Life in Nicaragua

Two weeks left!

What a way to start your day! This morning (Sunday the 22nd) I woke up surrounded by all my niñas, singing a beautiful song, followed by Happy Birthday – while three girls played it on the flute! It was a wonderful surprise and I will never forget all their faces surrounding me…literally all around me as I was struggling to open my eyes 🙂 Priceless.

Mark, Jenni and their two boys Tate and Theo, were also at the orfa this weekend. They first came back in June (through Orphan Network – the organization that sends teams and handles the sponsorships for the children) when I was still living there, and Jenni has visited one other time. They are hoping to adopt the three sisters (and they live in Beaverton so that would be great for me!) and they are continuing to get more involved in the happenings at Casa Bernabe. It was great to spend time with them, and crazy to think the next time I’ll see them will be in Oregon!

It is great to see people, like Mark and Jenni, who have a wonderful vision for ways they can help the children at the orphanage. While many teams come down with their hearts in the right place, the gifts and ‘fun times’ they bring do little to help and cause more damage than they realize. A while back I had a very productive meeting with Orphan Network in hopes of shedding some light on what life is really like at the orphanage, and how the teams that they send can productively spend their time in Nicaragua. We mainly focused on presents and the entitlement issues that set in with the children. The children see teams, or gringos, as present bringing friends – and they know there will always be more coming. This starts a cycle of entitlement and complete disregard for these ‘objects’ they are given. They learn to see no value in gifts, because as soon as one team leaves, another arrives with more of the same. At our meeting we talked about how we need to start focusing on teaching them how to interact in the outside world, having the teams work with them, and helping them gain a skill set, so they are not completely floored when they step out into the real world. I think we came up with some great solutions, and I hope we’ll see some changes in the teams next summer. While this may all sound random, it’s so important that we educate the people who come to help, so they can truly be effective, in the most productive way possible. It’s easy to come and bring gifts, but what happens when you leave? We need to help the people learn to be able to help themselves or we are simply aiding this horrific cycle of poverty.


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