As the days went on, the political climate got worse--peaceful protests turned to violent riots, injuries turned to deaths--and we began to realize the gravity of the situation. This realization hit a climax on Sunday as we drove home from church up the road that we usually drive several times a day. Remains of tires were still smoldering on the road where protesters had lit them on fire the night before, lines of panicked people circled around gas stations and stores trying to get gas and food, a lone protestor stood on the side of the road wearing a black mask and waving a flag. Several people were leaving stores with empty bottles of water, evidence that there was no more available. And so, I started to freak out a little. I ran into an overcrowded gas station to try to pull cash out of an ATM, but all 3 of the ATMs were empty. We came back home and started filling jugs with water from our shower and assessing our real food situation (enough pancake batter for weeks, but not much else). And I started kicking myself… why hadn’t I been more prepared? Stupid optimism. I should just always assume the worst. I spent the rest of that day feeling like we were in a crappy situation and it was all my fault.
Anxious to stock up on supplies, my neighbor, Jared, and I made plans to go to the grocery store on Monday morning. When we arrived at the first store, it was still closed and we were told it would be opening an hour or two late because they were still cleaning up from the chaos the day before and stocking their very empty-looking shelves. We tried a second store, and when we arrived the parking lot was already full. There were no lines out the doors, but long lines had already begun to form to checkout. My initial impulse was to throw everything I saw into my cart and elbow people to get to the checkout line, but as I looked around the store, a calm came over me. People were giving each other hugs, smiling, letting others pass in front of them. Several times food items from my overflowing cart fell onto the floor and people next to me stopped to pick them up. As we stood in the checkout line and waited for about 45 minutes, we made friends with a woman in front of us who told us about her house being threatened by intruders with rocks the night before, but still was able to laugh with us and encourage us. We also befriended a college-aged man behind us who gave us his realistic but hopeful take on the political situation, and even taught us some new words in Spanish. Jared commented many times, “Everyone is so calm!”
|Our view from our spot in line near the back of the store|
I was able to buy a cart full of food, replenish our water supply, and get cash out of the ATM--all very important things for my need to feel prepared, but more importantly this trip to the grocery store renewed my hope in our current situation and also my faith in humanity. I deeply love Nicaraguans and seeing their calm in the storm at the grocery store reminded me of their strength and resilience. This trip to the store was also a very real reminder that even though I think it is all up to me to be prepared and problem solve and make a plan, but it really isn’t up to me at all. God consistently cares for us in the details every day in all situations. Thank God, because if it were all up to me, we could be waterless, moneyless and eating pancakes for weeks!
***We recognize that the ability to stock up on food, water, gas, and cash is an absolute privelege that the majority of Nicaraguan families do not possess due to huge socio-economic disparities. These last days of chaos have been MUCH more harmful to those with less means and options in our community, so please remember this as you think of us and read our stories. We have a lot.
Thank you to those of you who have been praying for Nicaragua and our family!
Update from today (Tuesday) borrowed from a friend’s (Liam Starkenburg’s) Facebook wall: Yesterday (Monday), hundreds of thousands of Nicaraguans gathered to march for justice and peace. The march was positive and peaceful, and the outlook for today and the rest of the week is MUCH better than it was last weekend. Businesses, grocery stores and gas stations are open as normal and the panicked crowds have subsided. We're praying that it will remain stable throughout the day today, with hopes of starting to ease our way back into school soon!
Please continue to pray for peace, as well as that the dialogue needed to resolve some major issues in this country will happen soon and on good terms
Recent update on Tuesday afternoon: School will be back in session tomorrow! Students have been invited to wear black, honoring the deceased, or white, in hopes of continued peace for Nicaragua.