I have been given such gifts - support, encouragement, thanks, laughter, life, culture, dreams, successes... and not all are my own... but the celebration of others.
Today I am going to address this as my most recent experience has drawn to a close and now I have returned to... "normal".
I learned about this opportunity, curiosity took me over, but there was this negative skeptic who had taken up residence in my head over the winter, I knew that I needed to change my persepective before I become a grumpy miser hermit and this opportunity was something that was tugging at me. It has been a long time since I had the chance to teach and just a vacation was not interesting to me at all.
So about the group - Three Folds Ministries is based out of Parry Sound - established Skylark Retreat Centre. Their main programming includes Medical clinics with Canadian physicians, nurses, dentists, etc. ESL, Early Start program, Pre and post natal programs, Christian retreats, and now as of April 2012 First Aid/First Responder training by Canadian Paramedics. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99aL0NkcQDw
The first ever run program was where I was heading, with a group that I really dunno, but having faith that I was ready to jump in, I paid the money. Getting little bits of info, my mom telling me to make sure I get my return ticket in my hand (all info was there in email, they don't give out tickets, and others excited and surprised since I wasn't exactly advertising beyond Facebook and a few emails, and don't forget the attempt to get Chipin used.
I was so surprised... and happy and grateful... when I had a great collection of family, friends and colleagues (yeah koodos go out to Red Dog here!) all support me financially and cheering me on for the wild experience that I am getting into. That and finding out I am going with at least a familiar name, one of my colleagues from Ottawa was going on the trip also! So over the month before going, I collected more than the requested amount, gathered first aid equipment from friends and was surprised at the encouragement I was getting, as I really felt I had no idea what I was getting into, and how right it fit into my life yet. I just knew something felt better about having the decision made and the opportunity in my grasp.
Welcome to San Marcos, Nicaragua, well more accurately... Los Madrenos, Nicaragua about 5 ish minutes outside of San Marcos.
11 individuals - 10 medics and one "deputy chief" arrived in Toronto to travel together to Managua, and get driven the 45-ish minutes to Skylark Retreat Centre. Lets just say... Customs was interesting... especially when the non-elgish speaking customs guy starts sorting through all of our bags of stuff, opening and looking at what was in there then gets to one carrying one of the teaching mannequins... well when the little baby feet kicked out to see him and the fake lady parts flashed him, his face turned red and he stopped right there. Sent us on our way - so yes the birthing mannequin was invaluable for saving us hours at customs.
The drive was smooth, got everyone from the airport to Skylark. Managua was quiet - being Easter weekend, and everyone has the week off and would be most often at the beach, but the garbage was quite abundant - but apparently normal - their homes are like their palace but the rest of the surrounding area is free for all - but sometimes people will collect the trash, pile it and then burn it. A little gross... but a different perspective to our world.
Our welcome at the airport - $1 please... no... $5 please!
Our first day was orientation, discuss the programming, unpack and prepare everything for the incoming group. We had no idea how many were coming, who was coming, what their education level was. We had been given the idea that we'll have to be flexible, they'll come and go when they want, they won't learn as we expect them to, etc. So we were just gathering our ideas, thoughts and the points we want to hit and got ready. And really this was the introduction to the group - amazingly we had 11 people all on the same page. How fantastic! And we were flexible, we had ideas and shared and listened, we had stuff to offer. This was the day that I just suddenly felt all the craziness and chaos let go.