Lessons from Nicaragua

November 17, 2009

Last week, our family dusted off our Spanish-English dictionaries, left coats and sweaters behind and once again found ourselves in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. This was our fourth trip here and as always, we returned to Canada feeling a little humbled by the experience. Each time we come to Nicaragua, we are reminded that staying positive in the face of adversity takes on a whole new meaning here. There is no place where this is more obvious than at Los Pipitos, SJDS’s new school for children with special needs.
Los Pipitos is located in the Barrio Nuevo, just off the highway. At first glance, there is not much to the little school. It is tucked away in a residential area and is surrounded by a high fence. If you look more closely, however, you will see something that the average passer-by might not notice; a certain quality of hopefulness can be felt here. If you are lucky enough to find yourself inside Los Pipitos, you will see that this impression is correct. People are happy here.
The school has its origins in a little cupboard in the San Juan del Sur Spanish School. The first time we came to Nicaragua, we quickly realized we needed to work on our Spanish and were lucky enough to stumble upon Veronica Castro’s school. Veronica started out as our teacher, but quickly became our friend. One day, she showed us some teaching materials she had gathered and told us of her dream to open a school for disabled children who couldn’t go to the public school. We left Nicaragua after that trip knowing that we were definitely coming back, but more importantly, that we were going to do what we could to make Veronica’s dream possible.
Last September, that dream became a reality, as the school opened its doors for the first time. There have been mistakes and many obstacles along the way, but every day, Los Pipitos is open to those kids who previously, had to stay home. They have a fantastic and hard-working teacher, Liliane. They have meals every day, as well as access to a physiotherapist. Some have learned to read; others have begun to make money through the sale of various crafts. Soon, they will have a sewing machine, more physiotherapy equipment and a CD player for music—many love to dance!
Our lives have been enriched by the people we’ve met in Nicaragua and by the experiences we’ve had there. As well as Los Pipitos, we’ve also become involved with the elementary school, San Francisco de Asis, and by anther little school in Ojachal. If you have the opportunity to visit any of these places, you will find a warm welcome awaits you. You’ll likely walk away feeling a little more hopeful and positive yourself! And should you happen to be at the SJDS Spanish School in the blue restaurant across from the BDF bank, drop in and congratulate Veronica on a job well done.Last week, our family dusted off our Spanish-English dictionaries, left coats and sweaters behind and once again found ourselves in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. This was our fourth trip here and as always, we returned to Canada feeling a little humbled by the experience. Each time we come to Nicaragua, we are reminded that staying positive in the face of adversity takes on a whole new meaning here. There is no place where this is more obvious than at Los Pipitos, SJDS’s new school for children with special needs.
Los Pipitos is located in the Barrio Nuevo, just off the highway. At first glance, there is not much to the little school. It is tucked away in a residential area and is surrounded by a high fence. If you look more closely, however, you will see something that the average passer-by might not notice; a certain quality of hopefulness can be felt here. If you are lucky enough to find yourself inside Los Pipitos, you will see that this impression is correct. People are happy here.
The school has its origins in a little cupboard in the San Juan del Sur Spanish School. The first time we came to Nicaragua, we quickly realized we needed to work on our Spanish and were lucky enough to stumble upon Veronica Castro’s school. Veronica started out as our teacher, but quickly became our friend. One day, she showed us some teaching materials she had gathered and told us of her dream to open a school for disabled children who couldn’t go to the public school. We left Nicaragua after that trip knowing that we were definitely coming back, but more importantly, that we were going to do what we could to make Veronica’s dream possible.
Last September, that dream became a reality, as the school opened its doors for the first time. There have been mistakes and many obstacles along the way, but every day, Los Pipitos is open to those kids who previously, had to stay home. They have a fantastic and hard-working teacher, Liliane. They have meals every day, as well as access to a physiotherapist. Some have learned to read; others have begun to make money through the sale of various crafts. Soon, they will have a sewing machine, more physiotherapy equipment and a CD player for music—many love to dance!
Our lives have been enriched by the people we’ve met in Nicaragua and by the experiences we’ve had there. As well as Los Pipitos, we’ve also become involved with the elementary school, San Francisco de Asis, and by anther little school in Ojachal. If you have the opportunity to visit any of these places, you will find a warm welcome awaits you. You’ll likely walk away feeling a little more hopeful and positive yourself! And should you happen to be at the SJDS Spanish School in the blue restaurant across from the BDF bank, drop in and congratulate Veronica on a job well done.

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In memory of Elisabeth Rose Elder, 1974-2012. 

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