We have made it safe and sound! This morning we left Houston and very nearly missed our flight to Managua due to problems with United Airlines International check-in chaos. For unknown reasons, our line took us over an hour to get through. When we got to the front, we found that people from adjacent lines were taking our available check-in kiosk and being the polite people we are, no one said anything. I very nearly grabbed the women with 4 family members who brazenly stepped ahead of Pam...however, putting her in a hammer lock and dragging her to the ground seemed a bit much. So we complained instead, and got put to the next available kiosk...which told us it was too late to check in for our flight... more voice raising ensued, and we made it to the gate as they were boarding. Whew!
Managua is lovely, and beautiful Paola and her burly brother Jaime were waiting to whisk us away from the airport. We spent several hours at a wonderful outreach program providing a much needed medical clinic, along with community outreach education on health promotion, The poverty here is astounding; it is the 2nd poorest country in Central America (right after Haiti); domestic violence and teen pregnancy are rampant, few people get through high school. The Manna program has 12 year long interns from American Universities who volunteer to teach and take on projects. It was fun to watch these young adults in action with a class on asthma and the respiratory system for 9 young high school students from the community.
We were then taken to our beautiful hotel, where we met up the TJ for dinner and heard all about his job flying medical emergency patients who would otherwise need to suffer through grueling 8-10 hour car rides to the nearest hospital. He was so articulate, with an amazingly good head on his shoulders for someone in their late 20s. He had flown in Africa for 6 years, and wanted to go "somewhere no one else wanted to go to" and so wound up here. He also arranges for a doctor or dentist to fly out to remote villages to provides care on a more regular basis than would otherwise be feasible.
Take care all of you! Send me an e-mail so I can catch up with the goings on back home.