Have you ever locked your keys in the car? It’s really never at a convenient moment, but I think maybe one of the worst times is when your family of six is at the airport curb, ready to leave the country, and your passports and suitcases are still inside.
Yep. That’s how we started our first family mission trip to Nicaragua! And if you are thinking, “Surely, things will get better…” You should probably go read our vacation story from last year which, oddly enough, also involved locking keys in the car as well as a broken foot, broken tooth, broken toe, a closed theme park, and swimming in raw sewage. (We don’t make a habit of swimming in sewage, in case you were wondering. We save that for special occasions.)
Our flights were fairly uneventful, aside from when they took our most important carry-on bag from us. (It was the one with all the technology we need for the ministry, as well as the money we had already exchanged for Cordobas.) Oh – and the Wendy’s in the Houston airport was out of baked potatoes and I had to eat french fries. Not that I’m bitter or anything.
We did finally arrive in Managua, Nicaragua. Our friends were waiting for us and we only had to get our luggage, clear Customs, and find them. Unfortunately, both Customs and the luggage inspectors weren’t quite sure of us. Apparently, two 40-somethings traveling with 4 teens and 11 suitcases seems nefarious. Maybe it was because I snapped this picture before Allen informed me that no pictures are to be taken in this part of the airport. Oops.
After they walked Allen out to find our friends to verify our story, called in several people to ask us questions, and did a lot of paperwork, we were able to get our luggage, which was then inspected. Twice. We were finally allowed to leave the airport at 9 pm.
It took 2 trucks and quite a few friends, but we got the 6 of us and all our luggage to our “home away from home” in Diriamba, Corazo. We are staying in the second house of the Mayor of Diriamba. I will say more about him later because he is the kindest, most thoughtful and humble man and we are thankful to be counted among his friends. But for now, I’ll just tell you that the hurricanes of the past months flooded this house and ruined all his furniture. We knew this and our team planned ahead, having cots and an air mattress waiting for us. We even found out that the Mayor had installed a window A/C unit just for us! This Arizona girl was seriously excited about that news!
However, it was very late when we arrived “home”, and the power had gone out. This meant no air conditioning, but it also made it difficult to inflate the “Self-Inflating Air Mattress”. We decided to take turns blowing. We each blew until we felt faint, at which point the other would take over. We got it up to about 2 inches high before we passed out. (Not really. We’re just quitters.)
Deciding to sleep on it “as is”, we crawled on. This is when I discovered that my legs weigh far less than my head and every time Allen moved – my legs would “jump up in the air like they just did not care”. This led to jokes about the hokey pokey and I had a strong urge to turn our bed around. It was at this point we realized it was useless to try to sleep like that because we were laughing too hard.
We ditched the mattress, put the blanket on the cool tile floor near the open door, hoping to catch a breeze, and tried hard to sleep. Just as we were finally drifting off, around 3 am, the power, and every light on the property, turned on.
Party at the Mann’s! We had air conditioning AND an inflated bed! Who could ask for anything more??? And in just a few hours we would start a new day and we were excited about the ministry opportunities! Plus, maybe our adventures would be… less adventurous! One can always hope!