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Responsibility and initiative

My name is Anna, I am a volunteer in the Paraíso de Infancia Los GUSANITOS in Granada. First of all, I would like to say that every volunteering experience may be different depending on your own initiatives and likes. However, there is always a need for extra hands with the youngest children, so I spend a lot of time with them. Currently the youngest child is just 9 months old. It has been great to see him develop from wanting to be carried around all the time (and crying when this did not happen) to preferring playing with the other children (and now barely ever cries). This young group plays a lot, and when they don’t, they either sleep or eat! After we all have lunch together, I help with brushing their teeth and getting them ready for nap time.
Three times a week I teach English to three groups of children. One group is very young with children of just 2-3 years, and to be honest, it is a challenge to play with them in English. It is easier with the older groups of children who are around 5 – and many of these children really want to learn English. We have done a lot of drawing, singing, and games to learn some vocabulary. In the afternoons I also help the children with their homework. Many are learning how to write the letters and numbers – which can be very difficult for some children. In fact, this is one of the reasons Los GUSANITOS is such an important project for the children. I was quite shocked to see that some children up to the age of 10 did not know the letters – let alone how to read. Given the low standard of education in some of the schools, it is good that the children can receive some extra classes here.
A second reason why Los GUSANITOS is important is its function as a safe place to spend the day. There is food, responsible adults, and friends. There are fun activities and useful social and educational lessons. Sadly, the alternative for many children would be very different to this. My first impression of Granada was actually that the poverty did not seem as extreme as I had imagined. However, I now know more about what kinds of problems there are. I know that some parents do not care to send their children to school and some do not (or cannot) feed their children. The children need day care centres like these to learn new values and to improve their chances for a better future.
(Anna Buus Kristensen, Denmark)

Surely, never is too late…

The reason why I’m writing is to share with you about my experiences that I’ve have during the last four years that I’ve being working in “Paraíso de Infancia Los Gusanitos, in the Tamarindo.
When I started working in Los Gusanitos I never thought that I will be able to finish the high school, but even thought about my limitations as a single mother of two children, this year finally I will do it. When I look back, I have to say that the combination of fulfilling my obligations as a mother, also as a Madrina of fourteen children in age of puberty and also with my high school studies not always was easy. Finally, I can say that definitely is a YES, all those efforts were worth it. I am so excited for graduation from high school that I can’t wait any anymore for this special day that I will celebrate in big because with the high school graduation I have opened the doors to university studies. Actually I don’t know which career I will take due to I like so much the profession of lawyer as well as business administration or accounting, but I still have six months to decide which career I will take.
These successes do not just attach to my efforts but also to God and Priska, I thanks to her for the opportunity and the support that she unconditionally gave me during all this time.
I wish God Bless to Priska and also to the people that collaborate with Los Gusanitos.
(Catalina del Socorro González)

The big difference between Tamarindo and Sabaneta

Time goes by and while our children grow up, we are getting older and getting new challenges with them.
Three years ago, I came at Los Gusanitos Tamarindo , where I found myself with children that despite their limitations, were thirsty for learning, each one with a peculiar way of being that always differentiated them.
The beginning of this experience at Tamarindo Center was hard for me, because I was in front of a big challenge. As a first part I will start with the work of everyday:
School reinforcement: All of them were willing to take their backpack and get into the classroom to work in their homework’s from school but the confrontation began when the topic that they had in school that day was hard to understand, happened that because of the frustration to not understand this topic their minds got locked and they were not able to work by their self in the homework and they used to says to their self “I can’t do it”. But with little pushes and small talks to encourage them now they are able to work in their homework by their self, certainly, sometimes with a little help and explanations when they found themselves confuse with a homework.
Work in group: This always was a little problem for them, due to at the time to cooperate together in just one work, they finished in a big fight and one of them finished the work of all of them, but at the end they found the way how to go in the right direction, specially the bigger ones.
Music: This topic at the beginning was difficult due to I could not suggest a something different than reggaeton but after lot of times trying something different, I showed them different music genres but without taking away their favorite music genre.
Eventually, when we talk about the changes and experiences that I had in Los Gusanitos Tamarindo, I must say that they were a lots but the most that made the difference has been their school learning, after lot of ups and downs that they had, they found the right road despite of the inconvenient in school.
Now, my challenge is at Los Gusanitos Sabaneta. The day after the opening, our first meeting with a small group of children that didn’t know about limits or rules, especially with an ugly vocabulary. With this small group we had days full of energy, coming with crying songs every day, how to forget the first day of Randy, yelling kicking and crying and also every dat with a small punishment for his bad behavior, also we cannot avoid mention Maxi, his first days were hard for him, especially when his mom came to leave him in our home, something that we knew very well of him is that he love food and also vegetables, that not all children like, so Maxi at time to eat is big example for the others children 😀
One month later, Los Gusanitos Sabaneta opened the doors to more children, we can see in them lot of learning deficit, kids that are have to take two school grades in one, for example, first and second grade at the same time or third and fourth grade also at the same time, and even they are in this grade, they still have problem to recognize the vowels and is there where our job is harder, we started from zero with them and stronger than school, since the disinterest about education is bigger and not just from our kids, this is also coming from the authorities that are in charge of this job, that being principals and teachers they don’t care if their students learn the lesson or not.
But our hopes do not die, they grow up, because our goal is that our children learn more than the Nicaraguan education program offer, without taking away the peculiar way of being that make them be unique.
(Andrea Pacheco)

