I am left with 1,000 words

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.  I nod my head to agree.  I've fallen in love with the art of photography, the ability to pause a moment in time and relive it again and again.  I won't pretend that I'm good at it, but my lack doesn't lessen this desire to try.  Pictures tell stories, and I love a good tale.

But today, I have only words.

We pull off of the main highway to the dirt roads of Cristo Rey.  Although the distance isn't great, it takes us well over an hour to make our way through the thick traffic.  In Managua, we had been experiencing a lot of rain despite the nearing end of rainy season.  I was thankful for the downpours because it cooled the heavy heat, and offered my internal Ohio thermostat some relief.  But here, the rain is a mixed blessing.

The road into Cristo Rey is bumpy but solid in most places.  The side roads hint to the recent rain with their mixture of mud, standing water, and dust.  It would be a poor attempt on our part to pass over them. Without proper drainage, the streets filled with muddy, brown water that spilled over into the crudely built homes.  Homes without running water; homes where the bathroom was some place outside and its contents mixed with the rain before it poured into the flooded streets.  After the rained slowed, the mosquitos gathered in the stagnant water, multiplying and feeding on the displaced people.

Disease arrives.

We move slowly past the freshly dumped heaps of trash.  There are several people out today.  Men, women, old and young, children of all ages gleaning for useful items.  Small children, I would guess to be about 2 years old are managing the mess in bare feet.  Desperation brings them here.

I can't take a picture from my air conditioned car.

We pull up to a church that New Life Nicaragua partners with, Casa Del Rey La Grancosecha.  They are in the middle of their Saturday discipleship and feeding program.  Pastor Zulema greets us at the iron gate and she asks if we would like to help serve the meal.  I'm grateful for the opportunity as I balance trays of rice and vegetables to over 80 eager children.

She tells us true stories of families who are struggling.  We don't need pictures to allow the reality of their situations to sink in because they are right in front of us.  We are witnesses to their poverty of body and spirit.

The little boy, just out of diapers, with blonde hair and a runny nose, has a family who works hard, but doesn't have enough nutritious food to eat.  His hair tells the story of their lack by turning an unnatural hue due to malnutrition.  I can tell by looking at him that he isn't well.  We carry the bags of beans and rice to his home as he smiles behind the skirt of his mother.

She and I are eye to eye.  We are mothers who want our children to be safe as they grow healthy and strong.  We were born in different worlds, but she can't escape hers.  I'm afraid to imagine myself in her shoes.  Her dark and tired eyes are wells of sadness.  I want to tell this world about her life, her struggles, and her beautiful boys.  I want everyone to see the desperation of her situation.  I want to change the rest of her story.

But in this moment, I can't take a picture.

We pull away from the day with high clouds of dust swirling behind us as the wide smiles of children chase through the haze and after our car.  Their love is big, and I can't shake their faces from my mind.

Maybe this once, I don't need a picture to remind me. . .


  1. You painted the picture with your words, Ginger. "We are mothers who want our children to be safe as they grow healthy and strong. We were born in different worlds, but she can't escape hers. I'm afraid to imagine myself in her shoes." Love you.

  2. Poignant, real...... To touch so closely and yet to be shielded by the haze while being haunted by the memory, the reality ..... Selah


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