The day started out too early with the 3:00 am alarm, but at least we had seasonal weather, 21 degrees, perfect for snowmaking; but I knew that wouldn’t last. When you leave at 3:30 am, the trip into Logan is actually pleasant, no traffic or horns or barking dogs, the lines for check-in short, and TSA examination for dangerous conditions (like dirty socks, smelly feet or belt buckle fungal infections) was uneventful. Time for one more good coffee and then sit back and let go. From this point on all the travel and logistics and schedule are in someone else’s control; I can just relax and let go and let God (easy to say but we will see).

The trip was also made easier and more enjoyable because Jerry and Joan were with me, two friends and classmates from Vet school, Cornell class of ’84, on their second mission trip with CVM -Christian Veterinary Missions – and first to Nicaragua. I have been looking forward to sharing a mission trip with them for a long time and are very glad they are here. Besides being excellent vets and teachers, they are much nicer and less sarcastic than me so that it will be a good balance, good cop-bad cop kind of thing. It will be fun!

Nicaragua customs was fun…Not. It was going along smoothly until the final step when you have to load your luggage and packs onto the conveyor belt, and off they go into that big box like an x-ray machine that could scan a horse, Dr. Justin first, then Dr. Jerry, and Dr. Joan, and then me. Now we had carry-on cases that only had your usual clothing items, but the big suitcases, well they were a little different, full of children’s toys and other miscellaneous supplies like surgical equipment, parasiticides, injectable anesthetics, syringes and needles and such things that gringo’s usually carried around with them. For some reason, this year that seemed to intrigue them and they decided to investigate by taking the cases from Justin, Jerry, and Joan. Mine, however, did not intrigue them, even though it was filled with goodies for surgery and flea and tick meds and such things; maybe it looked too big or heavy or something, but they let it pass. However the other bags held their attention, and after 90 min of going through everything and trying to figure out how to use an equine electric teeth float and exploring all the other drugs and supplies, they decided to keep most of them. So much of our sterile surgery drapes and gauze and pill containers and injectable medicine and stuff like that, they are now part of the Nicaragua Customs control supply chain; who needs to do sterile surgeries anyway.

The ride from Managua to Catarina was quiet and uneventful, which is not to be taken for granted since the political unrest that started this spring and continues now. It is probably better that I not say too much about it while I am down here, but things are not going very well for the Nicaraguan people, and it could get worse as the leadership goes down the same path as Cuba and Venezuela. Pray for them that things will turn around and change. We had a very good meal of chicken and rice and fresh juice, then we went thru all the supplies we have, stored in 8 black trunks and two new suitcases full of stuff, minus all the supplies taken at customs. It took awhile, but we got organized for tomorrows work day, and then we had my favorite time of day, as our group came together for our nightly time of prayer and devotion. We got to know each other and went over our some general thoughts on God’s Purpose for successful mission trips. It is always a wonderful time of sharing and encouraging each other. Then off to bed for a good night’s rest until it wasn’t a good nights rest because of the barking dogs in the yard next to us. Even though there is a 6ft tall brick wall and no way for them to see us, they still knew that strange gringos were there and they probably bought many sterile surgery supplies and teeth floating equipment, and they didn’t like that. I wish someone from customs would come and explain to them that we no longer carry such dangerous things and they can relax and not bark between the hours of 4-6am. However, I doubt they can tell time either, unlike my dog who knows if it is 5minutes past dinner time, so giving them a government cease-barking order probably would have little effect. I will wear my ear plugs tonight as those were not confiscated. If that does not work, perhaps I will give them a treat of chicken leftovers with a candy covered layer of our most popular sedative. Or maybe I will give them some of their own medicine: Nancy says I snore a lot, but I am not sure I believe that because it never wakes me up, but I wear one of those mouth-guard contraptions that pulls your lower jaw forward to decrease your snoring volume; so I was thinking, maybe I should just open my door, take out my mouth guard and let em have it! The problem is, then my next door neighbor Dr. Justin might also be affected, and he knows how to do painful things to horses, and I don’t want to end up with a twitch on my nose. So no, I think I will take the high road and just put in earplugs. But out in the countryside, if those roosters join in the night-noise game, all bets are off on playing Mr. Nice -guy! We shall see.

And just in case you were wondering, the weather was an uncomfortable 86 and sunny, with no snow in the forecast. But since the pool did not have an ice layer on it, we did go swimming as I explained some finer points of ice fishing to my Texas friends. They were not impressed, I guess that’s why they live in Texas.

Until tomorrow, Blessings from Nicaragua
Dr Mike

It’s 1/1/2019, 5:51 pm and I am sitting at home at my desk with the wind howling and temperatures falling – perfect for snowmaking and skiing. However I will not be enjoying the fine weather conditions in New England but instead will be heading to the semi-tropical oven-hot, dry and snowless terrain of Central America. That may sound good to you, but since this is my blog you don’t get a say; I will suffer through mid-eighties and sunny every day, hoping and knowing that better weather is just 10 days away. In the meantime, I will be with a group of veterinarians and students in Nicaragua with Oscar and Tamy as we hope to help some people and animals as well as spread some cheer to people who live in this inhospitable climate. This will be my 5th trip to this area and I am always Blessed by the journey, even though you wouldn’t know it by reading this. But since you are here and reading this, I might as well be honest and share it with you. So come on back if you want as I will write a daily blog, and share it as long as the internet stays up and running. But please don’t rub it in that you are having much better weather conditions, cause that will just make matters worse.

Blessings from Ashburnham

– Dr. Mike

It’s 1/1/2019, 5:51 pm and I am sitting at home at my desk with the wind howling and temperatures falling – perfect for snowmaking and skiing. However I will not be enjoying the fine weather conditions in New England but instead will be heading to the semi-tropical oven-hot, dry and snowless terrain of Central America. That may sound good to you, but since this is my blog you don’t get a say; I will suffer through mid-eighties and sunny every day, hoping and knowing that better weather is just 10 days away. In the meantime, I will be with a group of veterinarians and students in Nicaragua with Oscar and Tamy as we hope to help some people and animals as well as spread some cheer to people who live in this inhospitable climate. This will be my 5th trip to this area and I am always Blessed by the journey, even though you wouldn’t know it by reading this. But since you are here and reading this, I might as well be honest and share it with you. So come on back if you want as I will write a daily blog, and share it as long as the internet stays up and running. But please don’t rub it in that you are having much better weather conditions, cause that will just make matters worse.

Blessings from Ashburnham

– Dr. Mike

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