Devotion, love, patience and perseverance

After the successful opening this past 1° of May, this May 2° has begun the “seriousness” of life” in Los Gusanitos Sabaneta with our first 10 children. I will tell you a little bit about the experience that we have witnessed, in which we began a hard work.
Beginning with so much energy, big goals and challenges to fulfil, in this two weeks we were able to witness the big weaknesses in learning and usually in the whole areas. We received the first scores from Adriana, Geovanny, Oscar and Karen, evaluating some sad scores, you can imagine how they are. For this reason, we were telling you about challenges to fulfil that we will get gently with dedication, love and lot of patience, without miss the constancy in order to persevere.
I will also tell you about the way that children have joy and fun, with just the fact of being with us, they don’t even want to go home at the time that they have to leave.
Maxi (2½ years old) is one of them, he enjoys play with the Madrinas. At the beginning just seeing, without stop crying, without say any word. One step that we already got with him, is that he stops crying and start to enjoy about the childhood. He asks for water and repeat words that make us laugh. When we ask Maxi: ¿Would you like to have more food? Or ¿would you like to have more juice? Or sometime else: he usually answers with a “NO” instead “YES”. Meanwhile we have become accustomed. In spite of his short vocabulary, we know what Maxi is trying to say.
His sister Adriana (12 years old) doesn’t stand behind. Since this 2° of May she has been going to school every day, although in the beginning she was ashamed to go in first grade with the little ones, in the meantime, her back has stretched a little, almost already she doesn’t walk with a back of granny of 80 years old, with a messy bun. That is, her self-esteem, in short time has grown a little. Among others, this guilt come from the magic hands of the godmothers Kelly and Andrea. It turns out the sad history, Adriana’s hair has never seen the shampoo, even none a comb. Thus our godmothers took a long time to make her look pretty, getting so many YAYYYY’s! From part of the involved. Since that time, every weekend she come to my door to borrow a comb to make herself look pretty.*
This is how we are glad of the little big advances that we have achieved in short time with our first 10 dear children.
In the last few days, Priska and I have been visiting different “houses” of futures children. Where hard days, get confront with the inhuman realities in which our futures children’s family live. Sad days that gave sleepless nights, tears, anger and much more. So, our emotions had to endure some and other storms, for our infinite impotence. From June 1° we are going to increase the amount from 10 to 28 and we will continue in the future keeping you informed about the advances.
*Remark: We would like to give to Adriana a comb, a soap, etc. to her can use it in her house. The problem is that, she would not have it for day without her own family snatch them to exchange it for money.
(Ingrid De Los Ángeles Maltéz Mejía)

THANK YOU for your solidarity

On May the 1st, we had created altogether a home of harmony and security. A little paradise, that provides to 40 girls and boys more, a better future. THANK YOU for all those words full of congratulation and good wishes in our new project that I had received between all the media. With pleasure I will transmit sinceriously gratitude to our Madrinas, volunteers, family, partners, sponsors, individual donors, friends and helpers, because without the effort of a harmonious set, the Paraiso de Infacia Sabaneta had never been born.
THANK YOU for your solidarity, THANK YOU for your confident and THANK YOU for always being loyal to our side.