Crowded streets and traffic were replaced by winding roads and horses, as we made our way to Ruby Ranch. It was almost impossible not to stare in awe at the scenery that surrounded us.
We arrived at Ruby Ranch and received a disclaimer from Krista Farrington who warned us that, “It’s the dry season, so even if it’s hot and all the trees are dry, pretend that it’s beautiful and like you are having fun.” We definitely did not have to pretend. Maybe it’s the fact that in Miami all we see is towering green palm trees, but there was something so striking about the dried leaves on the ground and the barren field. And as for the heat, it made us enjoy the water slide that much more.
The kids arrived, and immediately we were greeted by big smiles and eager faces. After a quick rules session, in order to prevent children from riding bikes down the sides of mountains and getting kicked by horses (yes there were horses!) it was time to start the day. Whether it was jumping on/breaking trampolines (oops), swinging on the swings, playing fútbol, riding horses, or going down the zip line, there wasn’t a dull moment. After lunch, we spent the rest of the afternoon going down the water slide… get ready for the endless GoPro footage of kids trying to hold the camera while sliding down, all while trying not to get water up their nose.
They say time flies when you’re having fun; never has that statement held more truth. Our hearts dropped when we heard Chris Farrington say, “It’s almost time for the kids to go so say your final goodbyes.” And so we gave hugs, hugs, and more hugs. We all huddled up trying to squeeze in as many last minute pictures as we could. Encouragement and goodbyes were given in broken Spanish and the exaggerated use of hand gestures. The dreaded moment came, and the children boarded the bus to return to Club Esperanza. They crowded the bus windows as we ran up to hold their hands one last time. The bus started down the road and we followed, this is when the water works began. Tears flooded our faces as the thought of possibly never seeing these children again resonated inside us. We circled in prayer not only to pray for these children, but also to thank God for the opportunity we had to impact these children and be impacted by them as well.
We recollected ourselves and began on the trek toward the cross on the mountain. Despite steep inclines and loose dirt, nothing, not even a broken foot (with the help of Freddy because he’s a baller – Katia) would stop us from getting to the chapel. Finally, we reached the top where our breath was taken away by the remarkable beauty around us. No matter where we looked, there were mountains and the wind rustled the leaves in the trees. In the midst of all the emotions we had just experienced, there was an overwhelming sensation of peace.
At one point in the day I looked down on the dry ground and saw a single bright yellow flower. Through out the course of the day, I didn’t see any more. After the children left, as we climbed the mountain I looked at the ground again and saw small yellow petals along the way. This stood as a reminder that no matter the circumstances here in Nicaragua, God’s presence is here and will never leave. Like a flower on dry ground, God is a light in this nation.
Besitos y Abrazos,
Kaylee and Katia