Monday, April 4, 2011

Missionary Misconceptions

Peter's cousin Laura Jean has been doing missionary work (with her sister, husband, and daughter along for the ride) down in Nicaragua for the last 9 months or so.

She is a minister by profession, so I'm fairly certain that this is not quite as crazy a thing to do as it might sound.

But my mind has had a few little grappling issues as to what, exactly, their living conditions are like.

When she first told me about doing all this, I was absolutely convinced she was going to be living in a small mud hut very truly in the middle of the middle of nowhere.

(Ever read The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver? Good book, and EXACTLY the image that "missionary work in Nicaragua" brought to my mind.)

Well, turns out they're not quite that remote. In fact, I hear they even live in something resembling a house in the city with such luxuries as flush toilets and internet.

Ok, I don't actually know whether they have flush toilets. I'm pretty sure they have indoor plumbing. And they DO have internet. I've even managed to Skype with them inside of their not-a-hut dwelling.

Quinn taking a bucket bath.
(It had walls, I saw them!)

However, they also have no hot water from their potentially indoor plumbing, and subsequently bathe little Quinn in a bucket with water heated on the stove.

(Well, I'm assuming they have a stove, since I KNOW they actually cook food. Although I suppose they just as easily could have something as newfangled as a microwave. Or like, a bonfire with a spitted goat in the front yard.)

((Have I mentioned they were vegetarians prior to this adventure?))

But the capital city which they're in has internet cafes, cars, crime, and the newest personal discovery (meaning I read LauraJean's facebook status and it was in regards to doing stuff beyond battling wild howler monkeys and almost being eaten by alligators): a zoo!

Now admittedly, despite having been convinced of the presence of McDonald's and internet, I was still fairly certain that to view live animals all one did was go drive around in the car until you drove over a sleeping alligator or got attacked by howler monkeys.

(Central America has alligators and howler monkeys, right??)

But apparently Nicaragua has all sorts on interesting and unique "small mammals" (LauraJean is so good, I would have merely termed them "large hairy looking rodents"), including some interesting coloring varieties of squirrels.

However this also could present a problem.

As these were creatures seen at a zoo and presumably contained inside some sort of cage and all, they very well might not be running rampant through the streets and into the houses.


On the chance that A) I convince Peter to let me take his little girls to go visit a third world country and B) find sufficient funds to finance such an adventure, there could be some potential complications with me unexpectedly finding some "unique small mammals" hanging out in that bucket I'm about to use to bathe my children in.

Any guesses on how loud I can scream "AHHHHHH RABID MUTANT SQUIRREL!!" while chasing it with a broom?

Let me tell you, it would be nothing compared to my reaction of finding this little Nicaraguan native by my sandal-wearing feet.


  1. The picture n the bottom didn't show up originally for me, so I clicked to open it in a new tab, blissfully unaware. Now I'm going to be paranoid about my exposed ankles all day. Thanks.

  2. I don't have hot water right now either...its lukewarm. I know thats not the same, but I really miss hot water...