The Walk to Nicaragua

Photo Jun 19, 7 11 07 PM

On our drive to the work site we passed the border between Honduras and Nicaragua. We made sure to hop out and take a picture in another country! This was my second visit to Nicaragua.

My first visit to Nicaragua was unexpected. My small group was distributing bags of food to families when Sergio, our leader, got out of the truck, opened a gate, and waved us through. Then Sergio let us know we had entered Nicaragua. We were a little unsure about this, because there wasn’t anyone to stamp our passports or check our bags. So, we blindly went along for the journey. We drove until the rode was no longer passable and we then got out and walked. And then we walked. And walked some more. We walked for half an hour before we even saw a house. I thought surely this most be the house, but then we walked past that house. The path narrowed and we walked single file. We began to fish around for our snacks and water as Craig and Josh carried fifty pound bags of food. Eventually we arrived at house, it was very small, with a concrete floor, a hammock, and three small rooms. We presented our bag of food, and it is hard to explain exactly what that felt like. It is hard to say, “Here! Be happy! We brought a little food!” Truly, I wanted to cry and apologize that it wasn’t more. I wanted to buy shoes and clothes and beds and whatever else I could and drag it down that path to that house. But, that isn’t an option. It was a small gift, but it does help. I have to remind myself that I can’t do everything. I have to remind myself that every little bit DOES matter. It truly truly does.

We went on to go a little farther down the path to one more house. Our walk to Nicaragua was a vessel for thinking about what delivering food means and looks like. I thought a lot about the throwing back a starfish story, helping one starfish and helping one family can and does make a difference. The day my group walked to Nicaragua we handed out 10 bags of food, and others in group passed out 10 bags per day for the next two days. It may not be a new house, or food for life, or a long term help. But I have to remind myself that we did bring food to 30 houses, and that means something. The walk to Nicaragua represents to me a change in thought. I need to focus on what I can do today to help someone, not that I am unable change their lives forever.

The Fear Stinks

I was wrong about the fear. There is no reason to fear! I always feel that way after the fact, but really? Why must I waste my time? Honduras was a great trip, I had a marvelous time, I grew as a person, I never got lost, was never hungry, and never felt scared. I could have spent the time and energy spent worrying doing something else. The thing is, will I spend that energy differently next time something scary comes along? I would love to say I’ve learned! No way will I fret my time away again! Honestly, I am who I am and my natural state is as a person who frets.

I have a lot to say and am at a loss for where to start. For now, I’m having difficulty uploading pictures. There is probably some easy fix that I can’t see at this point. I’ll fiddle now and will hopefully have a decent post shortly….

The Fear

One year ago I was doing contract work at my old office, I was attending every teaching job fair I could find, emailing every principal, and hounding my own principal about hiring me as a teacher. I was about to go back to work as an aide. Then, on the day I went back, I was making copies for for the teacher I was an aide for (Sylvia), when someone’s contract fell through. The intercom beckoned me to the office and there sat the decision makers of my school along with my future team leader. They were offering the fourth grade. I was supposed to teach special ed or younger kids, I just knew it. I needed a job and I fearfully accepted. Petrified doesn’t begin describe my feelings. Would they listen to me? These 9/10 year olds? Would they care what I had to say? Would they learn anything from me? I couldn’t eat, my stomach hated me, and I was shaking the night before the first day of school.

Many things have changed in the past year. Growing into myself has been a long and steady process, but this past year, it sped up. I found an outlet for the person I am. I was able to turn to my support system and conquer my fear of failure. My love of people, reading, creating, and learning was put to good use. My mentor teacher, my teammates, the teacher I was an aide for, my mother, my boyfriend, my friends and my family all were there for me to sort out fear and help guide me. Learning, growing, and  making decisions have led me to now. I could not ask for a better life than the one I currently have. I have great love in my life.

Fear and anxiety have been slowly creeping up on me again. I invited myself to go with my mentor teacher (Lauren) and group of people from her church to Honduras. I had always assumed that I would have been on many great adventures before I reached my current age, but I have not. Tomorrow I leave for an adventure. My anxieties and fears seem trivial, first world problems as JMO has begun to say. What if I get car sick? What if they don’t have coffee? What if…. This will not be America, the place where broke means I don’t have money to take a vacation, broke doesn’t mean I can’t eat. I have spent a good deal of time reading about Honduras, reading the FAQs on the Mission Lazarus site, and looking at their postings on their blog. This month for my happiness project, I am keeping a prayer journal. Writing down my anxieties and asking God for guidance has truly helped me prepare for this journey. Gathering knowledge and addressing anxiety is the way to squash fears. So, as the fear is being squashed, there will be more room in my heart for the adventure and journey that awaits.

Photo from the Mission Lazarus Blog


Last summer I brought JMO to my grandparent’s house, and he brought his brand new iPad. My grandparents never got a computer and often state that they missed the boat, they think it is to late for them. My grandpa has curiously asked for assistance “Googling” while visiting any of his kin, but he has long stopped making visits. So, last summer, when JMO brought a device that my grandpa could hold and touch, he was hooked. JMO is a whiz at the internet (and everything else), so he found many things that a normal internet user may not come across. He discovered a German site with Pickert lineage before the Pickerts came to America. This was a gold mine for my grandpa, he has spent years researching genealogy. When I got home, I printed it out for him, and he has now told every member of our family about the German site that starts with Joachim Pickert in 1757.

The Art of Internetting

So, as we began to plan our trip to Florida this summer, my grandpa had one request, bring the iPad. He does not feel he is quite ready to own his own, but he was anxious to use it again. Last Wednesday, my cousin dropped me off, and my grandpa and I set off internetting. We Googled “Pickert” and my grandpa spent hours reading every link possible. There is a town in North Dakota called Pickert. There is also a German potato cake called Pickert. There is also a writer for the Times named Kate Pickert. We don’t know her, but she is probably lovely. We also explored his parts of the world he wanted share on Google Earth. Then I left it with him, and told him I would get it back on Friday. He was uncertain about this, and took notes on how to do certain things on the iPad. Friday, when we went to their home, my grandpa had a stack of magazines where he had circled the, “For more information go to www…” parts. We went for lots more information. During dinner, he told a story about driving his uncle’s 1929 Franklin as a child, then he realized he could show us pictures on the iPad. Then he proceeded to look at Franklins for sale across the country, we found one is good working condition for $48,000. The options truly are limitless with the world wide web at your fingertips.

I’ve grown up with computers evolving and cannot imagine what I would do if I could not instantly get information. Information is easy and common; it was an absolute pleasure to see the internet as a fascinating thing through the eyes of my grandpa. It is not often enough that I get to spend so many hours with him and so many hours in which we are both entertained by the fascinating world of possibilities before us.