actually empty anyway, so it made for an interesting opportunity to practice the patience and grace we always talk about, which is always easier to preach than practice. But the whole team did very well and actually enjoyed all the challenges, and all the pets survived and went on their merry wobbly drug induced stupor way. 

After we finished the veterinary work, Oscar and his church group put on a performance that included songs, skits, and bible readings of the Christmas story for all the local people. It was very well done and the people really seemed to enjoy it. Even though it was all in Spanish, you can still understand the story and sing the familiar Christmas tunes. We passed out spanish pamphlets that explained the story and talked about Jesus and who He was and what He did. After a good hearty dinner of rice and chicken, we had our first group devotion. This is always my favorite time of the day,and it is very uplifting to sing and share and pray with our team. It is a real blessing for all of us.

Well its time for bed, and I’m really tired, but a little nervous about, well you know what, you rubber necking geeks. And I’ll bet you are just hoping for another fun night for Dr Mike. Well I’ve got a treatment for this condition, they’re called ear plugs, and tonight I’m going to sleep like…. a wobbly surgery dog. So good night for now.


Dr Mike