Lessons From Nicaragua
Entertainment

Lessons From Nicaragua

The service trip of a lifetime

35
Lessons From Nicaragua
Maria Requena

It has been exactly six days since I returned home from Las Penitas, Nicaragua. Six days since I left the beautiful country and its people. Six days since I’ve been surrounded by the sounds of construction, Spanish music, crashing waves, and farm animals. Six days since I have last served. Six days since I’ve been home and have had to readjust to the way we live, after having quickly accustomed to living with the Nicas. I knew the moment I hugged Santos and Alberto goodbye, tears in my eyes, for the last time, that I had changed, and the person who had come to Nicaragua just 10 days earlier would never be the same.

Santos, Alberto, and Danilo were our Fuller Center Leaders. Through NCC Breakaway, a group of 16 of us embarked on an adventure to serve those in need through helping build homes through the Fuller Center Global Builders Program. Santos and Alberto spoke English as best they could, and myself and three others served as translators. I went with little expectations, or perceptions, and returned with the memory of the trip of a lifetime. They were so grateful to have us there, and looked out for us as if we were their own children. They served us probably more than we could have served them, and taught us more than we could teach them.

I learned how to mix concrete, bend rebar, how to build a roof, how to spackle. I rode in the back of a pickup truck, ate Nicaraguan Oreos, experienced the joy of my first and hopefully not last plantain chip. But even more importantly, I learned to redefine community, service, love, and kindness.

Our group helped put roofs on three houses, helped remodel the structure of a sinking home, and built a new house from the bottom up. The Fuller Center requires that the family who will be living in the house help in the construction of it. This gave us the opportunity to meet them, converse and learn about them. I mostly worked at the remodeling house, bending rebar and mixing concrete for the bulk of it. The family there consisted of a nurse, a fisherman, a little girl, and a little babe but three months old. Also custom to the process, community members would come by and volunteer their time, despite the fact that this house wasn’t for them, but their neighbor.

It was with them that I learned and experienced what a loving and kind community truly is. These people look after each other like family, and help each other out every way they can. They are very genuine and caring. After all, they are what they have; there is no apple store in sight, or mall. No traffic lights or stop signs, or even road names. Phones and computers are nowhere in sight. Many people walked barefoot, adults and small children alike. Animals were everywhere; pigs, horses, chicken, dogs, just freely roaming in and out of homes. They didn’t belong to any one person, rather to the community. They accept and are grateful for what they are given and what they have, and likewise, welcomed us into their community without a sweat. They not only wanted our help, but they also wanted to help us, and get to know us. They asked us questions about our lives, and likewise, we asked about theirs. They offered prayers and blessings, and luck in our endeavors. We never ran out of ice water. Never went hungry. We were never forced to overwork ourselves; if we began to tire, they told us to take a break in the shade to make sure we would stay healthy and safe. We came to serve them, but often times, it felt like they were serving us.

Through this I have learned that service is more than simply lending a hand, or helping a process move along faster. Service, at the core of it, is about caring. It’s learning about the people you are helping, and figuring out how you best fit into their story, not the other way around. Service is gratitude; appreciating everything you have been blessed with, and exhaling it back into your community. Service is learning to love; love those whom you serve as much as you love yourself. They will in return, love you as much as they love themselves, and serve you in your time of need. Service is sacrifice; give up your time, your energy, give up your money, your perfectly clean shirt. Giving your soul with gratitude, knowing and reassured that you are making a positive impact in someone else’s life. Service is kindness, in the rawest form of the word.

I came in, excited for adventure, enthused to learn, energized to make a difference. This open mindset made it perfect to absorb all of the love this community had to give. And sure, it was exhausting work, but at the end, I have returned home with even more excitement, enthusiasm, and energy, to serve. This trip has taught me that there are infinite ways to serve, and I don’t plan to rest until I have explored them all.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

Being a pharmacy technician never held as many risks as it does now. Exposure too hazardous conditions were little to none, and garbing up was only conducted in IV compounding. But, now, in order to give nurses the medications they need to help their patients, they need us, pharmacy technicians.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

Epic Activewear Deals Every Leggings-Lover Needs To Know About From Nordstrom's Biggest Sale

Wearing my pleather Alo leggings till someone physically removes them from my body.

I'll be the first to admit I'm not an athletic person, at all. Since junior high school, I've been happily cheering my friends on at their football games and soccer matches from the sidelines as long as I could go home to my yoga mat and spend Sunday mornings at Pilates with my mom's friends.

Weekends are often spent in my casual wear, from the second I throw them on for morning meditation through running errands and evening walks. No, I won't be running a marathon or joining my friend's volleyball league anytime soon.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

11 Reasons Why Getting A Cat Is The Best Thing You Can Do For Your Mental Health

Cats may mess up your puzzles but they'll always love you unconditionally — as long as you have some catnip, that is.

