Just a note before introducing my next volunteer experience in Nicaragua with the same group I went to Africa with – Water for People.
While waiting at the airport for the flight to Managua I reminisce on these last few weeks of my busy, fulfilling, sometimes scary, never boring return to Costa Rica, before I leave on the next volunteer adventure. The heat has been overwhelming. Hottest dry season on record, but it hasn’t been dry. This should prepare me for the 100 degree weather we’ll be experiencing in the northern desert areas of Nicaragua, Our road is in the process of reconstruction (always done during dry season), but because it’s been raining almost every other day, the road has become a death trap and I get caught in its web. It reminds me of the ‘olden days’ 15 years ago when we were building our house in such a primitive area there were no electricity, paved roads and few cars.
I’m at the beach with the family looking out at the horizon watching heavy black rain clouds build. My stomach muscles tighten. Better get home before the rain starts, otherwise we won’t make it up the hill. Two minutes of heavy rain on the already graded yet still ungraveled clay road and it becomes a slushy slidy mess. We throw stuff into the two cars and gather up the kids, but it’s taking too long. The cloud gathers black quickly and heads our way. I’m in the lead as the giant droplets splatter the windshield. I turn onto the steep road, engage four wheel drive and gun it. The tires begin gathering mud the steeper the grade, but I’m still moving forward. The tires start spinning as my forward motion slows. I gear down. The car starts slurring sideways, slows, stops, reverses direction. No brakes. With no time to panic I gracefully slide backwards, picking up speed (too bad it’s in reverse). I look into the rearview mirror in time to see the side of the mountain hurtling towards me. Crash! My heart thuds in my chest. “Oh my God!” I sit totally stunned. I could have been dead! One little turn of my wheels and I would have gone off the cliff on the other side of the road.
I climb out into sucking mud to survey the damage and see the family’s car rounding the bend. Thank God they’ve seen me and stopped. The whole back end is contracted like an accordion, but I’m still in shock and feel okay so far. We’ll have to check for the rest of the damage later. They pile out of their car gather the things they need and meet me to start the squishy trek up to the house. Nicole and I take off our shoes which have become heavy with clotted mud and each grab a bag. Baby Luka’s on daddy’s back. Eight-year-old Sebas’s having the time of his life sliding into the ditches, jumping into puddles, covering himself in red clay. He’s delighted, “This is the most fun I’ve had all week.”For every two steps up we slide back one. After an excruciatingly slow slog up the hill we arrive safely home exhausted and covered in mud.
In the morning, after the sun has had a couple of hours to dry things out, Jose and Nicole go down to retrieve the cars and return with both. Though mine is squished enough to make the back doors inoperable it still runs. Life is pretty stressful as I try to get ready for my Nicaragua trip. The next week it rains almost every night. This stops the road crew from putting rock down and me from getting home, Luckily I can stay at Bob’s who’s only a mountain away. With his help we put the squished car into the body shop to be repaired while I’m gone. This morning Bob’s caretaker drives us to the airport and here we sit waiting for our delayed plane to Managua.
Here it comes. Bob and I are off to our next adventure. Tune in.