Life in the countryside begins early. Sometime around 3 or 4 in the morning the rooster begins to crow even though the sun is far from up. (By the way, spanish-speaking roosters say ¡qui-qui-ri-quí! not cock-a-doodle-doo!) A part of my brain starts to wake up even though I won't drag my body out of bed for a while yet. But that's the luxury of being a guest -- around us the house starts to stir, as it does every morning. Men head off to work to take advantage of the cool. The kitchen springs to life with the sound of tortillas being prepared.
A fair portion of our job as missionaries is visiting churches and communities outside of Managua. For Laura Jean's theology education project we have been visiting the campo for 4 to 5 day intensive workshops about once a month. Usually there is no hospedaje in these communities, so the only place to stay is in the houses of church members, who never fail to show us outrageous and humbling hospitality. For example, someone usually gives up their own bed for us to sleep in.
The houses typically have packed dirt floors and--be they made of concrete, brick or wood--are designed to maximize air flow to cool off the house during the day. The roof is made of traditional brick tiles or metal sheets (which are hotter and louder in the rain). You'll share the house with dogs and chickens and insects. If you want to sit down you can pull up one of the ubiquitous stacking plastic chairs that populate every Misión church. Rice and beans for breakfast, lunch and dinner -- along with cuajada (a salty cheese), plantains, eggs and (since you are a guest) chicken. And coffee, thankfully.
A wave of infrastructure development has come to Nicaragua in recent years and many places we visit have electricity or are getting it for the first time. With electricity comes cell phones and bright red satellite TV dishes sprouting up on the tops of houses -- even in the campo TV cannot be stopped.
In the tropics night falls like a rock at around 6pm and by 7pm it is totally dark. Some nights there is a worship service, other nights people sit around chatting and singing and finishing up in the kitchen, but not too late since the rooster crows early and the next day is coming soon.