Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Nica List


I lived here for a year and there are so many great things about the city. May be a good place as a “home base,” there aren’t as many draws here for tourism in terms of active things to do but things are nearby, lots of restaurants/bars and clubs to go to though!

Taxi Rides: Are safe, just makes sure you know where you want to go and that it is a marked taxi. Rides during the day in town are normally 10-15 cordobas per person…20-30 later at night. Here’s the number to a taxi driver we trust (he can also take you to the airport for $30): Oscar 89973967 or Bosco 89973967 (Bosco does tours and if you aren’t up for taking the bus he can take you places, he’s kind of weird and can be off putting at times, he will tell you things you don’t want to hear about his life but makes for a great tour guide apparently.) Don’t take Managua taxis they are unnecessarily expensive and I have heard some scary stories, too, in general try not to be in Managua at night.

Buses: Can seem like a crazy idea but are actually pretty efficient in terms of getting place to place. They are usually packed (that is an understatement) but cheapest transportation. They are guys that collect your money at some point during the trip and if you are unsure of how much it cost, just ask.

Exchange rate: $1 USD is about 25 Cordobas and is constantly changing; this makes for things to be cheap for us.


Café de los Sueños: Great foods like crepes, salads, soups, omelet’s, fruit salads, baked goods etc., a little more pricey but cheap in terms of the USD. Located at the end of La Calzada.

Don Luca: The best pizza you get in Granada…Mona Lisa is good, too. Both on La Calzada.

Floresta: AMAZING fresh smoothies…also may be a great hostel option, great environment and nice staff. On Calle Real Xalteva.

Claudias: The best place to get traditional types of Nicaraguan food, cheapest lunch, great refrescos (fruit juices). You can get lunch for like $2 and it’s a lot of food and Claudia and her husband are the sweetest. On Calle Ganado.

Pandería nueva estrella: Also great traditional food as well as a bakery. This is located on Avenida Barricada.

Reilly’s: Good food, great bar to hang out at. One of my friends Mads from Denmark works there…although he may be gone by the time you get there; he’s super fun though! Located on Calle el Cisne.

Camello: Awesome Mediterranean food/ Middle Eastern…you can’t really go wrong with this place…the owner is pretty quirky and uncomfortable but always fun to go to. On Calle Caimito.

El Garaje: More “American” style foods, like pastas, quesadillas, salads, sandwiches that you won’t find elsewhere in Nica. Place is great and is run by a married couple, food is super fresh! Located on Calle Corrales.

La Hacienda: Also American food, cheap and good! On Calle Corrales as well.

Comida Chino (Food Stand in front): A MUST eat here…for really Nicaraguan food. Get a fritanga mixto with your choice of chicken, beef, pork or fried cheese you get tajadas, maduras (Plantains) and ensalada. So much food and so good. Located on Calle Martirio.

You can get groceries at the local market, Palí, La union and La colonia (last two are more “American”)

Dancing: Kelly’s Bar near La Calzada, Encuentros is right across the street and is a bit more upscale. Then there is The Weekend which is located on the lake…usually there is a shuttle but if not, Taxis will take you…If you go to the lake TAKE A TAXI THERE AND BACK, don’t take your chances, I have heard awful things happen to tourist that try and walk back from the lake late at night. There are other places on the lake to go to but we always liked The Weekend (Saturdays are better). There is also BE. A karaoke bar and café nuit, more like salsa, bachata dancing.


Las Isletas fun if you can get a tour that drops you off at one of the islands to hang out for a bit, I wouldn’t say it’s totally worth it but cool to see the “365 islands” and the island with all the monkeys!

Volcan Masaya, apparently really cool at night tour.

Mombacho, the huge volcano right near town. Definitely worth it on a clear day. You can hike around the top called the “puma” but you have to hire a guide. Also offers canopy tours which are lots of fun!

La Merced Church, great spot to be during sunset on Calle Real Xalteva.

 Hotel Spa Granada and Hotel Granada both offer all day entry to their pools for $5-$7…worth it if your hostel doesn’t have a pool.


I don’t know of many since I lived there but I’ve heard a lot of people go to the Bearded Monkey, La Floresta and there is another nice one near the Bearded Monkey that is newer but I don’t remember the name. Home stays are also an option if you guys are interested…would be like $5-$7/night I know a woman who has lots of room and Internet (it is a hostel type place) in the barrio I lived in. Let me know if you are and I can get you connected with the family.

Do not go to a place called the Tree House also known as Poste Roja…I never went but the people who go there/work there are severely messed up…lots of drugs etc. I don’t advise you to make the trip out there.

