Our trip was motivated by a number of factors, but first and foremost was a desire to expose our children, (and ourselves) to a life beyond the walls of our home and community. While Tamarindo, Costa Rica has been different and challenging, (in relatively small ways), it has not been a shock to the system.
Actually, let me back up and say that there was an initial shock. Pure and simple – leaving home – is a shock to the system, regardless of where you go. Tamarindo is a different environment – beaches and ocean instead of snow and mountains. A little more Spanish than English. A different culture and attitude. Being far from friends and family, familiar terrain and activities spurred some change and adjustment. But, in the end, Tamarindo is a friendly, touristy surf community and we happily and readily adapted. Since we were greeted by an extremely friendly, energetic, and open community, not a day has passed that we have not all agreed that we love living here.
Despite that, we have made an effort to reflect on our unique experience almost daily. We do a lot of “best and worst,” “easiest and hardest” questions with the kids. I want them to have some consciousness about our situation even though the impact may not manifest for years to come.
All that aside, our trip to Nicaragua was the real “meat” of uncomfortable exposure thus far. This was a unique opportunity to expose and “teach” without using words. I hope to take this a step further in the future and actually dive in and do something as a family to make a positive impact on the world.
Kim reminded me that our friend Brad Corrigan was in Managua, Nicaragua, (the capital city), working in the trash dumps with the poorest of the poor. I watched a movie inspired by his experience back when I was in Colorado. But I didn’t even make the Nicaragua connection until Kim reminded me. At that time, it was so far away, so beyond my comprehension, that the “place” didn’t mean anything to me. The images, the story and the mission did, but it could have been anywhere in the world. Not anymore.
Brad started an organization called Love, Light and Melody which brings music and arts to poverty stricken parts of the world. LLM spent time in the trash dumps of Managua, Nicaragua and the stories and pictures are overwhelming. This stopped me in my tracks the first time I saw it, but it was good to be reminded of it in light of our recent trip.
It speaks for itself: http://www.lovelightandmelody.org/