Kylie's Nicaragua Blog
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Solo Jesus

Mercado

 

We worshiped Sunday evening with the Ecclesia de Christo the Mision Para Christo supports in a street-level room with a wide door to the marketplace of Jinotega. It was night and the doors were left open, their Spanish hymns pouring out into the streets. In a room full of people I could only say, “Mucho gusto” – nice to meet you- to, ironically, these were the people I came to talk to.

Earlier, the most contact with Nicaraguans I had was with the moderately bilingual zip-lining guides who passed groups of American tourists from tree to tree every day; and the marketplace guides who translated between English-speaking ignorance and Spanish-speaking vendors for a living. If I had struggled with the language barrier before, I was drowning in the confusion now. Questions I longed to answer were left hanging in the air all day in the more genuine Jinotega marketplace. Children asked if they could have the “fotos” they so eagerly posed for, and I could only answer, “No hablo Espanol. Lo siento!” – I don’t speak Spanish. I’m sorry!” Most children were not satisfied with this answer and continued to grin widely as they asked again with their tiny hands outstretched.

In the marketplace today (Monday), Philip Holsinger took us along the stands introducing his American “amigos” to his Nicaraguan ones in Jinotega. They were as excited as he was to meet friends of their good friend. We separated from the main group to travel with our translators and continued to wander the marketplace, talking to people as we went. Thomas and Blake conducted interviews as I took pictures of the interviewees and surrounding area. But not long into an interview, curious children would wander by, so tiny they were almost swallowed by the busy crowd. They would stare from a distance until I smiled and gave them a friendly “Hola” and pointed to my camera to ask kindly “foto?”

No child refused to pose for a picture. Some stood stoically while staring directly into the lens. Others would smile broadly and pull other children into the picture with them. I showed them all their photos as I wondered if this was the first time they had ever seen themselves that they could remember. Most that came to me were from the ages of 5 to 12. I would ask about school different times of the day: some would say it started at noon, others would say they didn’t have school on Mondays. Beyond their name and age, I had a hard time striking up a conversation.

I listened to the interviews the guys conducted off and on, but I was most interested in a conversation with an especially poor cabbage and tomato vendor. He was a simple man, with only two wooden walls to his spot and a torn, blue tarp to cover it. He sold his cabbages from the dirt, the poor presentation of his product a sign of his poverty, our translator said. We began to ask him about his contentedness with his job and his family, to which he replied that he would work day to day to provide for them but he was waiting for something to happen. He didn’t know what; he just hoped he would one day rise out of his current situation.

Blake brought up the issue of reliance upon different sources, such as self, community and government. The man, Antonio, was quick to reply that he relied only on Jesus. We had found a brother. We learned that he was a volunteer preacher at a local barrios church called “Rios del Agua de Viva.” He was an encouragement to us, watching as he worked from day to day trusting in Jesus to bless him and his wife.

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