Shantytowns, trash-filled streets, and begging children, these are the scenes of Nicaragua. In high school I spent time on a Native American reservation and also served in Mali, Africa. Both experiences opened my eyes to underprivileged neighborhoods and malnutrition at its worst. My experience here in Nicaragua is different that the other places I’ve seen such dire poverty. I thought Nicaragua would have more resources available, more opportunity. This is not the case. After traveling about four hours there (1 ½ hours on the highway and the rest on rough, unpaved terrain to this remote village), our eyes were open to impoverishment that runs rampant through the isolated communities. Our main purpose for going was to see the faith-based healthcare ministry called “Amos Heath & Hope.”
Understanding that Nicaragua is the second poorest country in Latin America, one can only imagine the need for basic needs, such as clean water. On average, Nicaraguans live off of less than $2 dollars per day. The great mission of Amos is to get isolated communities involved in basic health care. By partnering with the government, community, and NGOs, Amos strives to raise awareness amidst communities that could drastically change the infrastructure of health in Nicaragua. They teach the essentials: boiling water, washing hands, and prenatal care. 5% of children are more likely to die in Nicaragua than the US due to the lack of these simple preventable measures.
My time here in Nicaragua has been and is wonderful. I’ve learned that Nicaraguans are resilient people; a people who celebrates life as it is today and refuses to let the hardships of life weight them down.
I have a few more reasons I love traveling. I am reminded how privileged I am. This is humbling. The mere fact that I cannot throw my toilet paper in the toilet but must put it in the trash is a reminder of their lack of sewage system. Yeah, it’s pretty gross. But that’s the reality. A reality that I do not face 3 to 4 times a day at home, but they do. I also love that “I-face-plant-into-my-pillow-due-to-extreme-exhaustion” feeling because of all of the experiences I had that day, of all I have learned that day. A sleep well earned.
So may I always live in an eternal gratitude, taking absolutely nothing for granted. From this day forward, may I live my days to the fullest, soaking up life in all its experiences and lessons that all I can do is face-plant into my pillow with the deepest satisfaction that I have lived yet another blessed day, eager to wake up for another.