Family Alive

Brian, Kristine, Analise, and Josiah Toone

Gracias a Dios and La Palmerita

8th January 2009

A main street in Gracias a Dios

A main street in Gracias a Dios

Looking back at the village of La Palmerita

Looking back at the village of La Palmerita

We visited two villages today that Nuevas Esperanzas is working with. The first, Gracias a Dios (“thanks to God”), is a village on the side of the main highway located on the pass between two volcanos. Nuevas Esperanzas worked with members of the community to build a rainwater harvesting tank for nearly every house in the village. Arturo, Enrique, and Andrew drove all of us in the chevy blazer out to the community where we turned off the highway at a spot which you could tell rarely had automobile traffic, but was plenty wide enough for bicycles, horses, wagons, etc… When we stopped, the kids got out of the car and ran over to a trough that was filled with water and I snapped this picture – it was a little out of focus so I dry brushed it, but to me it speaks volumes of the experience the kids are having here – curiosity and delight all wrapped into one moment as they stared into a large basin full of water:

Josiah and Analise stare with curiosity at a large basin of water

Josiah and Analise stare with curiosity at a large basin of water

We walked around the village and stopped at several people’s houses. The first woman we met welcomed us enthusiastically into her yard. Andrew, Kristine, Analise, and Josiah all climbed on top of her rainwater tank to inspect how much water it had. We admired the fruit (papaya and grapefruit) growing in trees in her yard – as well as her chickens and pig. We then went to several other houses to compare the design used to construct the rainwater tank.

After leaving Gracias a Dios, we drove on down into the “Central Valley” of Nicaragua – a large flat area of land behind the line of volcanos near the west coast and west of the mountains dividing the Pacific and Atlantic sides of the country. We turned right at the small town of Malpaisillo and then began our journey on a rough dirt/rock road that used to have large vehicle-sized holes and ruts. The road has been improved a bit and grated mostly smooth. After turning off this main road to take the road to La Palmerita, it began to narrow eventually during into basically a narrow double track road through the fields.

I will let Kristine write up her thoughts on today, but the basic summary is that we met with several of the ladies that participated in a series of community health classes that she taught. We met a child named Anna Cristina born shortly after Kristine and her sister Anna who was here at the time left Nicaragua. Andrew, Arturo, and Enrique completed their survey work and we got to drive the entire boundary as Andrew recorded the information on his GPS device to establish a rough border of the property. They will be doing a traditional survey to establish the exact boundary in the coming weeks.

We left and made the long drive home, stopping at On-The-Run (a gas station) and enjoying the first real cappacinno (for $1) I have had since I have been here while the kids ate ice cream – we had already eaten lunch in the car. Then Andrew dropped Kristine, Josiah, and I off at the hotel so we could get a little bit cleaned up and I could grab the girl’s play dress-up clothes for a short play date. Josiah and I walked the few blocks down to Andrew and Jane’s house with Josiah dragging Analise’s pink backpack full of clothes the entire way!

Finally, we ate dinner at Pizza Roma – the restaurant that Kristine and I used to have our Nicaraguan dates before we were married!

2 Responses to “Gracias a Dios and La Palmerita”

  1. taylor lane Says:

    Can I have Josiah and that bucket bath? Can he just come live with me for a while??? But you have to include bucket and water! You have no idea how much you are missed, but i am elated to see these amazing pictures and hear how great your week is going! The pictures are gorgeous! I am so happy to have found so many connections with the people you worked with years ago! Ok, all those great things aside… come home! We need your sweet face back here with us! LOVE YOU, PRAYING FOR YOU, AND SO HAPPY YOU ARE THERE!
    your biggest fan

  2. Sandy Says:

    Great pictures and narrative. Glad Kristine got to see some of her friends.

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