Located on the Pan-American Highway about 90 miles north of capital city Managua, Estelí is Nicaragua’s third largest city, and one of four cities in Nicaragua where Habitat focuses it’s mission. Surrounded by forested mountains, Estelí has a pleasant climate most of the year, and we were grateful for it. A slight breeze and cooler temperatures ease our very physical labor.
On any Global Village build the middle of the week represents the halfway point in our work. Our bodies are now talking to us in new ways, “Um, excuse me, but these muscles have been dormant a long time and you want me to mix ten more bags of concrete today?” It’s a workout! Although everyone on the team is active at home, our regular jobs are as a landscaper, nurses and a doctor, business executives, retirees and parents. Most of us are more accustomed to thinking on our feet than we are to bending rebar on our feet.
Mid-week also means everyone on the team is starting to feel like family. We’re growing attached to the folks we see everyday at our worksites and to the jobs we do. We’re developing a comfortable familiarity with each other and with our surroundings. Laughter is a daily part of our routine, as normal as eating and sleeping.
Speaking of daily routines, ours is filled with abundance, both here as volunteers and at home. We eat three meals a day with seconds if we want. We drink bottled water that’s free of disease-causing bacteria and microbes. We sleep at night on a mattress in an air-conditioned room with indoor plumbing and hot running water to get clean. We have machines to do our laundry, to tell us the time, to refrigerate our food, to entertain us at any hour.
When put into perspective, it’s a privilege to help someone enjoy a better life, one that we might too easily take for granted. Gratefulness grows here.