Williams vacations as missionary to Nicaragua
Kay Williams and her granddaughter, Kayla Herren, were invited to join the extended Jones family on a mission trip this year to Managua, Nicaragua.
On Saturday, July 15, 27 people (12 between 7-15 years-of-age) flew from Houston to Managua. After going through customs and locating their luggage, they boarded the 1987 'Blue Bird' school bus and bumped and bounced to the Buzbee Mission Camp. The dorm quarters had bunk beds, a small mirror, a sink, and a toilet that was not supposed to flush paper. The showers were cold-water; there was no hot water anywhere. "But, we adjusted and were glad to have clean water," said Williams. At the Buzbee's, the water was drinkable.
The main building had a thatched roof, tile floor, small kitchen and a large eating area. "We ate rice with beans, rice with other things, and lots of fresh pineapple, mango, papaya, and some gormet dishes," said Williams. "The cooks - Mike, his wife, and their two children - had sold their award-winning restaurant in Bend, OR, to work for the Buzbees in Managua. We ate well."
On Sunday, Kay, Kayla and the others attended a church service that included a band, dancers, spirited singers and lots of clapping. Most of the Jones group could not speak Spanish.
After lunch, they got their first culture shock when they viewed "The Dump."
"We could not believe it. The city of Managua itself is very dirty with garbage lying almost everywhere, but, the Dump is worse," said Williams. "Approximately 2,500 people live there. When garbage trucks unload, the kids run out from everywhere and dig. Little old ladies dig through the garbage with sticks. Animals were everywhere; skinny dogs, hens with chicks, pigs, Brahma cattle, skinny horses. Huge black vultures fly around and land in bunches. The air was smokey from the burning trash. Because of the Dump, I now believe that plastic is the curse of the earth."
"We walked through the trash to the current shelter of Juan and his family of four children. The Jones' group was there to build a new home for them in a nearby village."
Jo 'Annie' Jones, Williams friend who invited her, said, "In retrospect, it was good that we went to the Dump first because that experience helped us realize the villages were not good, but not this bad. The Dump homes were a frame barely covered with scraps of metal and remnants of wood."
"Most of us cried as we took it all in," Williams said. "The Buzbee family is there daily. Their daughter checks on families with babies and small children so that they have milk and other necessities. Babies are being born there, and I don't know how any of them survive."
"The group met Ileana on Sunday at the Dump. She is a 13-year-old who was sold into prostitution at 10 and now has AIDS. Her parents recently moved away from the dump, but Ileana and a younger sibling ran away to come back. Ileana seems to be happy there.
"We met Ruby, the "Mother Theresa" of the Dump at her home next to the Dump. Ruby is a four-foot tall woman with lots of compassion. She quizzed us on our knowledge of the Bible, played the guitar, led us in song, and prayed with us.
"There is a K-5 school in the Dump. The kids must be "clean and dressed," and somehow they are. Lunch is provided if they bring a plate or bowl. The morning school session eats and goes home after lunch, and the afternoon groups eats and begins school. The school is sponsored by Americans at about $1,400 a month.
There is another school for grades 6-12 at the Dump, but it requires $150 per student per year. They depend on donations to help them get an education and a means to get out of the Dump.
"On Monday, we bussed to the village where we began building the house for Juan and his family who currently live at the dump. The sturdier people trenched a foundation for the 60 pound cement blocks which form the first three layers of the walls. The ground inside the dwelling was leveled by the missionary workers. Juan's house will be divided into four rooms. There will be running water, probably from a hose, and there will be electricity for lighting.
"The Jones family women and younger kids held a Bible school with the village children. The language barrier sometimes interfered. Teaching the kids to play
baseball was confusing, but a thrill. Through many games, the village kids seemed very glad to be with the visitors.
"Some of the children in the village school were clean and dressed well, while most other children were not. They liked to see themselves in the screen of our digital cameras.
"Finding a "banyoo" (bathroom) at Juan's parents' home, we were shown their home. The backyard had a preformed cement sink and washboard combination used for laundry, bathing, and all other washing. Women don't need clothes pins, they hang their laundry on barbwire lines.
"We saw large groups of people riding in the back of pickups and even on top of the bus. Most people walk. The bus rides were wild and rough. Our driver drove on either side of the road to avoid potholes, horses and carts, oxen and wagons, other buses and pedestrians.
The Buzbee family has adopted several children from the Dump. Moses is 11 years old and interpreted for the builders. Hope was found by the Buzbees when she was two-pounds and nearly dead. With lots of care and prayer, she began eating and gaining strength. She is now a lovely 5-year-old.
"The Jones missionary group did not have much to bring back on the flight home," said Williams. "We left most of what we brought - school supplies, baby supplies, items for Juan's family and new home, and even our clothes.
"The people really had nothing to compare to our standards, yet they wanted to share what they had. Juan's parents let us use their outhouse and showed us their home. They gave us treats and asked us to sit with them."
"I really don't know who gained the most from this trip - the Nicaraguans or us. We went to be Jesus' hands and feet, and they showed us Jesus."