Last night after a long day of travel, we arrived at my sister Anne’s house. We had originally planned to arrive two and a half weeks from now for a short two week visit with our families before the second semester, but now we find ourselves here early, trying to process all that has happened in Nicaragua during the past 7 weeks. Here is an article that summarizes the events because I know for the most part it hasn’t been televised on US news
When the protests first began, we prayed that they would be short lived and that all sides could find a satisfactory agreement so that we could return to normal life. However, as the weeks went on it became apparent that this was not going to happen. Depending on the current situation, we had many days of cancelled school and lots of half days of school. The area of Managua where we live and go to school has mostly been unaffected, but because many of our students and teachers come from within the city, having half days of school allowed them to get back home before the protests or violence began in the afternoon.
For safety reasons we have mostly stayed at home and only gone out to go to school, church, the grocery store, and friends’ houses who live close by. We have ventured into the city a few times, but only after consulting with others about where protests, roadblocks, or violence are happening. During the first few days of cancelled school, we did “homeschool” with some of the other American families who live in our neighborhood. I taught Spanish writing and reading, Jared taught PE, and our other neighbors taught art, science, and a few other subjects. Eventually our school starting sending work home by e-mail on the days we didn’t have school, so our kids worked on that in the mornings and enjoyed playing with our neighbors in the afternoon. I’ve also had to send home online work for the class I teach, so I’ve been busy planning those lessons. During this time, we’ve relied heavily on the other missionary families in our area for emotional support. Getting together for dinner to discuss the situation and let our kids play together allowed us to realize we weren’t alone even when we weren’t able to do our normal jobs and activities.
A few weeks ago, NCA International (not our school) decided to finish their school year online so that their North American teachers could head back to their home countries. Since they only had a few weeks left in the school year, it was a good decision for them, but our school still had about 6 weeks left in the semester and continued to attempt to have classes. This was a difficult time for us because many of our neighbors and friends left the country, but we felt that we should stay because we weren’t in danger as long as we stayed away from certain areas of Managua, we still had our responsibilities to our school, and our kids still had school (sometimes).
We continued in this pattern of uncertainty for another week and felt that we had started to settle into a new “normal,” but about a week ago the situation started to get worse. Because the police have been so involved in the crisis, crime and violence started to increase and become more random and widespread. Last Monday our school made the decision to finish out the semester online, and we felt that it would be best for us to try to leave Michigan early. We were able to get our flights changed for free and began to prepare to leave. Jared worked hard to make sure to leave money to pay our bills while we are gone, but all of the ATMs he tried were out of money. Thankfully our landlords understand the situation and are willing to let us pay our rent later.
Now that we are in Michigan we have a lot of mixed emotions. Relief that we are in a safe place. Happiness that we get to spend extra time with our families and friends and participate in many events that we usually miss out on. Guilt that we left our Nicaragua colleagues and friends and that they don’t have the option to leave. Sadness because we miss our Nicaragua friends. Fear because we don’t know what is going to happen in Nicaragua. Uncertainty because we don’t know what the future holds for us.
Please pray for us during this time and most of all for the people of Nicaragua. Pray for a solution to the crisis and an end to the violence.