Places to GO!

1) Estelí: Northern Nica known for cool weather, coffee and cheese…never went but sounds so great.

2) Matagalpa/Jinotega: Also N. Nica lots of hiking, coffee plantations, waterfalls, river rafting and windy roads…SUCH a beautiful place. Best/cheapest place to stay is La Buena Onda for $7/night.

3) Managua: The capitol of Nica. No real reason to stay here except to pass through to get to other places via bus. Avoid taxi’s they are stupid expensive in Managua and because you are from the U.S. they will charge you even more even if you speak perfect Spanish.  Important bus stops in Managua:

a) La UCA: goes to Granada & Masaya…kind of the central bus station.

b) Mercado Mayoreo: Buses go north bound to Matagalpa/Estelí/León/Rama (goes to Bluefields) If you are at the UCA then take the #110 (if you are facing the road at the UCA station you need to cross the road and to catch the right bus)

 4) Bluefields (then to Big Corn Island or Little Corn Island): A great place to stay if you want to go to Big Corn or Little Corn. Bluefields is WAY different than other parts of Nica, more of a harbor town, poorer than say, Granada, more Caribbean influence, some English speakers, kind of a Creole dialect. To get here from Managua take a bus to Mercado Mayoreo then to Rama (6 hours), once you get to Rama you take a Panga (speed boat) (2 hours) to Bluefields. I think the Bus/boat combo is like 250 cords so $15 one-way. Then once you get to Bluefields there are boats to Big Corn and then you take another boat to Little Corn. The boat schedule is weird though, only like Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays or something like that, so plan wisely! Places to stay: Little Corn Island, 3 Brothers (only place with kitchen) Bluefields: La Isleña (cheapest 250 cords/night) You can also take a plane to Little and Big Corn Island from the Managua airport if you want to skip out on the epic traveling via bus and panga!

5) San Juan del Sur:  Beaches on the Pacific ocean/surfing/snorkeling/turtles etc. Bus to Rivas to San Juan del Sur. Places to stay: La Terraza Guest House is the only place I’ve stayed and it was wonderful. But that’s right in town. There are lots of tours places that can take you to other beaches like Playa Madera I think like $5 round trip and there are surf rentals, too. I know that there is a place called Las Flores that has lots of turtles…never went but something to check out!

6) Ometepe: A MUST GO TO! I love this Island, it’s in the middle of Lake Nicaragua and has so much to offer. You can go to the beaches, to a natural spring called Ojo del Agua, hike up La Concepción (active) or Maderas (inactive) volcanoes both of which you should hire a guide, very dangerous otherwise (get up early to do them they are long hikes!) To get there take a bus to Rivas then a short taxi to San Jorge (this should be no more than 30-40 cords/person) Then hop on the ferry to the Island. We stayed at a place called Little Morgans, was a cool setting, nice dorm style option but is normally more of a party hostel, no one was really there when we went but is known for that scene…there were some strange people there. But anyways, there are LOTS of different options for hostels all in beautiful locations. There is a “finca” nearby Little Morgan’s that is supposed to be great and have delicious pizza on Mondays. To get to these hostels and to hike Maderas you take a bus right when you get off the ferry to Moyogalpa get of there and then we hitch hiked (I swear it’s safe!) But I think there is a bus that goes through there and you can take a taxi but it will be expensive. If you plan on hiking Concepción stay in a hostel in the main center.

7) Laguna de Apoyo: Great place to chill for a day or stay a night. If in Granada you can take a bus to Masaya or to Managua, doesn’t matter and ask the money collecting guy to “dejame por la laguna de apoyo” From there you cross the highway and you then you have 3 options, taxi, hitch hike or walk (about 1 ½ hours). We always hitch hiked. There is an entrance fee to the laguna I think like 20 cords (can’t remember) The best place to go is the Monkey Hut which is a hostel, you can stay there for the night or just for $5 you can use their facility all day including their kayaks. They have a kitchen you can use or you can order food. There are also some ventas down the road where you can buy food supplies and litros of beer or rum!

8) León: Never went but apparently is like a larger Granada, has beautiful beaches nearby! Bus from Mercado Mayoreo to León.

Have fun! And if you have any questions you can email me at madeliene.hernandez@gmail.com

A final THANK YOU.

Hello everyone,

Just wanted to send a final big THANK YOU to all of those who have helped me throughout my year in Nicaragua. Hopefully you have all received my postcards, although I've found that the Nicaraguan mail system doesn't always seem to get them in the right places and I always wonder where the postcards end up?! Hopefully to a good home I suppose. 

