Nicaragua and Colombia, two Latin American countries located geographically in two different regions, Central America and South America, with different colors, flavors, architecture, natural surroundings, population, history, and culture. Living these last months in Colombia has meant a lot of change. I would like to share with you some of these in this blog.
First, the climate: Bogota is a very cold city and I come from living in Managua, one of the hottest cities in Nicaragua. This change brought with it the daily use of a sweater and days in which I should also use gloves, a hat, a scarf, a coat, and double socks; as well as sleeping with 4 blankets, while in Nicaragua I only used one, and sometimes none. I have had to get used to regularly drinking warm beverages while in Nicaragua I drink lots of soda. I also have learned to eat soup, something that I never liked since childhood, but the weather here is perfect for it; and bathing myself with hot water. Little by little I am adapting to the climate.
The second change that I notice is the transportation. Here I find a new system: the Transmilenio, which consists of several major stations and stops, requires a card for paying, and has different buses and culture that what I am used to. When I arrived in Soacha, I learned to get from place to place in buses; it is very different from the routes in Nicaragua since here they stop wherever. I think it is lovely that here they stop and wait for people to get on the bus, while in Nicaragua one has to run to the stop in order to get the bus, haha!
Thirdly, the vocabulary. I have discovered a new world of words, from words that I have never heard in my life to words that I know but here have a different meaning. To this day I continue learning new words.
When I arrived in my community, I slowly began to make changes in my lifestyle. One of the first things was living alone, and mainly, the idea of doing chores around the house, a new world for me. I believe that a huge change that I have experienced is entering the kitchen, a change that I initially resisted, but little by little I have been finding my place in it. With this has brought change in my eating habits and food in general.
As far as lifestyle goes, I also should mention getting more involved in sports. In Nicaragua I had a very sedentary life; I was always busy and didn’t have time to play. However, now the processes that I am accompanying give me the opportunity to be more active and it has been very cool. I have a lot of fun and I have formed many relationships this way.
From a ministry perspective, I have also noticed a change. In Nicaragua, I was working with national and regional organizations for seven years. Now in Colombia I am serving in communities with churches and local projects. This means a change in work methods, involvement in new areas, and learning new ministerial principles.
Finally, I’d say that being with the Mennonite and Mennonite Brethren churches of Colombia has broadened my vision of what it means to be a church. Each day I can see a church that is committed to society, moving forward with projects that have to do with education, formation, and nutrition, all directed to satisfy the population’s needs.
Translated by Amy Eanes.