Hello, and Happy New Year! I know it’s a bit late, but I’ve only just returned from Nicaragua and Honduras, and then a field trip with some high school students for a week. So now I finally have time to sit and write about our girls.
My trip to Nicaragua was wonderful. I got to finally meet Karina, and immediately fell madly in love with her. She’s absolutely delightful: grounded and sweet and funny and very dedicated to her studies, her family and her dreams. Yosmari is doing well, although we all believe she can do better than she is doing. Yulisa will unfortunately need to repeat her first year of secondary school, and we will give her another chance to see if she can make up her performance. Glenda is currently making up two classes that she didn’t pass, so that she can enter her second year in February. We also have two new scholarship recipients: Sua and Alondra, who came to us through Marina, our contact in El Sauce. They are both sweet girls and if their report cards are any indication, they are great students. Sua is 10 and knows that she wants to be a doctor. Alondra is only 8 right now, so she hasn’t thought much about it, but she has a little time!
In Honduras, I got to meet Camila and her family and see her new school, the Living Water Academy. Cami is another bright, sparkling, happy soul, and she is doing very well in her new school and enjoys it a lot. Klaudina has finished 5 out of 12 levels of her English courses, and is doing fantastic. Both she and Cami speak English quite well, although Klaudina is a little shy about speaking it to me. I told her that if I am willing to make mistakes in my Spanish, she can do the same in her English! Since ONE has already paid for all the English courses, which go for another year, we decided to start paying for Klaudina’s regular school, where she also does very well. She made me a lovely red knitted scarf as a present—that’s the picture on this week’s blog post. It has come in very handy on my return to COLD northern Arizona! It was simply terrific to see all of the girls, and to meet our new students.
The girls elsewhere are doing great. Some friends of mine from Alaska went to Nepal to go trekking and were able to stop in Dhulikhel to meet Bharosha and Swostika and their teacher (and our contact), Subash at the school. Bart took some wonderful photos and sent them to me, and they are up on the website. We also received some delightful photos of Wini, Jeni A. and Jeni J. in Tanzania from their Christmas celebration. They are so beautiful!
Some sad news we received about Mamta in India is that she is no longer a part of our program, but not because of her performance. Our contact (and her teacher), Aarti said she was doing great and becoming more and more empowered, but her parents, and especially her father, were counteracting that at every turn. Mamta confided to Aarti that her father was becoming violent with her and it was clear to Aarti that the worry was beginning to take a toll on Mamta’s emotional and physical health. I am more sad than I can say. I know that one of the biggest problems we face at times in accomplishing this work will be cultural barriers. There is little to nothing that we can do right now to change that. Perhaps in the future, we will be able to work in that direction as well, but now we cannot endanger a little girl to try and educate her. Aarti has another girl that needs help as well, and we are waiting on an application for her.
There will be more news in the upcoming weeks, but that’s the big picture for now. Please go to the website to check out all the new photos of our girls in Nepal, Nicaragua, Tanzania and Honduras, and to meet our two new Nicaraguan students: Sua and Alondra. I am hoping to post some links to some videos that I took as well, and I will let you know when that happens.
2012 was a wonderful year—I so look forward to 2013, and meeting more girls to work with so that they can move forward and make their dreams come true. Thank you all for your continued support of ONE’s mission!
With gratitude, Christa