By now our entire staff has arrived from all over Latin America and the United States to the city of Matagalpa, Nicaragua. We are all amazed at the beauty of the city! Located in the mountains, the town is surrounded by rising hills and lush rain forest filled with exotic tropical wildlife. The steep, winding roads to Matagalpa are lined with lush greenery, coffee plantations, rice fields, food carts, small villages, auto shops, and cattle ranches, leading to this small, bustling city in the hills with narrow busy streets. Just like most Latino cities, the concrete and stone buildings are rich with color, accented with bright greens, reds, oranges, yellows, and blues in the tin roofs, wooden doors, and tattered shutters. In the center of the city, the town squares are surrounded by busy construction workers, men getting their shoes shined or playing board games, and uniformed school kids eating at food carts with beef and pork sizzling on the roadside grills.
But Nicaragua is the second poorest nation in the western hemisphere, and the streets, buildings and homes show it’s poverty. Every street holds at least one section of humble dwellings lined in rows made from whatever materials the homeowner can find, mostly pieces of scrap metal, wood, and stone.
During our day touring the city, we got to preview the location for Festival Por La Vida on Saturday, March 17th. It will take place in this soccer field, and it’s so exciting to see the empty space before the stage goes up.
While we were previewing the space, we met this family that lives right across the street from the field where the festival will be held. They were gracious enough to show us their home. Even though this country is poor, the people have such rich and full hearts! They amaze us with their gracious spirits and welcoming smiles!
They showed us their small single room home with the one bed where the family sleeps, the tiny kitchen area, and the chicken that lives inside with them.
We are so excited for what God is going to do this week in Matagalpa. The city is ready and the staff has been working non-stop to prepare for the festival.