nicaragua trip

Tick Dog

I have never, in a my entire life, thought I would be confronted with something so disgusting that I felt like I had to take a shower in bleach to be clean again.

On one of our earlier surgery days, my team was given a very sad looking puppy to get ready for surgery. On our pre-exam, we decided that no, absolutely not, we would never do surgery on this animal while she was in the condition she was in. This poor little girl was completely covered with ticks. Not just a few here or there–no. This was the worst infestation I have ever seen on a living animal. Every time she moved, some would drop off of her, to crawl away on the floor. (They didn’t get very far. I had a spray bottle of alcohol and zero hesitation to use it.)

I came to the very serious conclusion that this little girl had not been able to hear correctly for quite some time. We must have spent a solid hour picking ticks out of this little girl’s ears. The inside of her ears was a solid mass of bloated ticks, clinging on and sucking the life quite literally out of her. Black sludge, the likes of which I’ve never seen before, coated every single Q-tip and piece of gauze we used to clean her ears.

It was so bad that there were live and dead ticks deep in her ears.

Every time we thought “Surely, this must be it.” we would just uncover another hoard of them–behind her ears, on her tail, between her toes; anywhere that there was skin, there were ticks. Each time we pulled one, she would bleed and bleed, most likely due to tick-borne diseases. We gave this poor baby fluids to give her a little more energy, some medication to kill whatever parasites we couldn’t get off her, and rescheduled her surgery. 

Our last day of in-clinic surgeries, I looked out over the kennels, and there she was, panting happily with one of her friends.

This time, her surgery was a success.


Rarely when I travel, do I ever allow myself the opportunity to step outside of my comfort zone and experience what it would be like to walk in someone else’s shoes. But what I’ve realized over the past few years, is how critical it is to experience and witness the local sights and sounds of a city to get a better understanding of the places I go. Visiting a new country and experiencing the stops only frequented by tourists leaves me with a thirst unquenched. It feels as if I’ve been robbed the intimacy to explore, and it’s often that feeling that fuels my desire to travel. 

Several months back on a trip to Nicaragua, I found myself wandering the stalls of the Masaya Crafts Market. It was a wonderful by all means, clean and colorful, filled with rows of leather goods, tapestries, and t-shirts to take home. Inexplicably, I found myself pacing the stalls–I began frantically searching for something I couldn’t quite articulate. Should I purchase a row of braided bracelets, I had once sought after on a trip to Tulum? What about some stiffly-starched t-shirts of Granada, adapted into famous American logos? In the final moments before boarding back onto the bus, I  settled for a bright red dress that reminded me of an emoji. Comedic relief aside, I still felt a lingering emptiness. 

It wasn’t until Kata and Marianna suggested we take a quick stop to the local market place that I realized what had been missing. 

We stepped into Mercado Municipal, the market place for local Nicaraguans to purchase everything from black beans to rice cookers. Immediately I felt energized by the current of movement taking place. Between the vendors and buyers, swift and skilled hands cutting produce or cooking meat, and eager dogs  hoping to catch fallen scraps, was a tidal of expression that had been missing in the souvenir crafts market we visited. Where there was a shortage of postcards, was an abundance of local flavor.

It didn’t dawn on me until much later, that these 20 minutes was one of the most vivid moments of the trip. Revisiting the images now, I can still recall my feelings of excitement, the scenes I found most visually arresting, and heck, even the smells that were alarmingly pungent. And the thing about these moments, were that they don’t come prepackaged in the form of a postcard or key chain.

A huge thank you to El Camino Travel for showing me around Nicaragua. 

In honor of Black History Month, we will be posting weekly about the life and accomplishments of the first person to set foot at the North Pole… It is Matt Henson Monday!

Matthew Alexander Henson was born August 8, 1866 in Nanjemoy, Maryland. His parents died while he was still a boy and he studied for six years at the N Street School in Washington, D.C. At the age of 12 years, he moved to Baltimore where he found employment as cabin boy under Captain Childs on the steamship Katie Hines, bound first for China. Henson traveled widely aboard the Katie Hines, proving himself not only to be a capable seaman but also a talented linguist.

