The Life of Liz

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. ~Anne Frank

Sunday, January 30, 2011

And Then I Fell Down

On Being an Idiot:

So this weekend was the Annual Conference for every Methodist Church in Nicaragua.  It’s a pretty big deal, especially since on Saturday they ordained the first Nicaraguan clergy (which was super awesome!).  The event required formal wear and I was informed that I would need either a traje de noche – a night suit – which is not pajamas as the name might suggest but rather a fancy dress.  Guess who does not have a fancy dress? Guess who did not bring any heels? I ended up borrowing a skirt from Nancy Eubanks, the main consultant/coordinator for UMVIM (basically my boss).  I suppose I should mention, for the sake of your being able to adequately picture this situation, that Nancy is somewhat more advanced in year than I.  That being said, her skirt was very cute on me and I’m very sorry to have to return it!
And thus it was, while I was waiting for Nancy to arrive with some clothes, I ended up having breakfast with the president and vice-president of the entire Nicaraguan Methodist Conference in my Little Miss Sunshine pajamas.  It’s truly hard to contain this much awesome.

On Falling Down:

I nearly fell down the other night.  I had just come out of the shower and had taken off my shower shoes to put on my jammie pants when I realized I needed something from across the room.  Instead of carefully putting my flip flops back on, I rather stupidly opted instead for putting them half on and promptly falling over.  I have hurt my index toe most profoundly.

On Probreza:

Since everyone involved in the food distribution project (both in the States and here in Nicaragua) and all the other community projects were, for once, all in the same room, if afforded a great opportunity to review what has been accomplished and what are the needs and priorities going forward.  We talked through the food project (my main job) and some other ideas the Nicaraguan church has for the future. 
One of the ideas is to create a mobile clinic to serve the various church communities.  At first I thought, cool idea, make it more convenient for people to have access to health care, and then I realized what they were actually talking about.  Have you ever had somebody tell you something so matter-of-factly that it takes several minutes to understand that you have just heard the most shockingly appalling thing ever?  What they want to create isn’t really a clinic, it’s a dispensary.  While there are many clinics all around Nicaragua where you can go in and get a prescription, there is no medicine.  For example, if you have a really high fever, you can easily go the doctor, but they don’t even have an aspirin to give you.   If you need surgery, the best thing you can do is pray. 

Seriously, there’s no medicine.  

The people I have met here are so kind and welcoming and filled with joy, I can hardly do them justice.  So it really surprised me when the reality of poverty cocked back and punched me in the face. 

On Singing:

My part in the conference, besides being a guest, was to perform a piece of music.  Nancy asked me some time ago if I would be willing to sing at the conference and I said sure, as long as it’s in English. Then she asked me to sing the Hymn of Promise, a song I’d never heard before, in Spanish.  Sure, said I, why not!  Looking back, it’s pretty funny because at no point had Nancy ever heard me sing, I’m not sure if she even knew I could!

I spent about a week learning the song (in Spanish, I still don’t know it in English) but didn’t really know what I was going to do to perform it as the accompaniment CD was in a key I couldn’t reach if I stood on a chair.  As it turned out, the VIM coordinator, Rigoberto, plays guitar – really quite well I might add.  He had one night to learn the song and transpose the chords to a key I could sing in.  We practiced together for, seriously, less than 15 minutes.  But I tell you what, we were awesome.  I mean we sounded really, really great.  The whole congregation joined in for the last verse and the swell of music in that room was one of the most beautiful things I’d ever heard.  It was my honor and privilege to sing such a lovely and meaningful song in memory of Sam Dixon and Clint Rabb (two leaders of UMCOR and the General Board of Missions who died in the Haiti earthquake) to whom the conference was dedicated.  And it was very special that Sam Dixon’s wife, Cindy, could be there with us. 

Thanks to Nancy for making me do it.


Mrs. Wallace January 30, 2011 at 8:29:00 PM MST  

On being an Idiot - I thought about recommending taking some nice clothes...not sure why I didn't...SORRY! But at least there's no charge for awesomeness!

On falling down - bwahahah...oh wait not laughing...awww you poor thing!

On Probreza - wow. there are no words

On singing - I'm so proud of you!!


Maeve's Momma January 31, 2011 at 2:17:00 PM MST  

That's crazy about the dispensary, I hope you guys can help with that! And way to go on the singing, pajama-wearing, etc. I really thought you were going to say you went to the event in your pajamas!

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A brand new mom trying to navigate the crazy world of mixed families, babies, and working full time. Phew! Just writing that makes me want to lie down.


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