From Cheri Mellor, Language Department:
I was talking with Rafaela this morning about students who go to school at la Nicaraguita. There are 276 students total in the school and many of them have a hard time paying the monthly fees. There are in the neighborhood many, many children who either go to the local public school, where classes can have up to 70 kids or some simply don’t go to school. Those kids are the ones who often help out the family by selling things in the street (tortillas, soup, bottled water….). Pauline McKean and I started in 2006 an effort (called “U-Nica”) wherein people help out by sponsoring a child in any grade so that they can attend la Nicaraguita. There are now about 20 families or individuals who do this annually. They sponsor one child for the remainder of that child’s elementary and high school education at la Nicaraguita. It is very satisfying work….
This morning, while talking with Rafaela, she thought of another neighborhood boy who is in need of getting more attention at school. She invited him and his father in the office and offered him a spot in school. The father and his son’s reaction was one of surprise and relief all at once. He would start tomorrow! This boy, like all the kids in the U-Nica program will have a chance at a better education and hopefully will go on to college, like most of the U-Nica kids. It was very gratifying to see this boy, who lives with 30 of his relatives under one roof, smile even nervously while imagining how school will be different for him now.
If you would like to know more about U-Nica, please write Cheri Mellor or Pauline McKean a note. We’d be happy to tell you all about it.
From Hanna ’15:
I had an amazing morning at La Nicaraguita. After two weeks working with a group of four year olds. I have become very attached to some of the children. My favorite, by far, is a little boy called Jeremy, who looks like he came straight from the “Lilo and Stich” movie. He has a round face, large brown eyes, and wears his hair perfectly slicked back. Today he walked into class very distressed, upset that his dad had to leave. The “Prote” of my class walked Jeremy over to me, he had tears streaming down his face. Jeremy must have hugged me for five minutes. It was not until that moment that I realized how much I love these children. My heart broke holding Jeremy, and I found myself comforting him like he was family. The gracious, warm culture of “El barrio Riguero” has began to really sink in and affect my personality. It is very special.
This afternoon, we returned to the place we were yesterday and we learned more about recycling.There, they showed us how to use cardboard boxes and after cutting out a pattern, we made archive holders, where you can put magazines, folders, papers and keep them on a bookshelf. We decorated them and covered them in plastic at the end. All in the name of recycling!