Back in Washington D.C. in 1887, working as a store clerk, Henson first met Robert E. Peary, who hired him as a “body-servant“ for a surveying trip in Nicaragua. Henson showed his skill and capacity again in this new environment and his responsibilities grew in turn over the course of the trip.

Matthew Henson apparently made an impression. As Peary planned for his North Greenland Expedition in 1890, he called on Henson once again. This time they were heading North…

Ah, I am SO SAD to report that we missed our date deadline to hit the fundraising goal for the Buildon/Nicaragua trip. HOWEVER. I know a lot of people donated in exchange for drawings, you’re still going to get a drawing from me… but you’re going to get your money refunded because we didn’t hit our goal…if you’d like to still donate that money I’m going to be researching some charities and I’ll update the blog with some ideas. 

In other news, I started writing poetry. I’m not saying it’s good, but I’m making a book! Because that’s been on my bucket list! Are you guys into that? 


These past two months have been incredibly difficult, because my dad is in the hospital. My mom and I are there with him every day, and PasCon was the first time since he was admitted that I spent longer than a day away from my family.

I wasn’t even planning to go, although everything that happened messed me up for which writing/S11/Tumblr was my self-medication. But I really wanted to see @preciousmish​, and another friend had gifted me the tickets; I knew that going to PasCon, even for a day, would provide a mental break I desperately needed.

Long story short, I got here Saturday night, skipped the concert and spent most of Sunday waiting for the Castiel ops and Misha’s autos. The schedule was so unfavorable for Misha and there were delays on top of that, but I finally made it to the Castiel ops and everything that followed was wonderful.

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When you get 100% clear on what you want, God goes to work to bring it to you.

The problem is we, myself included, spend so much time wanting this or that and when it doesn’t show up we get discouraged and either move on to something else or we give up all the way.

Today I encourage you to get real clear on what you want and then trust that it is coming.

Quick story…
So I’ve wanted to spend some good quality time with my dad. Just the two of us where we could really connect. I set that out as my intention and I knew it would happen. Wasn’t sure how, but I trusted it would. That was over a year ago. Shouldn’t be hard to do right? Well, I’ve got a big family, 12 siblings. And I haven’t lived by my dad for over 13 years.

Anyways about 3 weeks ago I got a call that my dad was headed on a trip to Nicaragua and he was going alone. Needless to say I booked my ticket that same day and a week later I was in the Nicaraguan jungle, just me and him, having the greatest time of my life.

I set that intention out over a year ago and it finally happened. I got to spend about 2 weeks with my dad. Just the two of us connecting and discussing life. Going on adventures. Enjoying each others company.

My point in sharing this is to remind you to get real clear on what you want. Trust it will happen. Do the work so it can happen. And be open to how it could happen.

It’s your life, MAKE IT EPIC!
-Jhon LeBaron

I’m going on a short missions trip to Nicaragua. I’m so looking forward to serving the people of Nicaragua.  The mission’s trip goes from October 30th to November 4th.  We will be joining with Mike Silva International in taking part in a festival. During the trip we will be helping those in need, serving the people of Nicaragua in many ways, and sharing the love of God.

Nicaragua is the poorest country in Central America and the second poorest country in the western Hemisphere. 48% of the population lives below the poverty line and 79.9% live on less than $2 a day. Only two dollars. A drink at Starbucks costs more than that!

My heart goes out to these people and I would like to invite you to partner with me on this trip. There are two ways you can partner with me. First, you can pray for me consistently as I prepare for the trip and while I’m in Nicaragua. The other way you can partner with me is by making a donation. (Right now if your like ‘I’m just a kid, I’m sorry!’ Go get mom or dad or grammy!)Whether it’s 50 cents or 50 dollars every bit is GREATLY appreciated. If you would like to donate check out my donate page!

If you would like to receive a support letter please send me you address in my ask box. (I will not do anything weird with your address)

and please reblog x