Sometimes living in Nicaragua is quite literally warm beaches and big laughter with great friends. Sometimes I buy groceries, go to the bank and put gas in the truck with no problems. My mind races from point to point, trying to make sure I remember everything on the list because I don’t really want to have to go back today. Or even tomorrow. So I stay in my head, check all the boxes, and arrive safely at home to work on projects, make a smoothie and maybe catch an Olympic event on TV.
But then sometimes it doesn’t go like that.
Sometimes I see all the brokenness. The window washers who work long hours at the red lights to make a few Cordobas with each job. The ones who are either obviously mentally handicapped, or appear to have created that state through sniffing the glue. The kid who is probably only twelve, wiping down our window with a rag, while his blind, elderly relative stands with his hand on his shoulder. The elderly man’s condition being the ‘reason’ they’re soliciting the help of a few cordobas. Sometimes I look up to see the young girl with the baby on her hip, shoeless, but walking with purpose somewhere. Or I see the kid that cannot be more than 5 or 6, and definitely can’t reach the windshields, but is at the red light with his squeegee anyway, when it is definitely an hour at which he should be in school.
Sometimes I see it all. And it is heavy. And it hurts. And I can’t shake the burden.
This is why we say yes to the window washers when they ask if they can have the random coconuts from out of the back of our truck. We were planning on planting them at the ranch, but we can pick more up later. These two guys are in front of us, asking for a “pequeño regalo” now. It is also why I hand my barely drank iced latte to the twelve-year-old at the red light when he asks, after already giving him a few Cordobas. Because it can fill his belly now. It can maybe make him realize that he is worthy of a gift he asks for, rather than the rejection he most likely receives daily. And because, maybe even for a moment, it will make him feel like a regular teenager.
Sometimes living in Nicaragua is heavy.