At around 12:15 PM on August 19th our plane touched down in Managua, Nicaragua. The plane erupted into an unexpected round of applause, not because we had a difficult journey, but because families were coming home and could not withhold their glee. Although we were not coming home, home was coming to Lauren as the Spigels and Grandma Gloria departed the plane and made their way through customs.
Lauren led us on a journey from Managua to Granada, from Granada to Matagalpa, from Matagalpa to La Dalia and back to Managua. We listened in awe as she spoke fluently in Spanish. We saw Nicaragua through Lauren’s eyes and met her Peace Corps friends and associates, host families, neighbors and community at large. There were smiles and hugs and lots of warmth. We shared meals with her host family, with her PC friends and celebrated being together.
It’s a rustic environment with splashes of color. The roads are rough and the houses are simple. The people are poor and their smiles contagious. The American dollar goes far and indoor plumbing is a luxury. Electricity is tentative and washing machines are two strong hands at the edge of a river.
Those in the Peace Corps work hard to do their jobs while learning to live like their neighbors; simply and minimally. We left Nicaragua a week later with a better understanding of Lauren’s world and we could not be more proud.