Building Hope in Nicaragua – a Story from buildOn Staff
The following story is from buildOn Nicaragua Impact Officer Sergio Matus. Sergio has been a part of the buildOn team since 2013. He previously served as a Field Coordinator, leading the partnership and construction of scores of buildOn schools in Nicaragua and Guatemala.
Sometimes during our work, we encounter beautiful surprises. This happened when I met Norbely, a bright 10-year-old girl from Oskiwás, a community in the remote San José de Bocay municipality of Nicaragua. She was born in another community, very near Matagalpa, called Villa Kokomo. buildOn partnered with the community to build four classrooms, and she went to school there for a few years.
Due to family reasons, Norbely had to leave Villa Kokomo and move to Oskiwás, where the conditions of the school were appalling. The school change was a shock. There were leaks coming from the roof, rotten wood in the walls, dirt floors, poor ventilation, and bad lighting.
When buildOn came to the community to talk to the teachers and community leaders about organizing the village for the project, I noticed a little girl making an effort to talk to us. It was Norbely.
She told us that the minute we came into her classroom, she recognized the buildOn logo on our t-shirts, and the impression it gave her was that we were going to build them a nice new school like the one she went to before in Villa Kokomo.
I cannot tell you the pride I felt when I heard this. In part, because I was the Field Coordinator for the Villa Kokomo project, but mainly because we are bringing hope to children that desire to study in a place where they can feel comfortable.
The day after I met her, she told me her classmates were practically singing and dancing on the way to their houses after class. They were filled with the joy that they would be getting a new school.
Today, the school in Oskiwás is finished and Norbely has this to say: “I feel very proud because we have a school that is better than the one we had before. You have given us a beautiful school.”
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It´s heartwarming to hear from a child how they feel when they have to study in bad conditions that are not suitable for their education: “We were afflicted because the parents didn´t want to cooperate to build a new school,” said Norbely.
It´s not that the parents didn´t want to cooperate, but their resources did not allow them to afford that expense. As children, they may not understand it, but that´s why an organization like buildOn has to exist, to give them a chance to improve their community if they´re willing to work.
Norbely has a heart of gold, too. She dreams of becoming a teacher and visiting other communities, and if they have a bad school, like the one we replaced, she dreams of helping them build a better one.
So, she pleads to all buildOn supporters: “I ask you to continue to help other communities that need a school as we did before.” She also says thank you and wishes for you to keep prospering.
Sometimes it’s hard to say who has more satisfaction: a village celebrating their first proper school or a buildOn staff member realizing the impact of the work they do? It has to be a tie.
Curious what it’s like to travel to Oskiwás to break ground on a buildOn school? Check out the virtual groundbreak video below for an exclusive look!