Life in Nicaragua

Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the Casa Bernabe category.

Two weeks left!

Where does the time go? I just spent the weekend at the orphanage and being there seemed so normal, it seems crazy to think I have not actually lived there for almost 6 months! While so much has happened and there are times when it feels like I’ve been here for a long time, I cannot believe how fast these eight months have flown by!

The weekend at the orphanage was wonderful, and I had a chance to see some really awesome changes in not only the facility, but the children. One in particular, Maricela. If you’ve been following my blog since the beginning, you might remember that Maricela is one of the three sisters that I immediately fell in love with (along with Ana and Maria Teresa). I wrote about her in an August post, about how she had been changing, but now it’s even more apparent! First she was very difficult, angry, never studied, constantly stuck out her tongue rather than speaking, and often gave the impression that she was scared or nervous. Then in August I saw her changing and smiling more, but still very reserved. I am happy to say that is no longer the Maricela that is at the orphanage. She is all smiles and laughter now, she rarely sticks out her tongue, and I even heard her asking Rina for more homework, so she could practice her cursive. In June she was failing all but one class, and she is now proudly passing all of her classes and is about to graduate from the third grade (their school year is Feb – Nov so they are in finals week now). It has been amazing to watch her light up, and you can feel her happiness just by playing with her. She no longer seems scared, but comfortable, relaxed, and even outgoing! I feel very fortunate to have been there to see these changes for myself.

As for changes in the orfa, the new directors are doing an awesome job! They older boys have planted a banana field, they have fixed the old green house and filled it with hydroponic boxes full of all sorts of vegetables, they have four peligueys (a goat/sheep mix) and one pig, and the facility itself is looking great. They have plans to start a chicken coop and to sell some of their MANY mangoes. There is so much space and possibility there, and with their focus sustainability, it is awesome to see some of their ideas come to fruition. One other HUGE plus – they now have a person in charge of agriculture who is mentoring some of the older boys. They are finally beginning to learn something that they can actually use after they leave the orphanage. Preparing them for the outside world is something they have really lacked, and it is nice to finally see changes in that arena as well. There is still a lot of work to be done, but I feel they have come a long way in these past eight months!!

For a bit more this orfa trip, click the title of this post.


It’s not fun being sick in a foreign country…

I know, it’s been a LONG time with no updates! Unfortunately, I still don’t have much to talk to about, since I’ve been in bed for almost three weeks! There’s a Dengue Fever epidemic right now, and one of the kind mosquitoes chose to bite me. I will say – I wish Dengue Fever on NO ONE. My case went from bad to worse, and I ended up with a serious kidney infection – and that’s why I was in bed for so long. I’m happy to say that I am up and moving again (after many doctors visits, pedialite, injections, anitibiotics….) and will be back at House of Hope today! Oh, I left House of Hope to stay at John and Helen’s to recover, and unfortunately two other people at HH currently have Dengue as well. So yes, I’ll be seriously using the repellent with my remaining time there (it’s said to be worse the second time- which I cannot imagine).

Anyway, life is great here and I am soo excited to get back and get some quality time with the women and children. I miss them! Here’s a few pics from life before the sickness, and my visit to the orphanage (which went really well by the way).

Is this not the cutest thing ever?? Her mom made this outfit for her in one day! (Go DUCKS 😉

Margarita, Connie and I at Camino de Vida – the Saturday morning kids church.

The kids at the Casa Bernabe had a school dance presentation – each group represented a different region of Nicaragua, and their traditional dance. Ana and Ruben are in orange, and Mileydi and her school partner are in blue. They were ADORABLE!!


A weekend at the orphanage

Casa Bernabe is undergoing some staff changes, which left them short-handed last weekend, so I spent a few days hanging with the kids and helping out where I could. It was really nice to be able to relax and enjoy my time there – not rushing off to get to the bus before dark. The days were mostly filled running around outside, searching for the last of the mangoes, and playing some games (they just got a few new ones and are VERY excited about them:jacks, UNO, Candy Land and Trouble). You know how much I love games, but it still amazes me how long they can be entertained with one particular thing. After about the 6th consecutive game of Trouble I had to take a break!
On the hunt for mangoes…

Rina, the main caretaker for the girls is out sick, so Friday night another employee, Payita, and I went to her house for a visit – hopefully she’ll be back with the kids soon! On Sunday I headed to church with the kids, and then went on my my way, enjoying yet another adventure on the bus. Fortunately, the kids are used to me coming and going at this point, so the goodbyes are much easier – something I’m very grateful for!
Watching Beauty and the Beast before bed (they now have a whole collection of Disney movies!! :))

For more details, click the title of the post…

A week spent with women

For the past week, life here at the Little’s has been very different; the house has been filled with women. Helen had organized a women’s team to come and stay at the house, and to head out into the community and serve other Nica women for the week. We spent time with the women of El Faro (the church right outside the dump ‘la chureca’, we went to Casa Bernabe to serve the women who work there, we spent a few days in Leon working with the communities of La Ceiba and Las Chacaras, and we also had a chance to spend some quality time with the women of Casa Esperanza.

All in all it was a great week filled with new experiences and new friendships – I’m sad to see them leave! To read more about our week, click on the title of this post…

Why do ‘goods’ always have to come with ‘bads’?

I’ve been back to visit Casa almost once a week since I left, and while I love seeing the children, it can be tough going back. Many of the children already have such abandonment issues, so the fact that I left – yet still come back to visit is hard for them to understand. It’s hard to attach, because they know I’m going to leave again…in a matter of hours sometimes. But they know me, are comfortable with me, it’s easy. It’s a wonderful, dreadful, happy and extremely sad event – every week – that I can’t stop doing. Don’t want to stop doing. Won’t stop doing.

To read about my latest visit, my beautiful little Ana, and our difficult relationship, click the title of this post…


A little background

For those who haven’t been tuned in since the beginning of my journey, Casa Bernabe is the orphanage that I lived and worked at for my first two months in Nica. I stayed with and cared for the young girls, ages 6-14, and it was a beautiful, difficult, learning, stressful, joyful experience. While I was excited to experience life outside of the orfa, it was hard to say goodbye and part from all my wonderful kids.
from mels cam 015
To read older posts and see more pictures of the kids, you can visit