A Lesson in Persistence

“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”
― Winston S. Churchill

“Ron, you have to see this,” I shouted from the living room. A chicken bus spinning its wheels, grinding its gears, and unable to go forward or backward appeared to be hopelessly stuck in the deep sand on our beach.

Yet, throughout the three-hour ordeal, I learned a lesson in perseverance that the Nicaraguans show over and over again. They never give up. What we perceive as hopelessness, they tackle with determination, persistence, and always with smiles and laughter. Incredible!

Nosotros Pequeños Hermanos outing looked like it was headed for disaster. The Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos NGO had an orphanage on Ometepe Island until 2010, when our sleepy Concepcion volcano decided to wake-up. Fearfully, the organization transferred the children to the mainland in Jinotepe, but continued to run a small farm and a project called Samaritan Project on the island.

Every year, they bring the children back to Ometepe Island to visit and volunteer on the farm. When we saw 50 orphans stranded on our beach, we grabbed the shovels and joined in the fun of helping them dig out their chicken bus.


Continue reading

Weekly Photo Challenge: Foreign Chicken Buses

If you ever ride an eccentric and flamboyant Central American chicken bus, you will begin to understand the term ‘foreign’. These retired American and Canadian school buses are plastered with outlandish stickers, painted in vibrant colors, and anointed with bumper stickers confessing their love for God, Jesus, soccer, and Playboy bunnies. Chicken buses ooze of strange aromas like a mixture of sweat, cow manure stuck on the bottom of flip-flops, rice and beans, and strong perfumes.  There is NO concept of personal space and there is always room for one more…one more person…one more chicken…one more basket of fruit…one more crying baby..one more sack of rice. Everyone and everything can ride on a chicken bus. Discrimination is not a word in a chicken bus’ vocabulary.


Loud music blasts from speakers taped in every corner of the bus. Vendors and beggars board at every stop pushing their way through invisible aisles hawking Flintstone vitamins, Chiclets, alien drinks in plastic bags, and preaching sermons or displaying x-rays of their guts ( or somebody’s guts) for a cordoba or two.


Chicken buses are a wacky form of entertainment for me. I chuckle at the sayings on the Goodwill t-shirts because most of the people that wear them can’t read English. Recently, a bus driver wore a t-shirt that said on the front, “What do you call a woman with PMS and ESP?” On the back it said, “A bitch who knows everything.” Exiting the bus, I told the bus driver that he had better not show that t-shirt to his wife. He just laughed, of course, with no understanding of what I was talking about.


Riding a Central American chicken bus is certainly one of the most exotic and foreign experiences I have ever had. Truthfully, I’m addicted. I’ve held sleeping babies, crowing roosters confined in rice sacks, and birthday cakes dripping icing in the tropical heat. I’ve even balanced my backpack on my head because there was no place to sit…for hours! Life on a chicken bus brings the world smack dab in front of your face…it’s a macro of foreign, the stupendous of strange, and the ultimate alien experience.