We spent 3 days and 2 nights in the countryside of Nicaragua. After la Trinidad, we served in Los Lamos and San Jorge, small villages of several hundred people. They do not have a lot of materialistic wealth, and their cows and pigs and chickens are their food supply and their bank account. If they need to buy something they will sell one of their animals, usually a cow, to get the money. So their animals are very important to them, and anything we can do to help them is very much appreciated. They are quick to smile and thank us for our service.

A day in the countryside has a rhythm of its own, and you can see and hear and smell and feel it. The sun rises and sets fast near the equator, but everything else moves at a slow steady pace. You can hear the changing animal sounds as they move thru the day, the natural songs the birds sing, feel the dry warmth of the sun, smell the food which is cooked over wood fires, sleep outside comfortable with stars much brighter than at home.

However it is upside down at times; at home, daytime is noisy and nighttime quiet; here the warmth of the afternoon sun makes man and beast tranquil, and slow meandering or a midday siesta are the norm. At night, once the dogs settle down from their watchdog duty, a quiet serenity surrounds us. Sleep comes easily, and all is well…until 2:17 am; why that is significant I don’t know, but it means something to the roosters because that’s when they start. And what they start is a cackling cacophony with no known purpose, a mystery of the avian kingdom. And they gather momentum as they go, like a downhill skier on hardpack snow, and they don’t stop until sun up, and then, their unknown purpose fulfilled, they stop their cackling and act all innocent, like they didn’t do anything wrong. And the most aggravating part of it all is that most people are not even aware of this travesty. I hear people all the time ask their children about animal sounds, “what does the rooster say?” And they give the stock answer “cock-a-doodle-do” and I want to break into the conversation with a 10 minute version of a Nicaraguan rooster rant. We should be telling our kids the truth about these miscreants so that if they ever visit down here someday they won’t be shocked and disappointed by their true nature. The only satisfying part of their story is the end, where they are on a plate next to some blue cheese dressing and some celery.

I know I am a veterinarian and I am on a mission trip and should be saying nice things about everything, especially the animals, but lack of sleep makes me grumpy, so I need to share it with you; misery loves company. But lest you think I am a whiner, I will admit that I still like it here, especially the countryside, and sleeping here at night.

And I am really enjoying the chicken.

Blessings from Los Lamos
Dr Mike

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