When it Rains in Nicaragua

Written by Alex Applegate

It started when we were gathered around a computer watching ‘Dear John’ inside the church. Even though we had headphones in to hear the movie, the rain smacked off the metal roof above us and it sounded like fireworks.

The view looking down the church steps to our host family's house.
The view looking down the church steps to our host family’s house.

We had been winding down for the day, resting after another day of doing construction for the new kitchen. And that was third world construction. We mixed water and dirt with a shovel to make mud. We packed the mud in between homemade adobe bricks on our makeshift ladders of tree branches on rocks. We had done this for two months in Nicaragua’s dry season and not a single drop of rain had fallen from the sky since we had stepped foot in this country. And it was so hot.

That day had been particularly scorching. The air and sun hung onto us like a heavy winter coat and the humidity wrapped around our skin like a damp blanket.

We were nearing the end of our time in Nicaragua so the kitchen was almost completed. The walls were over our heads now so it was getting increasingly difficult to lift up the 30-pound adobe bricks to the top of the walls. But our tan arms were now significantly more toned.

So then, after lunch and cold Coke from our host family, we heard the rain.

We immediately pulled our headphones out and exchanged excited looks as we ran outside, not bothering with our shoes.

The rain fell in a steady rhythm, coating our hot faces and burnt skin. We were quickly joined outside by our host family and half the neighborhood. Everyone wanted to feel this refreshing rain on their faces. Everyone wanted to smell the damp air and feel the drops in their hands.

We all were dancing and shouting how we were so excited it was raining in our high school learned Spanish.

Then we just sat on the steps outside the church and let the rain hit us. Without flinching or trying to cover ourselves- just letting the fresh rain fall over us.

The next day, the massive, dead, brown fields had spots of green and the patiently waiting mango tree on the road had started to sprout fruit. When the mangos appeared ripe enough, my team and I spent too many afternoons throwing rocks at the tree hoping a mango would fall so we could eat it like an apple. Nicaragua had just been waiting for that first rain to show us all of its colors.

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