Life in Nicaragua



The new housemom

It was quite the week! The girls were very sweet – extremely dramatic and tough at times, but they have wonderful hearts. It is immediately apparent how much they are yearning to be loved, for your affection, attention, anything. The girls are tough and it is apparent that they have some deep emotional issues, making it difficult to know what you can really do to help them. It would take a lot of time to really get to know the girls, seeing as they have sooo much bottled up inside. Sometimes it would come out as anger, and other times as love. Words I constantly heard throughout the week: “I love you!!” “I hate you!” “Never leave us” “Get out of here” – and they would all come within 2 minutes of eachother. Really the only way to sum up the experience there is: Emotional Chaos.

It was similar to Casa Bernabe in some aspects, a lot of time to hang out but not much to do, but it was also very different. There is a bit more freedom in the daily schedule and the girls are much more independent. Considering their background they are also used to fending for themselves, so to speak. Many of the girls stories are hard to comprehend – so many horrible things have happened to them in such a short span of time. No one deserves to go through what they have been through, not ever, especially not as young innocent children.

The week I was there was a vacation week (or winter break) from school, so we had a lot of free time on our hands…well, the whole day was free time. They did have a class one day, which April Havlin (the director of Casa Esperanza) taught, on sexual abuse and healthy relatinoships. They start off each morning to the wonderful sound of an alarm like bell at 4am…yes, 4am. Then they have morning devotions, which everyone attends, and the day is off to a very early start. I took Brittanys advice and got up a little earlly to make a quick cup of coffee before the day started- very neccessary. That was one cool thing about Casa Esperanza – Brittany has her own fridge and can cook and eat what she likes – very unlike life at the orphanage. She is given food once a month to feed the girls, and she is in charge of rationing it out and choosing what is to be cooked when. The girls take turns helping to cook, which most of them really enjoy, and we cook breakfast and dinner each day. Lunch is cooked by other women that live there, and is provided for everyone. Other than lunch, everyone eats seperately (each woman has a wood burning stove in their ‘casa’ and are also provided with a monthly allotment of food).

Seeing as we were waking up so early, with nothing planned for the day, we had a LOT of time to come up with ideas for things to do. They taught me how to knit, I brought beads to make necklaces and bracelets, we told stories, played games, and all in all had a pretty good time. They really loved playing with my camera, and dressing up and taking pics…but unfortunately they got a little carried away and it broke. Since I no longer have a camera, these will be the last pictures you see…except for any pics that friends may email me. It was a bummer, but definitely just an accident.

We got locked out of the dorm one night – someone thought it would be funny to lock the door from the inside and then leave – which you cannot unlock with a key. We were stuck outside in the rain, which they thought was hilarious…until we could unscrew bars off one of the windows and send someone to climb through. It was a stressful first night but the rest of the week went really well.
View of the women's houses from inside the 'dorm'
A few of the women’s houses from inside the ‘dorm’
Kenia and her stuff
Kenia, showing off all of her belongings. A team recently came and painted the inside of the dorm bright pink and green – the girls love it!

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