Holly Wilkerson's Blog

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March 12, 2010 March 13, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — hollywilkerson @ 8:40 pm

Today started very early.  I had to get up pretty early in order to get all my things packed and ready to go before breakfast.  After breakfast we all met in front of the Mision to take a group picture.  We all then said our goodbyes and the twelve of us headed to Managua.  It was a smooth day as far as getting through customs and security.  I slept a little on the way to Managua and a little on the plane but not enough.  We had a little delay for the plane going to Houston.  After getting to Houston we didn’t have to sit in the terminal for long till our plane was ready to go to Little Rock.

The plane ride to Little Rock seemed quick.  When we got down to go get our luggage Susie (Daddy B’s secretary) and Papa (Mama B’s father) was there to meet us.  After we all got our luggage we started to leave and these two men came up to me.  I thought they were trying to sell me something, but they showed me their badge and proceeded to tell me that they were with the DEA and that the drug dog had sniffed my bag out and they needed to look in it to make sure there weren’t any narcotics in my bag.  They wanted me to follow them so we could go somewhere private so they could search my bag.  My first thought was that they were fake cops and they were taking me somewhere so very flustered and confused about what was going on, I turned to Papa and told him to go with me.  I was scared out of my mind.  They led us to the police station in Little Rock airport where they searched every part of my bag.  They didn’t find anything of course, but I was still shaking in my boots.  I did have some coffee from Jinotega so they thought maybe that was it.  After that escapade, we headed back to Searcy.  Even though I am extremely exhausted from the trip, it was a very rewarding and humbling experience with some precious people.


March 11, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — hollywilkerson @ 8:37 pm

So I realized yesterday how hard it is to put my feelings and emotions into words, but I am going to try…J  Yesterday was AMAZING.  After breakfast I went to a daycare/preschool with Chelsea, Alicia T., Sara Beth, Russ, and Maryella.  Here we gave out medicine to the children to keep them from getting parasites from the water.  When we first showed up the kids watched our every move.  Every one of them was precious.  Some even came up to us to get us to talk and play and play with them.  I felt an instant connection with some of the 4 year old boys.  We played around and made faces until it was time to start.  Starting with the 4 year olds, we called them up one by one.  The person in charge explained what the pill was, what it was for, and how to take it.  I then gave them the pill and they would drink water to wash it down then move on to the other girls to get their weight and height.  This group was pretty easy.  Moving on to the three year olds, we did the same.  Most of them did pretty well except for a few.  The taste started getting to them, but we got it done and moved on to the 2 and under group.  Here is where the trouble started.  First was a little girl, Mary.  She was a pudgy little thing.  As soon as the scale was laid on the floor she wanted on it.  After she was done the next one came, but Mary continued to want on the scale so I grabbed her and sat her in my lap and she sat there the rest of the time.  A couple of them did not get the medicine because they could not get it down.  It was hard to get them to do it because they were so young.  After we were finished, Mary got up turned to me, held out her arms, and ran to me for a hug.  I knew when this started I was in trouble.  She continued to do this and after awhile she laid her head on my chest.  This small pudgy child with curly hair quickly stole my heart.  After awhile we went outside with all the children, Mary tagged along.  While I was trying to talk to the other children (with Erica’s help), Mary continued to hold my hand.  When I would let go of her hand she would quickly return it.  It was very hard to leave because this was my first interaction with children this week and it was a great one.

After lunch I went to Madaguapa with Colette, Alicia T., Chelsea, Claire, Mike, and 3 translators.  It is about 45 minutes away from Jinotega.  In Madaguapa is a place where children are taken when they are malnourished or have a health problem.  When we walked in this beautiful little girl around two years old met us.  As we walked in, she touched each one of our hands like she was the greeter.   Most of the children are babies so we got to hold them and love on them.  The first child I held was a boy, but apparently he was very sick and I could not get him to stop so I gave him back to the nurses.  The next baby I held was a very round little girl with big brown eyes.  She was precious!  After sitting there for awhile, she fell asleep.  It was the sweetest thing and it was so rewarding.  I really felt like I got to see God working when we were here when I saw Mike take a child and put her in his lap.  For someone who is so orderly to get on a child’s level to make her smile and for him to have such a big smile on his face really touched me.  After having to part with these great kids, we had to head back to the Mision.

