Surfing and Serving in Nicaragua

Surfing and Serving in Nicaragua

I spent last week in Nicaragua building homes and feeding 250 people

Last week’s trip changed my life. It was a two part trip- one part SERVE, the other part SURF.

I honestly did not know what to expect before the trip so I did not “think” much about it. I mean, I don’t surf and although I have been to some under developed countries, I had never REALLY stepped out of my comfort zone in a very under developed country to serve others.Surf and Serve Nicaragua with Natalie Jill

After meeting the organizer of Surf and Serve, my husband, was convinced that this trip was a MUST…not just for him, but for the whole family.

So I took a leap of faith and agreed to go there with him and my 9-year-old daughter.

My first hurdle of the trip? Packing…

I am a TRUE girly girl.

I get my nails done, I wear makeup, my shoes normally take up 2/3 of my luggage.

So, my first challenge was to fit ALL of my stuff for the week into ONE backpack AND to pack only stuff I was comfortable losing.


This was important because Nicaragua is the 2nd poorest country in the world. Poverty breeds desperation, and I get it. I needed to be prepared to “part” with anything I was bringing.

So here is was what I brought on this trip to Nicaragua (feel free to print and copy if YOU go!)

  • tank tops
  • shorts
  • 2 pairs of leggings
  • 1 pair of flip flops
  • 1 pair of sneakers
  • 2 bathing suits
  • 2 t shirts and pj bottoms
  • 2 sun visors, sunglasses, my Camelback (to use as a bag when working)
  • Pony tail holders, a brush, bandaids, Neosporin, hand sanitizer, sunblock, bug spray
  • FOOD that I could carry with me that would not go bad for my OWN consumption – lot’s of it. The food I brought with me was nuts, seeds, dried fruit, chicken jerky and my meal replacement shakes

Here is what I did NOT bring:

NO hair dryer, no heels, no nice clothes, no purse or wallet, no wedding ring.  If it had monetary value…it didn’t go.

I DID however bring lip gloss lol (I am not THAT crazy).

We arrived on a Sunday evening and went first to a Hostel in Managua. This is where I met others that would be joining us on this trip. We covered ourselves with bug spray and called it an early night. Day one would be starting soon…

Day ONE: Driving into the extremely displaced town outside of Cristo Rey – TipiTapa

In the video below, you will see the garbage dump that is on the dirt road heading out to the neighborhood we would be working in.

TipiTapa is a very displaced neighborhood with about 6000 residents. They have very little resources, and just about NO economic opportunities. These people were NOT born with the same opportunities that so many of us have in the USA.

What we were doing there… Building Homes and Feeding 250 people

Part II- Reconnecting (first video above ended abruptly)

Day TWO heading back in… This  is what it looks like!

Meet the families we built home for…

Second half of the trip – Meet the organizer of this trip

Part II of the above video

The Results of the Trip???

This trip forever changed me and my family!

I can tell you that I love an appreciate the country I am a citizen of more than I could have ever imagined now. I feel like I won the “luck lottery” being born here! surf and serve nicaragua

This trip was a serious wake-up call. In the United States and many other parts of the world, we HAVE opportunity.  We have the ability to create, add value, and better our lives.

Where I was, they had no opportunity.  No economy.  Nothing.  Just the reliance on the local churches and groups like the one that I was a part of.

I feel that the entitlement culture in our county is out of control.  When you see people in TRUE poverty, with literally ‘nothing’, and no way to change it…it is hard to take the people in our country seriously that whine about how bad things are when they have things like running water, electricity, smart phones, cars, TV, etc.

It just really put things into perspective.  But the other AMAZING thing was how genuinely HAPPY these people were!

The pride these people had in their homes was awesome to see.  Maybe it is because they don’t know any different.  Maybe it is because they aren’t bombarded with material things.  Things are definitely hard where they are, but it was a nice silver lining to see the smiles on their faces.

In the end, I am SO GLAD I had listened to my husband and that we decided to go on this trip!

I am also so very grateful to have been able to bring my 9-year-old daughter to experience this as well. It was SO worth missing a week of school for her to get this real world experience.  It definitely gave her a new perspective on how good we have it.

This trip confirmed some beliefs I had but it CHANGED some of my other beliefs forever.

I can’t be friends with you anymore if you don’t get this (haha I am only 1/2 kidding!)

To learn more about the particular transformation trip that we took , Surf and Serve, go here: …and tell the Natalie sent you!



Natalie Minh