For thousands of Nicaragua’s poor, mission ‘a gift from God’
JINOTEGA, Nicaragua — In a nation where many live on…
PANAMA CITY — By the time I arrived at Tocumen International Airport in this Central American capital, I was starving.
Domino’s Pizza in the airport food court never looked so heavenly.
“How do you say pepperoni in Spanish?” I joked on Facebook.
Road Notes | Bobby Ross Jr.It was close to 8 p.m. I’d rushed to catch a connecting flight in Houston with no time for a meal. Except for pretzels, I hadn’t eaten since leaving Oklahoma City about noon.
I still had the final leg of my journey left — to Nicaragua, where I was headed to report on Misión Para Cristo (“Mission for Christ” in English). I hoped to avoid boarding my first-ever flight on Copa Airlines with a growling stomach.
My Christian Chronicle colleague Erik Tryggestad has reported from 60-plus countries. He has written about his “mouth-watering” international culinary experiences — from barbecued warthog in Zimbabwe to giant, roadside churros in Brazil.
Tryggestad is an adventurous eater.
I am not.
When I travel internationally, I tend to fill my suitcase with jeans, T-shirts and enough Cheese Nips to keep me alive for weeks.
To my delight on this night, I discovered that pepperoni is pronounced basically the same in Spanish as in English.
But even as I devoured my piping hot pizza, I wondered what might be on my plate the rest of the week.
I need not have worried.
Tip-Top chicken with Nicaragua ministers. #BetterThanKFC
The next day, I enjoyed fried chicken at Tip-Top — a national chain in Nicaragua — with missionary Benny Baker and ministers Efraín López and Franklin Mairena.
“Better than KFC,” I declared it.
At the mission, I woke up one morning to peanut butter, pancakes and pineapples. Yummy!
Bobby Ross Jr.’s lunch at Misión Para Cristo.For lunch another day, the cooks prepared chicken with a special jalapeño gravy, along with mashed potatoes, rolls and chaya, commonly known as “tree spinach.” Yes, I ate it all. I even somewhat liked the chaya.
But I’m pretty sure I’ll never put a barbecued warthog in my mouth.
Then again, if it came on top of a pizza, I just might consider it. Especially if I’d run out of Cheese Nips.
Bobby Ross Jr. is Chief Correspondent for The Christian Chronicle. Reach him at [email protected].
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