I've now been home for a couple days which has been nice to spend time with my family and relax a bit before my next adventure. I had a very hard time leaving Nicaragua because, as you can imagine, living in a foreign country for a year can be an incredible experience and it was extraordinary for me. Leaving a place where I found such strong friendships, connections with the community, culture and language was heart wrenching and it wasn't until the plane took of that it became real to me that I had to leave. Leaving and not knowing when I will be able to go back. 

During my last week the girls and Hassell had planned a surprise farewell for me that I had NO idea about and along with our director, Larkin, they got me as I walked into the office with Larkin and thought "why are all my girls here?!" and they all said "Es su gran sopresa!" (your big surprise). They sat me down in a chair to watch all their originally choreographed dancing and original songs. One of my favorite girls, Maikeyling wrote me a song called "Que te vaya bien" (There isn't a direct translation for this, it kind of means I hope you go well or safe journey I suppose) the point though is that she put so much heart and thought into the song that halfway through the song she burst into tears and of course Hassell, Larkin and I were a mess! 

It sometimes takes farewells to realize what an impact that you made on the people you work with...this is good to recognize when you are working in the realm of non-profit, youth development programs because for me I spent many nights wrestling with the thoughts that I wasn't making am impact at all. One thing that someone told me my first month there is that you have to learn to stop looking inward and start looking outward (stop shining the spotlight on you). This advice really set the precedent for my year in Nica and truly helped me grow exponentially.

So many people have asked me what I'll miss most about living in Nica and working with Soccer Without Borders and I think for the rest of my life I will continually reflect on my experiences and come up with new things. But for right now I will miss most the community. And by community I not only mean the friendliness of Nicaraguan culture but simple things like finishing up on a run and seeing all my girls getting out of school or seeing my best friend Hassell sitting outside and getting to catch up with her. Making meals with people, dancing, walking everywhere, speaking Spanish, saying hello to the neighbors who notice when you've been out of town. In many ways I feel like I experienced a piece of Heaven having lived in Nicaragua and while it is by no means is perfect, the people are proud of their country and so eager and willing to share their lives with you. And I feel like that having community in your life, loving others and using your gifts to build up others is what God calls us to have. 

And because I have community here in the states which so generously provided for me over the past year, I was able to love and spend time with little girls in Nicaragua. Someone also told me, "do for one person, what you want to do for everybody" so thank you for choosing me and my girls this year, I truly hope that you all understand the impact you've made in my life. I'm so excited to move forward in my next journeys in the ways God has grown me and to continue to help children who don't have the opportunities that I've had. 

I will be home in WA just a few more days before I move down to Portland for the summer and would love to see all of you if you are in town. My number is (360) 509-7567. I will be back in the fall for school so there will be chances in the future too to share my stories with y'all if you're interested :) Hope all is well with family and life.



Thursday, May 30, 2013

Have a nice trip!

So if you know me well you know that I LOVE to run. Running, in my opinion is the best way to get to know a city quickly. I know where some of the most random things are in Granada just from simply exploring around via sneakers. But of course the terrain here isn't great when your stick, hot and don't lift up your feet high enough...which reminds me of several great interactions with my girls and some locals while running.

Let's be real, there are very few people in Nicaragua who run, lest why most of the locals look at me like a crazy person and even more so because it's daily a scorching 95 degrees here...and I always manage to go in the middle of the day when it's hottest and then there's no water to shower afterwards. A couple of my girls the other night while walking home with them brought up an afternoon where I was running past their neighborhood. They had all just gotten out of school and I saw them ahead, ran towards them to say hello and alas, I slipped and fell. In what you ask? God only knows. When you spend enough time in the homes here you realize that everything from people's sinks (food waste, waste in general, dirty water, laundry soap etc.) all ends up in the gutter of the street...it's green, brown and slippery. So I managed to end up in just the right spot to slip in the muck in front of my girls and a ton of people hanging out on their porches. Everyone was probably more mortified than I was. Graciously though, some girls came out with a bucket of water to clean me off and then I ran off in shame. 

There are several other stories like this and I have great scars on my knees to prove them but this one was my favorite because my girls and I still laugh about it today : ).

