La Esperanza – January Newsletter

What a great first month of the year we have had.  A wonderful visit from Westfield University Global Service Learning Class resulted in the completion of the first section of the new community center for Nueva Esperanza.  This area will be used to teach a lot of cultural classes, such as traditional dancing, making pinatas and other Nicaraguan crafts completely run by the local community.    In addition to building the Westfield group worked with young children in the community focusing on teaching time, and had lots of fun.  They also brought with them an abundance of supplies for our Learning Centers.  Next year’s trip is being planned already.  This was the ninth consecutive year that Westfield have partnered with us.

Then another group that first worked with us last year, Changing Stories, from Canada came down and rebuilt the kindergarten classroom and storage area out at the school of Salamon de la Selva.  They worked along with the local community to virtually build a new place for the young children.  The walls and roof of the old building had so many holes the kids may as well have been outside, and of course there was no protection from the elements or mice for any of their resources.  The group readily made friends with the locals in this small farming community, and they too have set a date already to return next January.  We will certainly be happy to receive them.  They also filled their bags with useful supplies.

Our learning centers have been going full strength and people who have visited are very impressed with how engaged the children are as well as happy and well behaved.  Quite a different experience from our local schools.   I have recently been asked just what happened, how is it that we have made such big changes.  One of the hazards of being here and involved in all that is happening is the tendency to forget that not everybody knows how we have come from A to B and why.  To try and explain that I have written a blog piece titled ‘Why we left the Classrooms’ – please take a few minutes to read it when you have the chance, and feel free to email if it raises any questions.  Here is the link:;postID=8895477523097031246;onPublishedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=0;src=postname

Volunteer numbers were a little low during December, and even in January, but there are lots of bookings for the coming months.  We are looking for some longer term volunteers who could stay for six months or more and may be able to help with accommodation for these more specialized areas, one for English curriculum, one for children’s learning program developement and one to assist with communication and promotion in our office.  Maybe we have former vols interested, or maybe you know someone.  Volunteers here during January were Valentina Rojas, Johannes Prock, Carmela Herbst, Lucas Roca, Anne De Mol, Gregori Sabater González, María De Luis Casquero, Alix Wendy Moon, Bruno Pinsonnault, Sarah Wright, Monique Petiot, Larry Schmidlin, Ella Jarret, Christine Nieto Lavin, Max Bosse, Edward Beauchamp, Robbie Van Nimwegen, Justine McCoy, Camille Aumont, Cloe Moreau, Marielene Stenz, Antonia Grosshoff, and Maja Klostermann.

Also a big thanks to our donors this month (and some I may have missed recently as we have had some problems with PayPal notifications) Russell Montgomery who visited our on line donation store and purchased 50 dental visits, 50 pairs of eye glasses and 10 high school computers, Ed Wall who sent $1000, Kim Walters sent $50, Alessandro Giannini, Wendell Blubaum sent $250 and Miss Greenough sent $200.   We had a donation from the Antrim Lions Club of $1600, motivated by our friend Desi Mcaul.  Through the Nicaragua Forum donations were sent from Stephanie Oehme 100 Euro, Heike Grasshoff 50 Euro and also a donation from Torsten Grasshoff.  And another Euro donation of 1000 from Bas Slob, a long term supporter sent through Nica-Friends.

We have five new ayudantes this year receiving University Scholarships  – their sponsors are Russell Montgomery, the village of Adstock, Jenny and Paul Rassmussen, Onoway Champion Taekwondo School.    We have lots of new high school sponsors too, and of course lots of continuing ones – however we do still have students who are hoping to find a sponsor, so it is not too late for this year.

And lastly hope you will enjoy the pictures from January, here is the link:

A big thank you to all from the La Esperanza Granada team,

Adios amigos.

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