When we got back to the Mision, it was time for Maryella’s birthday party.  While we were waiting on the party to start some people that had gone to Casa Materna that day (the place we had been the day before to wash the pregnant women manicures) told me that 7 out of the eleven that were there the day had gone to the hospital to have their babies!  The room was all decorated with balloons and streamers.  After awhile everyone started showing up, and there ended up being around 125 people were present.  While the kids were playing games, most of us were just sitting around.  As I am sitting there talking to some people, this beautiful little girl comes up to me out of nowhere and grabs my hands and tells me her name.  Her name was Johanna so I told her my name and she continued to just stand there holding my hands and smiling.  I thought that maybe she was from the preschool from earlier that day because I recognized the name but she wasn’t.  So why she came up to me, I do not know.  I tried to communicate but that did not go very far.  Claire noticed that I was struggling so she came over to try to help but she wouldn’t talk to her.  Throughout the party she would come up to me and kiss me on the cheek and smile and then go back to her seat.  After we served all the guests’ dinner, we cut the massive cake.  The piñata was so much fun to watch.  It was a huge Minnie Mouse bigger than Maryella.  When the candy fell those kids would run frantically to get it.  During the party, Johanna came up to me and spoke English!  I mean she just said “Hello Holly.” and “How Are You?”, but it made me really excited.  After the party she came up and kissed my cheek and told me bye.  All week I have felt discouraged because I felt like I could not approach children because of the language barrier, but I really feel that God worked through this precious little girl to show me that it was ok.

After the party we had our meeting like we do every night, but last night it was different.  One difference was that we sang a lot, which I enjoyed very much.  There was a sense of peace with us all sitting in a circle singing these songs that mean so much to us.  Another difference was that we didn’t split up in groups to talk about our day, we shared them to everyone.  I loved this because it seemed like everyone had had a really good day and had seen God work in many ways like I had that day.

Today I had the chance to go to the Special School for special needs children after breakfast.  I was really excited because everyone else, who had already been, came back talking about how rewarding it was.  When we got there, Alicia T., Maryella, and I were put into a classroom with about 6 children.  Meg, Laura, and Erica went to another classroom.  I was a bit worried/frustrated because I knew I would not be able to communicate with the teacher or the students.  So I did the best I could by playing with them.  At one point a teacher came into the room and a child, Fernando, ran out.  There is a gate all around the school but I still did not want him to get hurt.  So I chased after him with no help from the teachers so when I saw Erica I got her to help me because of my lack Spanish speaking skills.  Of course he thought it was a game, but we finally got him back to the classroom it was time for break.  At this point I was frustrated.  All the kids came to play outside.  One group that came out were precious.  As soon as they saw us, they came up to hug and kiss us.  Because there was only one slide the kids were fighting and arguing constantly so we had to referee, which is not easy when you don’t know Spanish.  I latched on to a few of the smaller children but again conversation was limited and they soon had to leave.  Flor seemed to have a real connection with the deaf children.  They all loved her and she seemed to love getting to learn more sign language.  Since school dismisses at twelve, we headed back to the Mision for lunch.  When we left, I was very discouraged because I felt that I had not received the same experience as everyone else had.  I don’t know if I had my expectations too high or if I was overly concerned about the children getting hurt or what.  Now some of the children we amazing and so sweet, but I didn’t get that special feeling like I had the day before at the preschool.