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Big gols, little people

During my second half of my internship we split the mariposa team into two, the mariposa juniors and the mariposa seniors. Hassell and I lead the juniors and we have an awesome little team that consists of 15 girls. We have a wonderful time with them always, as they are respectful, good listeners and come ready and excited for what we have prepared for them. The unfortunate thing about our little girls is that there isn’t much competition in Granada and games for them are few and far between. Finding teams for them to play is an on-going process and I imagine that one day there will be a soccer league that resembles that of the clubs in the U.S. all with good time. 

Luckily one day we were able to play a group of girls from a local school on a Saturday. It was the first time the girls got to gear up in their black and white uniforms and play girls other than themselves. We won the game with the winning goal scored by one of my favorite girls, Andy. The girls have learned what good passing looks and feels like and the ball ended up in all the right places to score the goal. I’ve never seen such an awesome victory celebration, all the girls ran up to Andy cheering, screaming and hugging. Their excitement for all things has showed me that even the little scores in life need to be celebrated in big ways. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Dance, Dance, Dance

So, I'll be honest Nicaragua is the kind of place that makes you want to dance...ALL THE TIME. Like I said in my post about Nica Buses, they're also bumping music. Go to the market, bumping, walking down the street to your house, someone jamming, grabbing some minutes for your phone, they got speakers, too. It gets to the point where I'll be walking in town telling myself "don't you dare start dancing in the middle of the street." The alternative is that I walk to the beat with some pep in my step.

It's no wonder my little mariposas can tear UP on the dance floor. It's in their blood. I unfortunately didn't get the full force of the latina, dancing genes that I wish I had. Luckily, my girls have showed me how to shake my hips, remember they are all around 9 yrs old! Many of my favorite memories include lots of dancing. I've never seen children be able to shake like kids do here, it's makes me so happy, it's entertaining and a good laugh sometimes, too. I mean, these kids pause between hitting piñatas to drop low...too much!

The fondest memory of all was when the girls choreographed their very own folklore dances, the more age- appropriate dancing I've seen from them and of course, beautiful. All dressed up, flowers in their hair and lots of uniquely designed dresses twirling around. I often reminisce on the memories where the girls have taught me something new, like dancing but really what a blessing to be a country that is proud of their culture and are excited to share every traditional...and suddenly you are a part of this incredible community that changes your whole perspective on life. One of which is that we should dance, everywhere, anytime. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Spanish slip-ups

Among the many mistakes that I’ve made in Spanish this one by far was the funniest experience I’ve had mixing up/ mispronunciation of words. As a part of FSF’s effort to recruit girls to come to the program we’ve spent hours going into schools and running gym classes. One morning we were at Instituto, a secondary public school, running a gym class for some girls probably ages 14-17. We did a little warm up and then were doing some stretching exercises. We normally do stretches, popcorn style, so whenever someone has an idea they run to the middle and lead the stretch. I had one and ran to the middle to lead a neck roll stretch. The word for neck is cuello (quwayyo) but as I went to say cuello I began to say the word for butthole, culo (coolo). I didn’t say the whole word but everyone knew where the word was going and busted up laughing. Nicaragua has definitely taught me to relax and laugh at myself because a lot of times things in life are pretty funny.  

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Loco bus

I decided to start thinking about my favorite memories and things about Nicaragua to share with everyone who reads my blog or has contributed to my time here in Nicaragua. The memories are not in chronological nor are specific to the program that I'm working with...just funny things that have happened.

If you've ever been out of the country, maybe to place like Nicaragua then you might know what I'm talking about when I say that buses here are crazy. And unless you live here and know how they work, you hate it. Luckily for me I love it and you have to have sense of humor to take the system lightly. Imagine an old school bus, like a bus that in the US would be in an old junk yard, then shove as many people as you can on the bus, add 100 degree weather and a fat money collecting man weaving through the crowd to get his 20 cordobas from everyone, add going 20 mph and a sound system that probably cost more than the bus and blasting discotheque music. That's how we travel.

The memory that sticks out the most though was the time that Kelly (my co-worker who has been with me the whole time here in Nica) and I wanted to go to Ometepe, an Island in Lake Nicaragua that has 2 huge volcanoes on it...the lake here by the way is like an ocean. We only have time to travel from Saturday afternoon until Monday morning, so it doesn't leave much time to go places but we decided to make the long trek anyways. We walk to the bus station that is in the back of the market in Granada and ask a guy if we can get to Rivas at this time (it was maybe 4pm) he was like no way, now how. So we asked another guy, because that's what you do here until you get the answer you want to hear. The second guy says, yep take this bus to Naindaime and then there will be a bus to Rivas on the way. Yes! We thought, sounds great. Hop on the bus and off we go. We are riding along and Kelly falls asleep, the girl can sleep anywhere and I'm just sitting waiting around to see where we get off to catch the bus to Rivas. All the sudden we pull over on the side of the road in no particular place where there's a bus stop but another bus behind us and the bus guy yells "RIVAS, RIVAS, RIVAS" and I thought, "huh? Rivas, oh Rivas, oh! That's us!" I turn to Kelly shake her up and am like "KELLY, RIVAS!" She looks at me and says "Yup, I'm up, I'm up." and we run off the bus to catch the bus behind us to Rivas.

