Today is the first day in a new community!
San Jose de Mula was an 8-hour drive from the capital Managua, so we departed at 6 am. We made a few stops for gas and a stop for lunch on the way. Every gas station had a store just like your regular gas station, except security guards stood by the door and everything was in Spanish.
We ate at a gas station surrounded by fried chicken and fast food restaurants. Conveniently, a chef from AMOS already prepared food: Salad, rice and beans, and chicken. It was also blazing hot probably in the 90s. After lunch, we continued our then 7-hour journey to San Jose.
As one could imagine, a 7-hour ride is really long, yet we made the best of it. Passing by we could see grassy mountains, hills, and acres of farmland. We also rode through concrete, cobblestone, and dirt roads. Sometimes cattle crossing and road construction took place. With all these road conditions and scenery, it’s clear we were heading to a rural area!
At around 4pm, we arrived at the San Jose clinic. As we were backing into a parking space next to the clinic, we were greeted instantly by an ecstatic crowd of children, adults, and a mariachi band. We all entered the porch of the clinic for a welcome service. A religious leader of the community greeted us, prayed, and read scripture. He told us that it was an answer to their prayers to see such people eager to help this community, one that is impoverished.
After the service, a mariachi band came in to play some songs. We listened as they were singing and playing ranchera music with their guitars and sombreros. At some point, one of the singers came out dancing and invited others to join him. Then people from our group gradually accompanied him on the floor.
After such a wonderful welcoming, we chose a place to unpack our things. There was a choice between staying in the clinic, a home, or school. While the school was closest to the clinic, the homes were located further away. The men in our group unfortunately were housed farthest away while the women stayed at the clinic, school, and a house nearby.
A colleague and me got a room in the clinic. The walls and floors were cemented and there laid a poster displaying daily community activities. Unpacking things was challenging because the rooms had no light and space was tight. But we made it work. First, we set up cots, wires, and paperclips. Next, we hung our mosquito nets on the wire and made sure the nets covered the bottom of our cots. Last, we tied up a flashlight to the rope. This whole ordeal took us maybe a good hour most.
After unpacking, we went to the patio to eat dinner. The kitchen was right next to our rooms. Everyone in our group near and far gathered at a table on the patio for dinner. Two chefs cooked some rice and beans with fruit juice. After dinner, we prepped for tomorrow. At this point, I am very excited because we will venture out and visit homes!
San Jose is a rural community located well high and deep in the mountains. The climate is still as humid as on lower altitudes (90 degrees I would estimate). The roads are muddy in some areas and horse remains one of the means of transportation.