Scout Guarino

Alright, everyone, it's time to stop spreading the rumor that all cats are mean, aloof, and hate everyone. Like dogs, each cat has its own personality and tendencies. Some like a lot of attention, some like less — each person has to find the right cat for them. As for me, my cats Bienfu and Reptar have seen me at my worst, but they've also helped pull me out of it. They're a constant in my life and they give me the strength to get through the day in spite of my depression, and there's even scientific evidence to support it!

Keep Reading... Show less

TikTok was banned by the president, but Instagram is here with its newest feature called Reel. Many of us are still wondering why TikTok was being banned in the first place. Was it all the dangerous TikTok trends? It was because of a security concern, but not in the way you might think.

TikTok is owned by Dancebyte, which is a China-owned company. Basically, just like any other app, TikTok collects the user's data. The main question to ask yourself when investing in any app or marketing tools who will be owning my data? So yes, China currently owns all the TikTok user's data worldwide.

Keep Reading... Show less
Disney

I've always been a huge Disney villain fan — whether it was for their cryptic one-liners, enviable outfits, or sidekick banter. Some of the most iconic lines from cinematic history have been said by the characters we love to hate and occasionally dress up as once a year.

The fear-mongering Gaston I now find hilariously cringe-worthy is now charming and oftentimes considered by fans as rightfully justified in his actions. Die-hard fans of the Disney villain fan club claim alternate egos in their favorite evil characters, adopting their hilarious witticisms into everyday life.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Reasons To Put The Damn Mask On, And Stop Fussing With It

COVID-19 is real people, do your part to protect yourself and others.

Ilana Stein

With the ever-changing reality of our world due to COVID-19, there has been one constant throughout these past unforeseen months, masks. Ever since coronavirus hit the ground running in the US, the CDC has been recommending social distancing and mask-wearing to stop the rapid spread.

Many people have been great about adhering to these policies, mandates, and suggested uses, but others, not so much.

Keep Reading... Show less

Anyone who goes to Panera Bread will tell you that their mac and cheese is to die for. If you're a huge fan of their mac and cheese, you won't believe the new recipe they're coming out with!

Keep Reading... Show less

I've been an athlete my entire life. I love movement and I've been jumping, kicking, swimming, dancing, throwing, you name it since I was in diapers. I'm also pretty competitive and probably went through a few sore loser phases. What can I say? I like to win, and losing can sometimes feel like I've failed. Especially, when your competitor is your best friend or someone that you worked all year long to defeat.

Keep Reading... Show less
Swoon

I Asked My Boyfriend His Opinion On Liking Other Girls’ Pictures, And, Spoiler Alert, It's Cheating

"When you get into a relationship and you're in love, you have to realize that liking photos is for the single lifestyle."

Ladies, listen up. If you are in a relationship with a guy and he is liking other girls' pictures on social media, then it's a red flag. A man who can look at someone else and show interest by liking it means he doesn't care about your feelings AT ALL.

Keep Reading... Show less

Picture this, we're settling into our date, the conversation is flowing, we're ordering drinks, laughing, and then it happens... the job convo.

Him: "So what do you do?"
Me: "I'm a dating and relationships editor."

Keep Reading... Show less

- I have extremely sensitive skin, which is why I have always resorted to a plant-based organic beauty line such as Radha Beauty.

- Radha Beauty won me over years ago when I was looking for organic skincare brands.

- I was so excited to see they launched a new line incorporating USDA organic rosehip oil, so when their PR team sent me some, I could not have been more thrilled.

- After a week of using the products, my face felt as smooth as a baby's, looked more glowy than ever, and even cured some of my summer sunburn.

Radha Beauty isn't just a best-selling beauty brand on Amazon — it's a USDA-certified organic beauty brand I live by, and anyone who knows me knows I am all about holistic wellness.

Typically, it only takes three days for me to tell if a skin product is working or not because I have extremely sensitive skin. It's also why I have always stuck by plant-based organic beauty lines such as Radha Beauty.

Keep Reading... Show less

I have definitely had my fair share of breakups. I broke up with my high school sweetheart my second semester of college (he was cheating on me), I had a breakup with another guy I thought I was going to marry, and others in between. Regardless of whether you're the one doing the dumping or being dumped, breakups can HURT.

Keep Reading... Show less

Social media is something many of us have been addicted to (whether we want to believe it or not) since the moment we got it. I remember getting Facebook at 10. Instantly I was hooked. I loved being able to share my life with people, a little too much in my opinion, and I loved being able to see how/what other people were doing all the time.

Keep Reading... Show less

I am not in any way any sort of medical expert. These are just some tricks that work for me and have worked for others who also suffer from anxiety. These may not work for everyone, but I do hope these help some people in their fight against anxiety.

Keep Reading... Show less

-Having struggled with acne prone skin for years, I was cautious to try a new serum on top of the other products I've come to trust.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments