Initially, I thought today would be about our day in Granada, but it developed into something much more.
I knew the type of brotherhood we have is the only of its kind. It truly brings strangers close. Still, relying on your brothers and sisters for knowledge or advice about their homeland and their companionship just reinforces this point: the tender affection our brothers show for one another is unique to us. (Romans 12:10)
Hayling and Norlan, siblings from our congregation here in Managua, took us to Granada for the day.
We first met them at a local market, and then boarded a bus. Just an hour outside of the city ( felt much lengthier in the heat and the volume of speech on that bus from a man who was screaming with rice stuck on his chin…let’s just not talk about that, haha) lied a lush green landscape, and palm trees as backdrop to the buzzing city of Granada. The streets were calm and people were sparse. Brightly painted houses and horse carriages lined the curving streets.
I seen many beautiful homes, including a couple of pink ones I would have loved to live in. There was so much color! Just walking the streets really was such a treat.
They took us out to eat the city’s signature dish, Vigarón, yucca and fried pork skin with cabbage salad. Seeing that the dish included pork skin, I was grateful to find rice and beans on the menu. It was served with the best corn tortilla I have ever had, no exaggeration. Sometimes it seems the simplest dishes are the most delicious, and vegetarianism will not cause you to be left out of any delicious dining experience. Just be sure to take the time between bites to politely refuse sunglasses vendors, sketch artists, and even bird caller crafters. They don’t take no as an answer, and practically set up shop on your dinner table. It’s hilarious, and they have the ability to almost guilt you into buying things you really, really don’t need.
Next we went on a boat ride, where we toured 365 little islands. It was truly beautiful . The boat ride involved some splashing, but it was welcomed as we toasted in the sun. This was actually the area that was featured in the broadcasting about preaching in remote islands in Nicaragua, though the floating Kingdom Halls no longer exist. We encountered waves and to my surprise, monkeys! One was eating fruit. It was really cute, though I silently prayed one didn’t jump into the boat, because I would have tipped the whole boat over trying to get away.
After the tour, I parted from the group as they embarked on a bike ride around town, and enjoyed a cafe with a refreshment,WiFi, and thanks to the kind waiter, a fan just for me! Actually, I’m sure he seen my sweaty face and took pity, but I appreciated it so much. The day then ended with dinner, dessert, and a long bus ride home filled with conversation.
The tour and the beauty of the city were not at all the point, though I did love taking the time to enjoy the beauty of Jehovah’s creation with each of my senses. What was really appreciated was the love that Hayling and Norland showed us by taking an entire day to travel and spend time with us. The conversations we enjoyed is a reminder that love for Jehovah and tender affection for our brothers removes what could otherwise be cultural or linguistic barriers. Today, I was not serving in a foreign land, associating with “the local brothers”.
I was home with friends. Family, actually.
**Note: Thanks to Ariana and Gizelle for sending me pictures for recent posts. The camera on my phone conveniently stopped working after I got here.