Missionary: 'Nicaraguan violence won't stop me from going back' - FOX34 Lubbock

Missionary: 'Nicaraguan violence won't stop me from going back'

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The United States have shut down operations at its embassy in Nicaragua, pulling employees and family members amid a string of deadly protests.

It is triggered by changes to the social security system, forcing citizens to pay more. Human rights groups claim dozens have died in these demonstrations. State departments are encouraging Americans to reconsider plans to travel there.

One missionary escaped the chaos, and he's not hesitant to go back to continue his efforts.

Eddie Kirkpatrick, a former firefighter and now ER technician, was volunteering with the organization "Amos" when the turmoil began. He said he was never worried about working there before these violent acts.

"I've been there four years and never ever have we worried about where we went in Nicaragua," Kirkpatrick said. "I worked in the medical clinic there in our compound and saw patients all day long." 

He said there were original plans to take a day trip to the city of Leon but the protests canceled that idea.    

"Thursday night we found out one police officer killed and two rioters killed as the riots started and we decided we weren't going to take that trip, so that was our first idea of anything serious going on," Kirkpatrick said.

He said his flight was Saturday and doubt of making it to the airport safe was a true concern. However, a motorcycle led the way to a clear path around 3 a.m. 

"As we heard of more shootings and more killings, we were concerned we might not make it to the airport," he said. "Fortunately for us, the rioters had to sleep sometime and it was a good time to get through but there were man-made barricades, trash, mattresses, all kinds of things, in the streets to block traffic from getting through."

Kirkpatrick gets emotional thinking about those he has helped. He said he hopes things get better for the country. 

"We're still getting word from the Amos staff in Managua that the violence is increasing, there's been more killings, and we got to know these people in Nicaragua and they are very friendly people," he said. "They're wanting more out of life and that's what we were trying to help them do, and you kinda build a close bond over weeks, time, doing healthcare or building something."

Despite the rough encounter, Kirkpatrick said he would return if given the opportunity. 

"In the fire service we had a saying, 'risk little to save little', 'risk a lot to save a lot,' and that's how I live, especially on these types of trips," he said.

President Daniel Ortega revoked the controversial social security reform Sunday. Now protesters demand the President, and his wife, the Vice President leave office.

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