During lunch Alicia T., Alicia M., Jessica and I went down the street to the clothing store to look around.  After lunch I headed back to the pharmacy at the clinic.  I was not assigned a translator which means it was a very quiet afternoonJ.  Bless his heart he tried very hard to make some conversation but it was not enough for me to understand and to answer back.  The clinic closed at for so I headed back to the Mision to get ready for dinner and church.  Dinner was amazing!!!  We had fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and corn.  Just like homeJ.  Church was all in Spanish tonight so it was very hard for me to pay attention since I had no idea what we were talking about or what was being said.  After church we had the teenagers stay so Alicia T., Colette, and I could have them fill out the surveys we made.

At the Mision I got on skype so I could to my dad this time even though it was not for long.  Tonight we met in a circle for the last time all togetherL.  It was sad but very good at the same time.  It seemed like everyone had had good experiences today and saw God in many ways and through many people.  After the meeting we had pineapple upside down cake that Ann made and it was amazing!  We all sat around and talked while the ones of us who are leaving tomorrow went one by one to talk in front of a camera to reflect on our week.  We stayed up and talked for a long time and I am so glad I did.  I had some great conversations with some people who I might not have.  After awhile I came downstairs to pack some and to get some sleep for travel tomorrow.


March 9, 2010 March 10, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — hollywilkerson @ 4:46 am

Today started out very early.  Sam and I signed up to help with breakfast so we had to be there at 6:15 to get instructions from Ann.  Our only job this morning was to cut up the melon so nothing extreme.  After eating breakfast we all sat around and visited with each other and around 8 everyone went to their different assignments for the day.  Alicia T. and I went  next door to the clinic and I was so excited!!!

We worked in different locations of the clinic.  She did more nurse type things such as immunizations and I got to work in the pharmacy.   Lester was my translator today and a huge help because the pharmacist did not speak any English.  I asked a ton of questions about how their pharmacy works and the kinds of medicines that are kept there.  Lester and I got to know each other very well through all my many questionsJ.  It is less strict when comparing it to an American pharmacy.  The pharmacist pretty much turned over the pharmacy to me which was so cool to me but challenging at the same time.  I thought speaking and understanding Spanish was hard, but I soon realized reading it off a prescription in a doctor’s handwriting was more difficult.  With the help of the pharmacist and Lester, I made it.

At noon we went back to the Mision to eat lunch.  I was assigned to go to the Casa Materna at 2 so Laura, Meg, Alicia T., and I went to the market for awhile where I got some shoes for really cheap.  We headed back to the Mision and a group of us headed to the Casa Materna.

Casa Materna is a place where pregnant women are allowed to stay a few weeks before they are due.  After they have their baby they can then return to Casa Materna for a couple of weeks when they getting out of the hospital.  When we got there we got to see two babies just a few days old.  We then set up a table and gave the women manicures.  After talking with these women we found out that their ages ranged from around 19-50 years old, and the amount of kids they had ranged from around 2-10.  These poor women looked so tired and completely worn out.  I’m so glad we got to put a smile on their face by just painting their fingernails.  It was also a very humbling experience for me because I was definitely was out of my comfort zone but am so glad I got to do it.

I worked with Flor to put some finishing touches on the survey we translated on Monday when we got back to the MIsion.  We had dinner a little early tonight because of church being at 6.  We had more visitors tonight.  Our visitors were Jimmy and Marina, who work at the Mision, and their two children.  After dinner we headed next door to church.

Church was a fulfilling experience once again.  I just cannot get over how loving and receptive of us they are.  Papa Benny spoke tonight which was nice because it was in English and translated to Spanish.  I got to hold Jimmy and Mariana’s baby, Julianne.  She is named after Julianne Baker and is a beautiful little girl.

After church we all met to share about our day.  I love doing this and hearing about how everyone spent their day and the how God touched them that day.  I am really enjoying being with this group of people and really feel that we are growing closer together every day.  Each day I feel like I am growing as a person by being more perceptive of other people and their needs instead of sitting back and ignoring it to stay comfortable.


