Visiting Nicaragua: Smoothing Rough Roads

Nicaragua road

Roads like this one were a common sight during the fellows visit to Nicaragua. Photo by Mikaele Sansone/CRS

Deacon Roger Vandervest is a permanent deacon for the Archdiocese of Chicago. He traveled to Nicaragua with five seminarians, two priests, and another deacon as part of the Global Fellows program.

Today we drove one and a half hours up a mountain on a road that was primarily rocks and when it wasn´t rocks it was mud and small lakes of water. It took us this long to go about twenty miles up into a beautiful rainforest.

I felt at times as if my fillings would be rattled out of my teeth but it was a road and we were on a journey. None of us knows where our journey will take us.

While bouncing around in the pickup I thought of the many roads there are on our journeys and how this road, in such bad shape, was a metaphor for the journey of the Nicaraguan people. It has been much rougher for the Nicaraguan people than my journey has been. With the war and hurricane the journey here in Nicaragua has been hard but they have not been alone.

This, I believe, is our part of their journey. We, through CRS, can help smooth the rough road of their journey. We met the recipients of a clean water program for eight families and the leader of a potato growing cooperative. You could see the pride when they talked about their well and the potato warehouse.

These were proud, hospitable, people on a journey accompanied by the community of the Catholic Church in the US through CRS. In a tangible way we are helping to make the road in Nicaragua smoother.

Today is the fifth anniversary of my ordination as a deacon and the image of journey and road is strong in my mind. We don´t know where our journey will take us but wherever it takes us we are called to journey in solidarity with all our sisters and brothers.

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One Response to “Visiting Nicaragua: Smoothing Rough Roads”

  1. Ted Larkin Says:

    Beautiful, uplifing description, Roger. Thank you for your inspirational perspective.

    It is always helpful, I find, when going through a tough patch, to recall just how very much tougher it can be for so many others.

    You certainly bring that home.

    Thank you.

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