Today started…quietly. That was different. Maybe the dogs are used to our smell and the kids ran out of fireworks and all the roosters were eaten, but whatever the reason the noise didn’t wake me up. I just woke up, at 4:30 am, for no particular reason. It’s that internal alarm clock that just goes off, and since we are 2 hours behind, it went off at 6:30 am eastern standard time. Now when Nancy’s internal alarm goes off, it usually means something is wrong with one of the kids, or I did something foolish again. And the problem is, she is usually right. You can try to BS, change the subject, take the offense, and all those other natural defenses we have, but in the end, she is usually right. You would think I would learn, but no, 34 years later I still fight it, and usually lose. Bad habits die hard. Oh what a tangled….

So we got up, ate breakfast, hit the road at 7:30, and off to the capital city Managua, to do some small animal work in one of the poorer sections of town. It is interesting driving in Nicaragua because it is so different than the US. First the paved roads are better than ours, seriously. The second poorest country in the hemisphere has better paved roads than Ashburnham. By far. No potholes, no frost heaves, no layers of patch on top of patch. Smooth as a baby’s…well I won’t go that far. Second, there are not near as many drivers. Most people walk, bike, or ride a bus, so the roads are uncrowded, even in the city. No traffic jams or long backups. Third, people do not drive fast, they are not speeding, swerving, one finger saluting, honking, or swearing. They are actually easygoing and in no hurry to get there. And when you get behind the slow drivers, which is often, it is easy to pass them because there are not that many cars and the roads are long and straight. I wish it was like that back home, but that is about as likely as snow in Nicaragua or smooth roads in Ashburnham. But mostly what I notice is all the people near or on the roads. You can drive for miles at home and the only thing you see is other cars. Here you cannot drive 100 yards without seeing people or animals walking the road. And they are usually talking, the people that is, I have not heard any animals talking, but since I don’t know spanish I guess it is possible I’m missing it. We live in big insulated houses, and have large cars with closed windows, and often have ear phones or cell phones stuck to our head, and we usually don’t interact with other people. Here they are always close to other people and talking with them. I think they are better at the people end of it than we are, so I am not sure which country is richer.

We worked inside one of the churches Oscar had planted and it worked out very well. Now you may think it is wrong or foolish to work with dogs inside of a church, because when they get nervous, they get messy. But these churches are very basic, with cement block walls, open areas for windows, plastic chairs, an aluminum roof, no lights, and a dirt floor. So if an animal pees on the floor, just wait a few seconds and voila, it disappears. Brilliant. I spent all this time and money on our floors at work, and have nice shiny tiles that we have to mop 20 times a day, and I should have just put in dirt floors and been better off. And the people are very patient and wait without complaining or saluting. But to be fair, they are not paying either, which tends to make people grumpy, so it is not apples to apples, or mangos to mangos in Nicaragua. Still I wish I could bottle some of their attitudes, just not the ones which want everything for free.

We came home, went swimming, played pool volleyball, ate dinner, got to FaceTime with Nancy, and had an hour and a half of group devotions and prayer. Now that is a good way to end the day. Tomorrow we are off to do it again in some other small town. I hope it will be a blessing to the people we serve. We have a very good team, and I am blessed to be here. Thank you Lord!

Blessings from Managua
Dr Mike