March 8, 2010 March 9, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — hollywilkerson @ 5:51 am

I felt much better this morning after sleeping quite well even though I think I could have slept anywhere.  We met in the big room for breakfast, which were some very tasty pancakes and freshly cut watermelon.  After breakfast we got our assignments.  Some people went to the schools, some went to make bricks, some went to paint a house, and others went to take pictures and film around town.  Alicia T., Colette, and I worked on a survey that we are going to give to teenagers to fill out to find out more about their spirituality.  We were assigned a translator, Erica.  She took us to the internet café to print off the survey since the internet is down at the mission.  It was quite a walk through the streets and hustle and bustle of the market.  Erica was great she spoke English very well and answered all my questions.  She was a huge help when we were communicating with the guy at the internet café.  After we printed it, we went back to the mission to pick out the questions we wanted to ask and had Erica translate and type them so we could print it off to give to the teenagers tomorrow.  This took quite awhile because some our phrases aren’t the same so it took Erica awhile to figure out how to put it in Spanish.

After we finished, it was lunch time.  Everyone started returning from their jobs to eat lunch.  After lunch we went to our various jobs again.  Some of us went to the market while we waited on being assigned to our next job.  Erica took us to the supermarket to look around and then took us to a coffee shop where we got some coffee from Jinotega.  I and several other girls rode with Papa Benny up the mountain to a lady’s house that made pottery from clay only found in the mountains.  Even though she was not there, we got to see her house and where she made the pottery.  Some of us purchased some pottery.  I got a mug with the Jinotega flower on it for my mom for 2 dollars.  We then went back down the mountain and visited the place where the guys were making the bricks and then went by the house to see where Mama B (Amy Baker) helped build a house when she was here about five years ago.

When we returned to the mission Alicia T., Mama B, Colette, and I went down the street to the gas station to get something to drink and went back to the mission where we found out we had internet!  When I went upstairs everyone was on their computer blogging or uploading pictures.  So I decided to sit by the window and watched the commotion of the market while I got on the computer for awhile.  Dinner was around 6 and we had some visitors tonight.  Tonya and her family ate dinner with us.  She is an accountant for the mission and sometimes works as a translator.  She brought her husband and two kids, one boy and one girl.

After dinner I went downstairs to get on the internet to see if I could talk to my family.  I got to talk to my mom and sister and see my puppies!:)  Unfortunately my dad was working so I did not get to talk to himL.  We then met as a group and did an activity where we talked one on one with a person.  We got to share with each other our experiences of the day such as what we learned, what the highlight of our day was, and a frustration we had today.  It was really good to see how everyone’s day was and their different perspectives.  After sharing we sang a couple of songs and prayed.  We then just all hung out in the big room doing various things such as card games, talking, getting on computers, etc.  I signed up to help in the kitchen in the morning.  I have to be there by 6:15 to get started on breakfastJ….


March 7, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — hollywilkerson @ 5:50 am

Today is Sunday, our first full day in Nicaragua.  I am traveling with a very fun group of students from Harding, just like me.  Our leaders are Andrew and Amy Baker.  They also brought their children, Julianne, Maryella, and Isaac.  Yesterday was long day of travel.  We left from Little Rock and flew to Houston.  Security went smoothly, or as smoothly as it could.  Having only flown twice, I was not used to all the procedures since my last time on a plane was 2003.  We boarded the plane around three, and the other planes I had been on were bigger than this one so I was somewhat nervous.  I had been fairly calm about the flying thing until it was time for take-off.  While we were waiting to take off, a sense of complete anxiety came over me.  After freaking out a little, we were in the air and I was fine.

