Will it happen as planned?

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That certainly is a question to bear in mind in life in Nicaragua. According to my diary today was going to be a busy day. *

The diary tells me I’ve got one meeting after another today. This should leave me with little or no time to do some urgent administative work in preparation for the legal affairs training course that we will have this Saturday with a lawyer from Managua.

Our daily rhythym
Our day usually starts at 6 a.m. By now the daily routines are properly stream-lined: we give Loyda a shower and help her dress, followed by Daniel. Jonathan in the meantime is dressed and enjoys himself doing a jig saw with Anelka, while I prepare breakfast for everyone. Juana arrives with our breakfast tortillas, which she likes to buy from our neighbour across the road (see picture). These maize pancakes are best if eaten straight out of the pan. It’s 7 a.m when we sit down for breakfast.

Daily meeting
After breakfast everyone gets on with normal work before we meet again at the table at 8 a.m for the daily meeting which could include talking through the events of the day; assessing what we could possibly do better; developing ideas how we can enthuse Daniel and Loyda who on the whole are rather passive; discussing the issues concerning Jonathan that we should be alert about; and evaluating our collaboration. The meeting always starts with a short reflective time, the preparation for which we take in turns. It could be a reading from the bible, or it could be a poem, a saying or a song that has touched one of us, and which might inspire us as we listen to it and talk about it.

A visit to Sergio’s family 
Next in today’s plan is a home visit to the family of a potential new resident for the Ruach Home, together with our chairwoman Ana Alicia. We still have one vacancy and we have been keeping our eyes and ears open for a while now to find a suitable candidate. One cannot force this, but we trust in the spirit of The Ark that the right person will cross our path at the right time.

We have been impressed with how the niece of uncle Sergio have looked after him for so many years and how inventive she has been in making adjustments in her home, because uncle Sergio cannot walk, although he is able to move at speed on hands and feet. He is able to hike himself up onto a low bed, to use the toilet by himself on a specially made low latrine, and he takes his meals at a small table at the right height. It is very admirable how Joanna and her husband have been able to achieve all this! Due to circumstances they are looking for an alternative home for uncle Sergio. It is clear that because of the necessary adjustments we cannot welcome Sergio just like that, but of course there is a lot of space between a straight ‘Yes’ or ‘No’, so we leave their house saying ‘See you again’.

Afternoon programme
I proceed to the activities club, where I have a meeting with Heydis who is in charge there, and then go on to the Ruach Home as by now it is nearly 12:30 pm, lunchtime. After a siesta I walk Jonathan over to Luzmilde who offers homework guidance to children of primary school age. Jonathan enjoys being there and the young children there are open to contact with him. When I get back home I expect to meet up with Carmen to initiate her further into our work. From May onwards she is our new part-time employee, but she is so enthusiastic that she has volunteered to do some extra afternoons to get acquainted with the Home and the work. But unlike her she is not there and has not contacted us to cancel.

No show
It’s 5 p.m and I realize that doña Yolanda, the mother of Loyda and Daniel, also hasn’t come, contrary to the arrangement, Normally she visits her children twice a month. While I talk with Luis Miguel who since a fortnight ago has come to a consultation with me about tensions with his mother (I do this sort of counselling on an ad hoc basis) I’m curious whether Jorge has arrived with his dogs. We’d like to find out whether contact with dogs is a positive experience for Daniel and Loyda. I know that Jonathan enjoys dogs so much that dogs seem to almost avoid him as he wants to touch them too much! But when I show Luis Miguel out, it appears Jorge also has not kept the appoinment.…

Arrangements are mere intentions …
Is it frustrating at times that things do not go according to plan? The crux of the matter is that after a while you no longer expect things to go as planned. Instead I’ve adopted a ‘Let’s see’ attitude, and live with the flow of what comes my way, or does not. After all, I have had a useful day and was able to fit in a lot of administrative work. I’ve learned to become more philosophical. And to be honest, how much control over our lives do we really have? If we really had a fair degree of control, would we not have planned things differently? It does not mean I do not hang on to my vision on the horizon, but I do realize that there are different ways of getting there. And that makes life full of surprises!

* Yes, I do use a diary, but rarely record activities for more than a week away, as experience has taught me that ‘forward planning’ hardly works here.