Wednesday, September 12, 2012

León, Nicaragua - September 12, 2012

The last time I wrote we were in San Salvador for the Safeguard Your Heart District Convention. We had heard that the San Cristóbal volcano had erupted on Saturday and we were a little anxious as to how things would turn out - would we be able to return home or would the volcano erupt again and prevent us from reaching León. Thankfully, we had an uneventful trip home.

The trip to San Salvador was quite an adventure though..... we left early on Thursday morning - on the road by approx. 5:15 am with a quick stop for coffee. We were at the Nicaraguan border in no time and we anticipated arriving in San Salvador sometime in the afternoon. Unfortunately, there was a problem with one of the passports and the issue continued to follow us from border to border with the end result that we arrived in San Salvador just after MIDNIGHT..... yep midnight. We were surprised to see a group of (very tired) brothers with a welcome sign waiting for us. There were many hugs but due to the late hour greetings were kept to a minimum. Some of the brothers and sisters still had a distance to go before they could settle in for the night

We were able to book a hotel that was within walking distance to the Convention grounds and so we were settled into our room in no time. We stayed at Hotel Terra Bella and we recommend this hotel to anyone who is in San Salvador. It is located in the Zona Rosa (very safe) and is close to many restaurants. A hot breakfast is included in the rate and it was delicious and the coffee was very much appreciated on Friday morning.

The convention was a real international event - there were speakers from 8 different countries. The final attendance on Sunday was just under 850 and there were 3 baptized. Since both Pat and I have First Aid Training we were recruited to help out with First Aid - so it was nice to have a different assignment for this convention. The facilities were really modern and the only real complaint that anyone had was that the air conditioning was so cold..... we froze and I really appreciated the hot shower in the hotel - I think I drained the tank trying to warm up. It was wonderful to meet so many brothers and sisters from all over the world who have moved to either Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador or Guatamala to help either full-time or temporarily. We are already looking forward to next years convention. One of the highlights for us was to see the joy on the faces of the young brothers and sisters from our congregation who attended the convention - none of them had ever been out of Nicaragua before.

Here are a few pictures from the convention:
Meeting our new CO and his wife - Todd and Lori

Leon English Congregation, Nicaragua

Debbie and Mariela

Pat and Lenin give a demonstration

Lydia, Michelle, Ashlee, Scarlett, Elga, Debbie

Fanny, Hazel, Mariela, Talia, Elfa

waiting at the El Salvador border

There were a few funny things we saw along the way:

pigs wandering freely at the border crossing between Honduras and Nicaragua

McDonalds delivers in San Salvador!

There was even time to play

Sunday, September 9, 2012

San Salvador, El Salvador - September 9, 2012

We will be leaving San Salvador tomorrow morning at 5:00 a.m. and are hoping for a easier and shorter trip home. However, we have had news that a volcano near León had three eruptions on Saturday. It is necessary for us to drive past this volcano on the way home. So far the drive looks clear but as we all know things can change in a heartbeat.

Here are a few pictures of Volcan San Cristóbal that we took from the bus on Thursday, September 6, 2012. We don't know if what we saw was unusual activity or not.....

Volcan San Christobal, September 6, 2012

Volcan San Christobal, September 6, 2012

Volcan San Christobal, September 6, 2012

Volcan San Christobal, September 6, 2012

Volcan San Christobal, September 6, 2012

Volcan San Christobal, September 6, 2012

Monday, September 3, 2012

León, Nicaragua - September 3, 2012

So.... here we are six months after moving here to León, Nicaragua. We're a little thinner, browner, healthier and way happier than when we left Canada. Not that our life wasn't good back home - it was - but now we have reached our goal to be Regular Pioneers!

We have had to make a lot of adjustments in the past few months and in some ways have had to change our expectations of ourselves and our situation but we both have to say that moving here has been one of the best decisions we have ever made. We are both so busy in Jehovah's service that we don't have time to be bored. We are together almost 24/7 and that in itself has been one of the biggest adjustments in our lives but has also been very enjoyable.  For anyone who is considering moving to where the need is great we encourage you to take the plunge. Make sure you do your research thoroughly and choose a place that suits you. Also, Skype is an amazing tool to help you keep in touch with your family and friends back home.

Shannon and Desmond
A new couple have joined the congregation - Shannon and Desmond. They are visiting from Maryland and will be staying for six months. They have only just arrived and are quickly getting into the swing of things. We of course had to join them when they were introduced to our favorite pizza place - Antonino's. (our budget is already taking a beating this month....)

At Atonino's
A funny thing happened a the Kingdom Hall last Sunday - an Iguana was found hiding in among the literature. When Sergio tried to grab it by the tail the Iguana "released" part of the tail so that it could get away. This happened twice actually and the poor things tail was quite short when he was finally caught. Good thing that they grow back..... Iggy was released into the yard of the Kingdom Hall and I'm sure he will live to a ripe old age as long as nobody wants Iguana soup!

Sergio and Pat admiring the Iguana
part of the Iguana tail

Remember our garden? Well we are at the point that we will be "harvesting" a couple of peppers. We have another pepper plant that has just flowered and it looks like there are some "babies" growing on it too. Our papaya tree is as tall as Pat and has what appear to be flowers at the top of the tree - this indicates that we have a female tree and should have a crop of fruit in the near future. In the picture with the peppers you will notice a cactus plant. We are hoping this plant will survive and then we will have some homegrown pitahaya.  We are still fighting with the fire ants but have come up with a new strategy - we sprinkled laundry detergent over the whole area. This morning they definitely aren't as active and we didn't get devoured when we hung our laundry. We will repeat the "sprinkling" every few days/weeks until they decide to go somewhere else...... hopefully not into the house.

Interesting snapshots:
Sign on the bus from Casares

Dog on a bike waiting for his master