My new little friends

Throughout my life, I have volunteered and participated in different social projects where I got to see how many people in this country suffer. I have gone through moments of sadness that turned into a sheer and unbreakable desire to help others and change the world. Yet, it was not until recently when I got the chance to meet the three sweetest and most beautiful girls on this planet that I felt completely devastated and utterly impotent. 

For the past week, I was working as a translator for a social project run by a group of Canadians called “Rio del Cambio.” They work with a local community called Citalapa, located in the outskirts of Managua. They provide as much social help to the community as possible, such as housing and education. They soon will be implementing medical assistance programs, a sustainable water system and other projects.

The idea of Rio del Cambio is to address the main problems that the community is facing so it can not only grow, but do so in a sustainable manner. I spent the first two days going around to the houses of the community asking people questions about their economic situation. Even though it was an eye-opening experience to the extreme economic distress these people suffer on a daily basis, I was not as shocked as I should have been because it was something I had expected all along. 

I was not expected to come back on the third day, but my decision to continue my volunteer work for an extra day was the best decision I made. Even though I spent the morning going around visiting houses and conducting surveys, I had some free time after lunch. Since I had not been able to share much time with the people of the community, I decided to talk to the little girls who I had barely had a chance to meet during the previous days.

I am not exaggerating when I say that after 10 minutes of talking to these beautiful girls, who had the biggest smiles in the universe, they followed me around everywhere I went for the rest of the day. After a while, it was incredible to see how walking around holding hands with three little girls turned into a line—one white girl and six little children walking around together. It was overwhelming seeing how sitting down and talking to three little girls turned into a circle of 10 children all urgently talking and trying to get my attention. It was exhilarating to see how jumping around with three little girls turned into a game with seven little kids who were laughing and radiating happiness.

Sharing time with those three little girls was many things. By the time I left that day, they were all begging me to stay; they were all hugging and kissing me and talking about how I was their friend and how excited they were to see me again.

The next day we went to the beach and it was one of the most wonderful experiences I have ever lived. As soon as I stepped out of that bus, I was showered with hugs, kisses, and words of love from those little angels with brown eyes, brown skin, and black hair. They told me how they had woken up that day excited by the idea that they were going to get to see me again. We spent the day swimming, playing, taking pictures, laughing, talking, and just being the happiest four little girls in this planet. They never left my side. Wherever I went they came along, never letting go of my hands because they were scared the other kids would take me away from them. 

Truth be told, I wish I could have taken all of them with me back home, where now I find myself crying. Despite what you might think, I am not sad that I left them because I intend to visit them whenever I get the chance to do so. The tears streaming down my face are due to a feeling of impotence and despair. For the first time in my life, I feel completely powerless because it kills me to think that these three beautiful girls full of happiness, love, and innocence, who are now my friends, will grow up one day in a world where I feel has no place for their wonderful hearts.

It kills me to think that Soliet, Roxana, and Cristel will grow up only to endure the same faith their moms have faced in their lives—a world of poverty, misery, disease, and pain. Most of all, it pains me to know that I cannot grab these precious girls and take them home with me, to keep them warm, to cook them delicious food to eat, to take care of them and protect them from all the bad things that can hurt them. I guess I just realized that as a college student, there is only so much I can do to help them—to visit them whenever I can and counsel them as they grow up. 

It is for this reason that I am urging you to stand up and change the faith of those around you, to lend a hand to those in need, to change the world for the person closest to you because there will come a time in your life where you will feel the same way as a I do.

I know I am only a 20-year-old girl who has yet to live a lot, but if there is one thing I can tell you, it is that these three girls—like so many other people in the world—deserve more than what they have. If you decide to lend a hand to those in need, believe me when I say that after a while you will realize that they are actually the ones who are helping you because there is simply no way to put a price to the smiles in their face, or a value on their kisses and hugs and the endless and unconditional love they express in so many ways, like when they say, “I love you and I will never forget this day.” 

If you’d like to find out more about or contribute to Rio del Cambio, visit www.riodelcambio.org, or email darvon@rogers.com, or call: +1-705-722-5361

Adriana de los Angeles Díaz is 20 years old. She lives in Managua, Nicaragua, and is currently studying Global Business at UAM-CUSE (College of University Studies in English). People can see more of her work here.

  • http://opwr.org Kevin Shea

    You aren’t alone. There are solutions. Hang with me and I will actualize some of them. First in Ostional.

    • Adriana Diaz

      I would love to read about them :)

  • noel

    “a world of poverty, misery, disease, and pain.”
    You know being poor (poverty) does not equate to misery, disease, and pain. Get over your ethocentricity. Not everyone wants to be an obese gringo, over medicated, and in a materialistic society.

    • Adriana Díaz

      Don’t get me wrong. These people have a lot to teach us. Even though I did not say it directly, I hinted at it. They are happy and grateful for what they have. What I meant is that they have wonderful hearts and they do deserve better living conditions. I am not assuming or being condescendant. I know what I am talking about because I went to that community where many families live with a budget of less than 15 dollars a month- many of those families have up to 8 people in one house and usually there is someone who has a serious health problem. They dont have money to get medical help or an education. They live in houses where the floor gets wet when it rains. They live a hard life. And dont get me wrong I am not American, i am Nicaraguan and have grown up seeing this. Many of us have to live a more frugal life because these people with wonderful hearts, who can teach us so much, truly deserve better living conditions.

      • sayayuca

        Adriana, it is from feelings like the ones you experienced that many have dedicated their lives to change the world we live in. There are many worthy causes to embrace. Let’s start with ending hunger and poverty in Nicaragua, then we can move on improving education and implementing social justice for all.

        • Adriana Diaz

          I absolutely agree :). There is so much to do and whatever is within my grasp to change, I will do so.

    • Jorge Greco Rodriguez

      Stop it with the inferiority complex A$$h@le! All this girl is saying that these wondefull children deserve the same standard of living that you and me are used to… And YES! a lot of Nica kids live in poverty, misery,and disease… open your EYES dude

  • Richard W. Cobbs

    I think you relied on spellcheck too often. I assume you meant (change their fate, not change their faith). There is also a second instance of fate/faith.

    • Adriana Diaz

      Haha no, no spellcheck just a simple mistake. Happens when english is your second language. Thanks for catching it though!

  • Chavalo808

    i share some of those same feelings. That’s one reason why I’d like to return to Nicaragua after I’m done with graduate school. I lived there for a couple of years and I came across some of the happiest people I’ve known. I’m sure the Nicaraguan people taught me more than I could ever teach them. Good luck with the volunteer work!

    • Adriana Diaz

      Thank you :). Do come back soon. We need more people like you over here. We’d be glad to have you!

  • Kari

    Giving and assisting the needy, especially in the extreme situations that Adriana witnessed, is challenging. The issues are complicated and filled with road blocks. It is easy to blame the people, blame the politics, blame the economics… The real strength of character is to still remain. Too see through the facade of survive until you find the loving and lovely spirits within as Adriana did.