If you ever have the chance to come to Nicaragua, do it and then ride the buses and you will understand when I say that the experience is much like what I imagine Harry Potter felt like when riding the "Night Express" bus. :)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Home S T R E T C H

Hola everyone! 

This post is in effort to raise $400 to keep me alive until I return home June 10, 2013. I think that it's incredible that I've been blessed to raise over $5,000 in living and program support, all which could have never been done without the support of family and friends. 

I want to tell you what these next 2 months look like for me so if you decide to donate towards my last couple of months you'll know what it's going towards :). 

Recently FSF Granada started doing workshops with all 4 teams, the theme is Sano yo, Sano mundo (healthy me, healthy world). The series will be done with the help of community organizations who will come to our activity time and teach the girls the importance of respecting ourselves (and others) and respecting the environment (and how the two can overlap). Our first workshop last week focused on nutrition, a local Saul, came from the Opportunity International School in Diriomo to get the girls thinking and energized about nutrition. This was followed by an activity where the girls did trivia, filled the food pyramid with paper food, saw presentations on different types of foods and planted a bean seed. All this toped off with a field trip to a mirador (view point) and a small hike (big for some!) to enjoy nature and time together.

Some of the efforts that I will be making along side my co-coach Hassell are trying to establish little girls teams with in the school system. We've only had the chance play one game, which was a miracle, but at the least I hope to leave the program with lasting relationships that will move the Mariposa Jr. team in a direction where they have games regularly. So the next two months will be serious community outreach, leading gym classes and taking the girls to schools during recess time to get them moving! 

My second half of the year in Granada has been much different than the first in both good and bad ways but overall this year has taught me so many valuable things. One of which being that community outreach is so fun! And that if I lead in Spanish than I can certainly lead in English...that building strong relationships is the key to community and encouraging others...that encouragement is priceless... that you can dream big and achieve big...that things like poverty, abuse, discrimination and depression are things that are so real but so are things like love, encouragement, justice and kindness...that you don't really know how strong your faith is in God until you are put in a place where you know no one and nothing of that place...that a group of 7-9 yr. olds can teach you many things about your character that help you change... and lastly you never know where you'll end up so stop stressing about where you're going and just live. 

I'm excited to see where the next two months leads Hassell, the Mariposa Jrs and I as well as looking forward to going home. Some days are great and others can be draining, living in a different culture now for almost a year but everyday I'm thankful that I get to be here. I have a new adventure all set for the summer, in Portland, OR with a family I worked for prior to coming to Nicaragua and the prospect of graduate school in the fall at UW Tacoma for Social Work. Many things to be excited about and I don't think it will hit me until my last day here how much I'll miss Nicaragua but I know God's already preparing my heart. 

Thank a thousand times over for those who have supported me throughout this journey, financially, prayers, thoughts and encouragement. If you have more questions about what I've been doing here in Nicaragua over the past year you can call me at (206) 792-9771 or Skype me :) Madymoo1 or email me madeliene.hernandez@gmail.com your donations are appreciated, too! 



Friday, April 12, 2013

El Jardín

This is sort of a follow up on my last post, in a way, because these are the women I met in Costa Rica who happened to be in Managua, Nicaragua this week. Managua is a short trip north for me and so how could I not go see them?! (left to right) Bleu, April, Sarah, Ashley, Hannah and me. These women are the ones who are working on developing a program in Jacó to help women victims of the prostitution industry of Costa Rica. Maybe I said this before but this is the first time in my life that I've seen the type of pain and hurt that is in the world. 

I met them at a place called El Jardín which is a ministry that teaches women about Christ and also teaches them a skill like jewelry making or sewing. The ministry leads a 90 to 120 day program and I happened to go on the day of a group's graduation...

