Sunday, December 1, 2019

Nicaragua Part 1

The day finally came of a recent dream of ours--bringing our whole family to Nicaragua! It wasn't the exact trip we originally planned on bringing them on, but it was a great one!  We woke up early to head to the airport and to ensure we had enough time getting through security--the stressful part about flying for me!  All went well and we headed to Atlanta.  We traveled the week of Thanksgiving so our kids only missed two days of school, which was great. I love going on trips with these people!





Shanna loves Vera Bradley.  She enjoyed scoping out this airport store before our flight left.  Oh, and at Dulles there was a little chapel for religious worship.  I thought that was so terrific!



Once we arrived in Atlanta we then were on our flight to Managua!  Double bonus--the Bunkers connecting flight was the exact same as ours.  The kids had fun sitting by each other.

Nice and warm in Nicaragua!  Ahhh.....love the warmth.


First stop was Subway.  Fun experience for the kids going to a US restaurant in a foreign land! Chris, the coordinating and "CEO" if you will of Helping Hands, set up EVERYTHING for us.  It was amazing!  We brought donations of toothbrushes, toothpaste and toys to help with some of the activities and service we were doing.  And Deb brought some craft stuff.  But other than that she up up lodging, food, cultural events and site-seeing.

The whole time we were there we rode in this bus.  Carlos was the driver.  This was one thing that made the trip so nice and made us feel very safe.  We had our own personal transportation wherever we went and didn't have to walk a lot in the towns and hail taxis all the time.





I really wanted to ride in these moto-taxis with my kids but it never happened.

An active, smoking volcano.  Apparently there are 19 active volcanoes in Nicaragua.  By the way, Lee served his mission here and has now been back a few times.  It's been awesome.


We stayed at Rancho Los Alpes outside of Leon.  The ranch consisted of two houses connected by outdoor courtyards.  After Subway we drove straight to the ranch.  The ranch fed us dinner and breakfast everyday and sometimes lunch.  We felt very pampered.  Their juices were amazing!  All of us slept in one room that had four bunkbeds.  Then the Bunkers stayed in another room closeby that also had 4 bunkbeds. For dinner the first night it was yucca with fried pork skins and cabbage.  The yucca was not my favorite and the pork skins had hair on them!  But we don't normally eat them, so maybe they always have hair on them? 


All my kids were troopers and did not complain.  I know Shanna especially did not like the food, but she didn't say anything.

After dinner we filled up bags of rice and beans to handout the next day at a little dental clinic we were going to help at.




Carlos the bus driver, and Orlando one of the interpreters.


Chris Schrage that runs Hands for Hope.


In the background in a pink polo is Alma.  Her brother owns the ranch and she helps occasionally.  She lives in Florida.  What was really fun is that she is investigating The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!  Her uncle is a member of the church.






A root on the pathways that looked like a snake!


Day two was Sunday.  The kids woke up to a fun surprise of an awesome breakfast which included Nesquik cereal!  We had no idea there was Nesquick cereal.  Cal has been obsessed with Nesquick since scout camp!





Not sure what they are called in Nicaragua, but the lichas were a big hit.




There are some monkeys at the ranch as well.  The kids had fun with them.




Chris was surprised when she saw all the white shirts and ties.  She commented to Lee about how people at church would not be wearing white shirts and ties.  Lee just thought, little do you know!  One of the porches/courtyards.

They also loved having yogurt drinks.




We made it to church!  The ward was so welcoming!  Several people, even a boy, came up and shook our hands.  It was the primary program that day which was so fun.  The stake president was visiting as well.

Everyone came to church with us which I thought was really great-Chris, Carlos, Orlando, Caitlyn, Kelvin, Larry and Alma. It was so fun doing this trip with the Bunkers. At church Caitlyn went up front and started translating for us.  It was kind of weird for us as we just wanted our kids to be immersed in the experience of the meeting and yes, not know what is being said.  Lee went up and told Caitlyn we didn't need an interpreter.  She was quite surprised that we didn't want one.  Hopefully she wasn't offended!


After the program they wanted pictures with us.  During the program one of the primary girls practically led the whole thing!




The young men meeting with the Bishop for class.


The young women.


Relief Society


Priesthood Class


Elden and Hyrum in Primary...sitting by the Stake President. In primary they fed all the kids as a celebration for doing the primary program.  Elden and Hyrum were quite happy about that!



Visiting the Sutiaba Ward.  I think that was the name....







We went to a park/town center area after church and ate lunch provided by the ranch.

Loved eating the fried platains and the rice! 


Back at the ranch...pictures out of order, but here is our view.  Such a beautiful place!




Once lunch was done we loaded up on the bus again and headed to the town by the dump to help with the dental clinic.  Christ contacted three local dentists.  They came and helped for free.  They were able to keep the leftover supplies after for which they are grateful because they have a hard time getting the supplies they need.  People can get free dental care, but it's not good (if I remember correctly.) And if they go somewhere good, they have to pay to get their teeth examined.  So what we did it the dentists would examine the teeth and then the kids would mark on a chart of the teeth which teeth needed work or had cavities.  This way it saved the patient money for the screening exam and could just get the needed tooth pulled, or cavity fixed.  They also got a toothbrush and toothpaste after.  During the even the kids broke two pinatas which was funny at a dental clinic.  People who were needy received a small card with a number on it and could get the beans and rice.  Alma also brought clothes to hand out.



This sounds awful, but with all the dirt all over I was surprised how clean all the adults and kids clothes were!  Lee said that they are very clean people and will even sweep their dirt floors.  My kids get dirty so fast I feel like and don't live with dirt floors and dirt yards!






















Back at the ranch....one of the yummy juices.  This one separated with some type of seeds that float.




We had tamales for dinner, called Nacatamals.  SO delicious!






Chilling at night.

We knew we would be doing some Nicaraguan folk dancing but weren't anticipating doing it on Sunday. Oh well.  It was enjoyable and I guess learning, right?



Shanna loved it.  I think all the kids enjoyed it, even if it was awkward for some of them!


















We each got to dance with a partner for however long we wanted.  Deb kept trying to keep Thomas on the dance floor, which was funny.
























Every night we were beat by 8:00pm. For the first time in YEARS my kids were going to be very early and waking up very early all on their own!  Day two in the books.