David and I just got back from an amazing trip to Nicaragua. I only got to spend 5 glorious days there, which I'll talk more about later, but my sweet, sweet husband spent 2 weeks down there setting up clinics and serving underprivileged children & their families.
I just have to brag on him for a second and tell you how amazing he is and what a heart he has for children. He is going to make such a wonderful pediatrician. The stories he shared and the pictures he took really capture what an impact he and the rest of the medical team made while they were there. For his independent project in his final months of medical school he is setting up a photo gallery in Shands displaying pictures and writings to capture the incredible experience that was Nicaragua; the second poorest country in the western hemisphere. I am so proud of him and can't wait to see his work displayed.
Here, he and Z are racing with some of the local kids. Dave said the 10 year old kid beat him because he got a cramp...maybe he let him win, we'll never know. He got to work and play with the kids, which is equally important in my mind.
One day they were working in a community near the border of Nicaragua & Honduras and the team was able to walk across the border. Dave was so excited that he got to visit 2 countries on his trip.
On their 1st weekend off, the team got to spend some time on a coffee farm. Dave said it was absolutely beautiful! They went on a long hike up to the top of a mountain and then back down. They continued hiking for 3 hours and eventually ended up on another coffee farm. They were so far away that they had to hitch hike their way back to where they were staying. Here is a picture of Dave at the coffee farm.
On Wednesday of their second week I flew down to meet Dave's group with the second group of medical students. It took an entire day to travel there, but it was worth it! The country may be poor, but it is an absolutely beautiful place. The first full day I was there we traveled to Playa Maderas, which is one of the best surf breaks in Nicaragua, other than Rancho Santana, where our uncle is building a vacation home. The waves were 6-8 ft high, but luckily there was a smaller break as well for me to surf on. I was not about to surf 6-8 ft waves with rocks jetting out everywhere you turn; 3-4 ft waves were just fine with me! :) Dave however, loved the big waves and spent the day out there ripping it up. Here is a picture of the group that went surfing. Other than the 30mph winds and the sand pelting us on the beach, it was a great day! We finished the day back at the beautiful house Dave rented and watched the sunset over the Pacific Coast. It was the end to a great first day and a gorgeous sight to see.
On Friday we hopped on a small, 10 person boat and traveled up the coast of Nicaragua. The coast is beautiful with not much development. Every couple 100 yards there were small coves, some with houses on them, but most without. The houses that are there are huge and gorgeous. It was amazing to me to see a coast as beautiful as that, with no condos and tourism. That just doesn't happen in Florida. At the end of that day we were able to see another amazing sunset, but this time we were cruising along the crystal blue ocean, with cool wind in our hair.
On Saturday, we went zip-lining! What an experience that was. This is a picture of us AFTER zip lining. Unfortunately, we didn't bring Dave's camera because it was too big to carry around. Our friend Z however, had his small camera and took lots of pictures for us, but the sad news is that he is still in Nicaragua so we don't have the pictures yet. I'll post them when I get them. The views from the top of the mountain were amazing. Looking out at the beach, the cliffs surrounding the beach, and the community below us was breathtaking. Just from looking at that sight I don't know how anyone can say there is no God. Who else could create something that beautiful? That just doesn't happen by chance.
We spent our last night there, Valentine's Day, enjoying a delicious dinner at one of the nicest restaurants on the beach. We enjoyed 2 glasses of wine, shrimp with rice, an entire white snapper, and 2 deserts for only 23 dollars. What a deal! If you were to go to Bonefish and order that same meal, it would cost you at least $100. It was one of the most romantic Valentine's Day dinners we have had and it was in Nicaragua!