When we landed in Houston we had to run to our next flight because there was not a lot of time between our landing and departure.  We all made it fine and were now headed to Managua, Nicaragua.  This plane ride was a little over 2 ½ hours long.  We watched a movie (I can’t remember the name), but it wasn’t very good.  We also were fed dinner on the flight.  During this flight, the sun was setting which was amazing to see from the sky.  This was the first time I have ever flown at night, was amazed to see the lights from above especially when we were landing in Managua.  I failed to mention that Ashel, Alicia T., and I were on the back row during this flight, also where the bathroom is locatedJ.  I believe everyone on that flight had to go to the bathroom!  Sometimes there was even a line and add times smelly (we got a few laughs from this).  The landing for this flight was not so good, but we made it.  Being in the back of the plane we had to wait till everyone got off before we could.  We then went to customs, which went smoothly as far as I know.

After getting our luggage and met Papa Benny and Mamaw (Benny and Donna Baker).  They run Mision Para Cristo (along with Mike and Ann) and are the parents of our leader, Andrew Baker.  Man is it hot in Managua!   After getting instructions about our luggage, we crossed the street to our hotel.  We got our room assignments and met at the restaurant in the hotel to go over some rules like when to meet the next morning and to not drink the water.  After hanging out I went to bed.  I slept fairly well.

Breakfast was a 7 so I put my luggage in the lobby and went to the restaurant.  The hotel was beautiful this morning.  There were so many courtyards and breezeways filled with lots of flowers and trees.  The food wasn’t bad.  There was basically the normal stuff such as omelets, toast, fruit, and juice.  After everyone was done, we packed the luggage and sent it to Jinotega while we toured Managua.  The ride there was my first experience seeing Nicaragua and all its activities.  I guess you could say it was somewhat what I expected.  It is very poor and rundown.  There are people walking everywhere and trash all over the sides of the roads.  There are also cows and dogs everywhere and both are very malnourished, it is so sad.

Harvey was our driver and a very good one.  At some point we got pulled over, but they didn’t give us a ticket.  It was kind of like a road block type thing I guess.  We went zip lining, and it was so much fun even though I was extremely nervous in the beginning.  There were about 17 different platforms we had to go off of!  It was amazing, and the workers were so nice.  After zip lining, we ate at a place called Tip Top.  It was like a fast food chicken restaurant.  It was pretty good.  We headed to the market after that.  The market was very interesting and very pleasant because it was mostly covered.  The vendors had basically the same things such as hammocks, paintings, bags, bracelets, and other hand crafted items.  It was hard to communicate with the people, but they were super nice.  It was fun to bargain with them.  I got two paintings, one for me and one for my sister.  I also bought some bracelets for my sister.  The best part of the market was watching a little boy make items out of straw. The details of the items were amazing.  He made grasshoppers, hearts, and flowers for some of us.  After leaving the market we got into the vans to make our way to Jinotega.

Jinotega is located in the mountains so it was a little over 2 hours long.  It was a very long ride, but the scenery up the mountain was beautiful.  When we arrived at the mission, I guess you could say it is not what I was expecting even though I didn’t really know what to expect (if that makes sense).  It is located right on the street with the market, but have to enter a gate to get into the Mision.  The house is owned by a lady who rents the Mision the rooms and the many different apartments attached.  It has a beautiful garden in the middle and is really nice.  We were told to go upstairs to the big room.  On one side are the rooms for the girls and the other, the guys.  Sara Beth, Alicia T., Kylie, and I stayed in the apartment downstairs.

We then went next door to church.  The people there were SOOO nice and welcoming to us.  The service (singing, announcements, preaching, etc.) were all done in Spanish.  At the end we sang some songs in English after singing them in Spanish.  After services, the people were still so kind.  They went out of their way to come and welcome us.  While we were at church the wind really picked up and it became really cold.  Even when we got back to the Mision, it was beating against the house really bad and rattling the windows.  When we got back we ate dinner (PB&J, chips, and ice cream).  We then had our meeting that consisted of some more rules and what the plans were for tomorrow.  I feel a little overwhelmed.  This being my first time out of the country and my first mission trip, I think I’m in a little bit in a culture shock.  Today and yesterday has been a very tiring day and some much needed sleep is to come very soon.