Earlier this month we visited Nicaragua for the very first time.
It was different than any other family trip we have made to date.
While the landscape is beautiful, you can see and feel the economic hardship of the country. The country is extremely poor. In fact it is one of the poorest nations in the world, with 80% of the population living on just $2/day. Buildings were old and often in ruin. There is no train system. They had to sell the metal and trains for money years ago. The roads are narrow and bumpy. Most people walk, take the bus, or ride bicycles because cars and gas are too expensive. And yet the people were incredibly kind, giving and warm from the coasts to the rural communities to the cities. We were greeted with a friendly spirit everywhere.
The people in particular made a striking impression on all of us. Lauren researched the country before our arrival and discovered a program called Empowerment International. We visited the founder during our trip and met many of the students in the program. They are doing really incredible work and we made a donation and brought school supplies from the United States. If you want to make a donation you can do so here. I am still thinking about those kids.
On the plane heading home, Lauren kept saying how she wants to go back and see more of Nicaragua. I feel the same way.
(Part II here)