As my time in Nicaragua comes to a close, I keep thinking of where I was at the beginning of this year and where I wanted to be, and where I am now, and I honestly couldn't imagine a better place. I'm asked constantly when I'm going to return, which makes me sad because I would love to return as soon as possible but also know that I probably won't live here again. At the same time, I'm looking forward to being back in my country and reconnecting with the people who I've been away from for so long.
I have been trying to think of how to thank Geralyn Sheehan, the Opportunity International director, the rest of the Opportunity team, and the community that started Biblioteca "Quiero Aprender Contigo" because they have all taught me more than I could have ever imagined. I have been challenged, frustrated, exhilarated, and incredibly blessed to have gotten involved in this project. Well, they beat me to it. Imagine my surprise on Wednesday when I went to one of the last Board of Directors meetings and found that community members, the Board of Directors, the entire Opportunity International staff, and school students were waiting in their classroom with a goodbye ceremony. Eva Maria, the President of the Board of Directors and the other members organized the entire ceremony, which was more than I could have ever asked for. Students danced folkloric dance, sang a song, read poems, and then presented me with beautiful gifts. Since the library organized a crafts class and a painting class, students from the painting class presented me with a painting that was done from the view of the school with the volcano Mombacho in the background and students from the crafts class presented me with a beautiful hand-crocheted bag. I was blown away by their generosity and their sincerity and only wish I could do something in kind.
I find myself sometimes reluctant to use the word blessing, because I come from pretty secular backgrounds, but I really do consider this year a blessing in my life.