Reaching Cacao

The Day I Pushed a Taxi up a Mountain in Nicaragua

Above the cloud forests in Nicaragua is a tiny village where coffee and chocolate grow wild.

It is extremely remote and difficult to access.

I traveled there recently to explore the viability of a future humanitarian aid project.

To say that I don’t like flying is a gross understatement. I hyperventilate. I cry. I act like an irrational freak.

I consume huge amounts of alcohol in order to get on a plane. During the flight, I have another to ensure that I stay just slightly above the stumbling drunk range.

In addition to being terrified of flying, I am also terrified of heights, which is very handy when the remote places you are trying to get to are — up there.

Between my drunk flying and fear of getting to the places I am going, I could possibly be the worst missionary on the planet, so I prefer to be called a humanitarian aid worker.

The Road to Cacao is Paved With Chocolate and Fear

The roads to Cacao are narrow mountain passes. You can look down the steep ravines and clearly see the vehicles that fell off the road. They probably had more experienced drivers than our driver.

With its extreme remoteness, lack of roads, and steep terrain, we naturally climbed into the tiniest yellow taxi, owned by a close neighbor of Irvine’s (The pastor I am going with), and began our journey.

Irvine and his wife Mercedes have become like family to us. He is a big dreamer and I enjoy being able to finance some of the dreams that he dreams.

I trust him completely. I stopped trying to influence his decisions long ago in our work together because I have learned that if I just trust him and go, I learn more in one day than I would learn in a lifetime of doing things my way.

And though I show up snot slinging drunk, my beloved, Pentecostal, pastor and his wife, Mercedes pick me up from the airport and probably assume that it is “An American thing.”You’re Welcome.

Photo By Margie Gandy

We decided that if we were going to drive all that way that we shouldn’t show up empty-handed, So we stopped at the market and stuffed our toy car until it was spilling out the back.

The Little Engine That Could Not

And so it was there on the steep mountain on the way to Cacao that I found myself wearing a black dress in the scorching heat, pushing a tiny taxi stuffed full of clothes, food, and medicine up a mountain.

Photo By Margie Gandy

There is no way for me to explain how long, painful, and hysterical it was getting that taxi up the mountain to Cacao.

The taxi driver was almost in tears over the wear and tear on his tires and tiny engine that “could not”.

Everything is Bigger in Texas and the Jungle

We found this amazing tree on the way to Cacao. I don’t believe Mercedes had a clue what we were signing on for, but she is like I am, and is always up for adventure and has an amazing heart for her country and her people.

Photo By Margie Gandy

We arrived at the place where the dirt road ended and carried the stuff on our backs and heads the rest of the way.

Some of the Children of Cacao Photo By Margie Gandy

Slowly, people began emerging from the jungle and came to meet us.

The mission goal is to let people know that they are not forgotten, by putting resources in the hands of local pastors, teachers, and community leaders.

As wonderful as it is to be the giver of things to people in need, it gives me so much more pleasure to see those leaders give gifts that they have dreamed of being able to give.

After a wonderful time of fellowship and music beneath the jungle canopy, they passed out the gifts and called it a day.

Giving Gifts to the People of Cacao Photo By Margie Gandy

As the sun fell quickly behind the trees, new sounds emerged from the jungle. The jungle is a noisy place.

Photo by Margie Gandy

If you have never heard a Howler Monkey, you should know that their name is underrated. They should be called “little monkey that sounds like a hungry lion”.

The Tiny Church Building Where we Slept Photo By Margie Gandy

We made our beds on the floor of the little church. Immediately, the men were sound asleep. Mercedes and I giggled hysterically at their snoring, we are mature like that.

I laid my head down and reflected on the exhausting but beautiful day. As I was gazing at the stars through the holes in the ceiling, I had a sudden moment of panic.

What in the world was I going to do if I had to use the facilities?

Using my cell phone for light, I made the most terrifying trip to the bathroom of my life. It was far more terrifying than the flight or the high mountain passes.

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