There were 12 women this particular day that had completed the program. Each woman receives enough money for 1 month to start their own business using the skills that they had gained. I was told that some of these women are victims of abuse, some have sold themselves on the streets, others were addicts or alcoholics or have sold their own children to the streets. What they focused on this day though, that it's not their past that we focus on but that they are made new through Christ. I was so blessed to be there because His spirit was radiating out of each and every one of these women. I couldn't help but shed some tears as I heard them pour out their hearts...one of those moments where I was thinking, "Sometimes I wish I didn't understand Spanish." but immediately thought, "How lucky that I do, so I can hear the most moving things from these women!" And so cool to see families there supporting these women as they step into the world, in the hard situations of life and chose to live for God everyday. How empowering is that?! 

What's even crazier is that this program has only been in Nicaragua for 8 months! I didn't have a chance to talk to the directors at all, he and his wife were of course spending time with the women, celebrating but he's worked with women in Mexico, Honduras and Costa Rica. Nicaragua being the most successful program he's done because it's not a safe house but a day program that gives these women the tools and they have to decide when they go home daily to choose what to do. 

Hannah, Bleu, April and Sarah came to El Jardín to do research on the program as they move forward to start their program in Jacó. It's a dangerous endeavor because they will be dealing with pimps and sex trafficking operations. Sometimes when I hear them talking it sounds like a movie...but in the the past weeks God has been opening my eyes to the deepest, darkest things of this world...it makes it so hard not stay and immediately start working with them in Jacó (which they have asked me countless times to do, in the week that I've known them!) 

So cool how the opportunity to live in Nicaragua has revealed all the opportunities to help others here in Central America. Please pray for the women of El Jardín as they step out into the world with their new hearts and for the group of women from Jacó as they start their ministry! All these experiences again, just show the importance of human relationships and listening to the Lord as He plants things in your heart...such an incredible feeling.  

Friday, April 5, 2013

Solo travels and changed perspectives

Welcome to the Christian Surfers property in Jacó, Puntarenas, Costa Rica where my perspective on life totally took a 180. Before I left for Costa Rica I knew that God would change my heart in the biggest way. I think it can be easy sometimes for people to go to places like Nicaragua or even Costa Rica and miss the fact that behind the mask of tourism, fancy restaurants and street vendors that there are families hurting, struggling day to day. In Jacó I met Hannah Fletcher, her family and a myriad of different extranjeros (foreigners from the U.S.) who have given up the comfort of life in the U.S. to serve others  and share the gospel. 

Hannah has now lived in Jacó for 10 years, she went down there when she was my age and hasn't left since. It was amazing to see what her working alongside ministries in Jacó to build up the youth of Jacó in the name of Christ. Currently they are working on a project to help young girls in prostitution by identifying their spiritual gifts and encourage them to use these gifts in alternative options for work and life. To denounce their lives in prostitution and live a life where they have self-worth and respect for their bodies. 

I have noticed prostitution in Nicaragua but not to extent that there is in Costa Rica. On the bus ride down to Jacó I sat next girl who was 21 and had a 3 yr. old girl. She was so nice and we had good conversation all the way down...she made me laugh because she told her daughter that I couldn't speak Spanish but really I just couldn't understand the Costa Rican accent! They sound Italian. She sensed my preoccupations of where I was going, I had no phone to call Hannah and no real direction of where I was staying. She offered to let me use the phone of her daughter's babysitter once we got into town. I accepted but thought it was odd that she was dropping her daughter off at a sitter because she had things to do at 8pm at night. We got to the house, called Hannah and walked to the place where I was being picked up. The girl waited with me and I ask her if she had a job there in Jacó her reply was "más o menos" It was at that moment that I realized that the sweet girl that helped me navigate was a victim of the prostitution industry. 

This experience alone made me decide that in whatever I end up doing in the future needs to be done for the glory of God, to serve and love people who believe they have no existence, that have no self-worth. Can you imagine how different your life would be if your family sold you into prostitution? Or if you were "just another mouth to feed?" The experiences that I have while being in Central America is that my life is not about the amount of money I make or the career that I have, for me it's about glorifying God who created me, to use the gifts and passions He's given me to help others. 

One thing that I love most about working for Soccer Without Borders is that I get to work with the youngest group of girls who are less likely to have been exposed to these sorts of discriminations. I try my best to not be naive, there are definitely cases of unimaginable things happening to very young girls here but my focus is always to encourage my girls and to love on them, so that they know they always have a place of refuge at Soccer Without Borders and it's fun! 

The changed perspective that I have is that my mind is set on how everything can be turned outwards to help others instead of inwards to help ourselves. I want to thank everyone who has helped me love and encourage others! Two and 1/2 more months of Nica life, although I believe God has many more years down here planned for me!