Time for another Willard family update from Nicaragua.
Over the past few weeks, a lot has been shaking in Nicaragua… it all started April 10th, when we were participating in our first ever Seder dinner. Just as we arrived at the host’s house, the ground started shaking and the power went out. After it settled down, we sat down to start the meal — by candlelight — but felt a strong aftershock that sent everyone (except the two of us who spent a few years in California) back outside.
Eventually we did finish the meal, which was amazing by the way. After reading A Year of Biblical Womanhood a few months back, I felt compelled to learn more about the Jewish traditions that were the foundation of our Christian faith. I mentioned something to that effect on Facebook, and lo and behold we were invited to two Seder meals this year. The kids participated too and did exceptionally well given how long it takes to get to the actual eating part of the meal (unless you count those bitter herbs and what not ;-).
So school was cancelled the following day, due to the possibility of large aftershocks. We welcome a new adopting family that next day, who fearlessly flew in even with the whole country being on red alert. I snapped this photo while three adopting families spent some time together in the pool. It was an awesome opportunity for them to connect and swap stories, as well as for the kids to interact with others who actually understand the crazy roller coaster on which they are currently riding.
Then the girls enjoyed a week off school for Spring Break. At the end of that week, we welcomed 30 missionary kids to our “Kid Party,” so their parents could enjoy some free couple time. That adopting family who had just arrived brought over 300 plastic eggs (and candy!) for us to hide! The kids had a blast finding them all over the yard. After dinner, they were treated to Frozen (in English, thanks to that same family bringing us a DVD copy!), and the contents of the aforementioned eggs. It was a great night all around.
A few days later we celebrated Easter with an impromptu swim party and pizza. Hey, don’t judge… you’d celebrate Easter this way too if it was 100°… in the shade… without any A/C. Who wants to turn on the oven? Let the pizza guy do that.
And then we thought the girls were going back to school, only they didn’t that week.
And then we thought the girls were going back to school, only they didn’t that week either.
Wait, three weeks of Spring Break? Not exactly. Remember all that earthquaking from the 10th of April? Well, the ground has continued to move in the weeks since then. Not just a few times, but thousands of times. In many ways, we felt like we were all on a boat for quite a while there. So the government of Nicaragua put the country on a continued high alert and cancelled school. Even though our kids attend a private school, the administration was told they are not allowed to hold classes.
Why? Essentially, the answer is fear. (I wrote another blog post about this fear.) Nicaragua has been seriously impacted by earthquakes in the past. In fact, in 1972 a 6.2 earthquake pretty much leveled Managua. Six thousand people lost their lives, and over a quarter million lost their homes. It was a devastating natural disaster that has not been forgotten. Despite the fact that earthquakes cannot be reliably predicted, the primary fear is that the quakes we’ve experienced are preceding “the big one.” In addition, due to their proximity to two volcanoes, the secondary fear is that the volcanoes will actually erupt because of all the shaking.
I admit that for a while I got caught up in the worry as well. It’s hard not to when businesses and schools are closed, people are sleeping in the streets, and hospital tents have been set up in anticipation of a natural disaster. But then the director of one of the local mission boards spoke with some well-known experts in the U.S. and found out that the earthquakes do not appear to be volcanic in nature (meaning those volcanoes aren’t currently preparing to blow). In addition, those seismic experts concluded that the faults affected are unlikely to produce any quakes greater then what we’ve experienced in the recent weeks.
That is great news.
But the fear remains, and so school has been cancelled for yet another week. We’re hoping and praying everything will get back to normal quickly, both for the schools and for the adopting families trying to finalize adoptions and get home.
Because our school is accredited in the U.S., we are required to have 180 school days. The administration decided we’d switch to a hybrid of online and home-schooling for this time period. It’s extremely challenging, but we are so grateful for flexible teachers who have jumped right in and embraced this new requirement.
So, what do you do when it’s 100° and you have a ton (really, a ton) of classwork and homework to complete on your own? School in the pool, of course.
It’s been a crazy month with tons of unexpected twists and turns. But with all the recent events that have tried to shake us up, we’re getting plenty of chances to practice putting our trusting in the one true Solid Rock.
P.S. I’m headed out this morning to attend the Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit in Chicago. I’m super excited to soak up as much information as possible, and then bring it back to help the adopting moms with whom we’re working. I appreciate your prayers for safety and endurance. It will be an extremely busy few days with little down time. Please also pray for my family staying behind in Nicaragua. (We send out prayer emails about twice a month. If you’d like to receive those emails, please let me know!)