Life in Nicaragua

A week spent with women

From pedicures to manicures, hair cuts to small talk, we spent the week pampering some of the hard-working women here in Nicaragua. Barbara from Portland, Lorena from LA, YiTing from New York, Esme from Costa Rica, Vilena – an El Salvadoran who lives here in Nica, Judith a young Nicaraguan, and Helen, made up this women’s team. It was a fun mixture of people, with some only able to speak English, some only Spanish, and a few who could help chat with both.

In Las Chacaras, one of the communities where John and Helen continually work and where the women make predominantly purses, Esme was a huge hit! While some of us were pampering the women and others were playing with the children, Esme (who is also a seamstress) was sharing patterns and new sewing techniques. She brought different styles of purses, many new ideas, and even a pattern for an apron that some of the younger women can make without a sewing machine (this type of apron is very popular, as all of the women that sell items/food on the street use them to hold their money). Esme was in her element, sharing her passion with such a captive audience and the women of the sewing co-op (8 in all) were mesmerized by all the new ideas! We practically had to drag her away from them when it was time to go πŸ™‚

On our last day with the team, we headed to Casa Bernabe to serve the women who work there. It was great to get a chance to pamper and chat with the women who work so hard and rarely – if ever – get recognized. Many of the women work seven days a week, and the caretakers work 24 hours a day with three days off after every 15 day stint. That job truly is your life, as there is no time for anything outside the orphanage, and the pay is less than you can imagine. Basically, they LOVED being pampered and they truly deserved it! It was nice to get to serve women that I already knew – much more to chat about πŸ™‚ I had a long chat with Payita and Rina, who have become two of my close friends, and they got me up to date on all that is going on at the orphanage. I also got to spend some time playing with the kids, and Ana was wonderful! We had a fabulous day and it was a great way to end our week!
From left to right: Barbara, Yiting, Esme (Esmeralda), Judith, Lorena, me, Helen, and Sandra (the head of the sewing co-op in Las Chacaras). You can see some of the purses hanging in the background. All of the sewing is done on Sandra’s mother’s property – they have a little ranchon with a cement floor (the only cement on the property – there is no floor in the house) and they pull out their treadle machines daily to work and create new products to sell in the neighborhood and the large market in Leon.


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