Two weeks ago, I set foot in a country I knew very little about. My husband’s friend Hamid, who moved to Nicaragua four years ago, told us about the mountains, the climate and that he lived in a modest neighborhood. It all sounded so amazing. So, when he invited us to visit him, I didn’t hesitate on the opportunity of exploring a new country.
We arrived at the bus station in Matagalpa at 6:00 PM, grabbed a taxi and handed the driver Hamid’s address. We drove for about 15 minutes. The cab driver stopped and said, “Here you go, this is the place.” We were in the middle of a dirt road. It was pitch dark. Stray dogs running all around. People sitting on the ground doing nothing. Kids running on the road bare foot. Houses made out of plastic walls and metal roofs. I leaned forward to the cab driver from the back seat and asked, “Are you sure? It doesn’t seem like the right place.” He turned to me and replied, “This is as far as I can go. The address should be a few meters up the hill.” I sat there, looking out the window, afraid to open the car door. “It can’t be right,” I said to Pascal. The driver noticed our hesitation to get out and asked if we had Hamid’s phone number so we can use his phone to call him. Pascal called him. Hamid answered and said, “Yes, I see your taxi. Walk up the road a few meters. My house is the third one up. I am waving my hands.” We had never met Hamid in person and OMG! This was it!
Four years ago, after travelling across Nicaragua for a year, Hamid decided this place would be his home. That night, I honestly couldn’t understand his decision. The next day, not only did I understand but, I was extremely grateful for having been given the precious gift of being among some of the most beautiful, warm, loving souls.
They all live in tiny houses with mainly one living area, made out of metal where under the hot sun, their homes turn into ovens. They hardly have clean running water. Many don’t have electricity. For those who do, the power goes out every day for 4 hours. They live on $4 per day. The majority of the children have one meal per day for lunch at school. This is just a glimpse of it.
Hamid renovated his home slightly for a more comfortable living but, he’s subject to losing power, no hot water and having his home fumigated every week to prevent diseases and illnesses from insects.
So, why is this one of the most precious gifts I have received?
We all heard about how a simple ‘hello’ or a smile can brighten up someone’s day, right? Well, here, it’s to a whole other level.
That morning, I stepped outside the house and watched as the moms were walking their kids to the elementary school which is facing Hamid’s house to the left. They looked so adorable. I smiled, waved and said hello to them. With every hello, each and every one of their faces, brightened up with a smile so wide and their eyes lit up with tears of joy. Some ran over to me for a hug! Later that day, I noticed them walking by the house, trying to look in. I went outside and as soon as they saw me, they were so happy and thrilled. I went over to them; we sat on the edge of a broken cement wall and exchanged names. The look in their eyes sent a deep warmth in my heart. So deep, that in every moment, even for a second when our eyes meet, I felt a complete presence and connection. In that moment, nothing else mattered. A total bliss, peacefulness and joy filled up deep inside.
My presence, my acknowledging them with a simple hello, brightens up their entire day. In return, they have sparked a flame deep in my heart. It’s no doubt; these people have many, many struggles. Most of these children climb down intense steep mountains to go to school and up again to go home.
They never, ever, ever complain!
I have decided that this place will be home for the next six weeks and give more than just my presence. I’ve already gotten involved in some activities with the children.
I need your help for a big event coming up.
Let me tell you more about it and how you can contribute to bringing a bigger smile to these children’s faces.
Last New Year’s day, Hamid organized an event in front of his house. He had food, games, face painting and small gifts for the kids. With no sponsors, no outside help and no announcement, about 300 children showed up. They all loved it! It was like going to Disney Land.
He spoke to us about holding this event again this year. He would like to extend it to all the kids from all the remote neighborhoods. There are so many of them! Pascal and I will definitely help to make this happen and give the opportunity to as many children as possible enjoy activities they normally wouldn’t be able to. We need to raise funds before being able to determine how many neighborhoods we could invite.
Depending on our finances, we hope to bring together more than 800 kids. A group of 20 people have already volunteered to help on that day.
Here’s how you can make a difference for a child to experience something that will be cherished and remembered for a long time. Just a small donation can help make that difference. The cost per child is approximately $2 USD. It will cover food, games, music, face painting, entertainment (plays, dancing, and singing), clowns and more. If you’re able and would like to contribute, please contact me here or via a personal message on Facebook. I will answer you within 12 hours.
A great big GRACIAS in advance!