8-13-14 | Volunteers
Here, Gemma Campos, a Fabretto volunteer from Spain, recounts the story of her encounter with Luis Steven, a preschool student who benefits from Fabretto’s rural education programs.
“When we got off the bus on the bridge that crosses the river Tapacalí María, the preschool teacher at Rafael María Fabretto in San José de Cusmapa pointed to a nearby house and said to me: ‘that one!’
“We had come to visit the home of Luis Steven, a 4-year-old boy that lives 30 minutes by bus (or one hour by foot) from his school. His parents live in Costa Rica, where they were forced to move to look for work, so Luis Steven lives with his grandparents.
“When we got to the house, Luis Steven was playing with a hand-made wooden truck that his uncle had given him as a birthday present last July 19th, the same day as the Nicaraguan Revolution. ‘He was born on a special day, which means he is going to be a special boy,’ his grandmother Teresa says, talking proudly of her grandson.
Luis Steven, playing with his hand-made wooden truck.
“Before becoming Luis’ caretakers, his grandparents lived in Chinandega, where the closest school was nearly 4 hours from their house. In order to be closer to a school, they moved to their current house when Luis began living with them. For Doña Teresa, education is of utmost importance, so she helps Luis with his homework, and does her best to motivate him to study. Although it takes a lot of effort, she is determined to help.
“In the morning, one of Luis’ grandparents accompanies him on the bus to school, in Cusmapa, while the other works the fields. His grandfather tells me: ‘He’s still very young, and the idea of him going alone scares me.’ It’s very important that Luis receives this support from his family, such that despite the difficulties of travelling to school, he will have the motivation to continue his education.
“In the future, when Luis begins primary school, he will walk with three other kids who live nearby. Together they will have to walk about an hour to their school in Cusmapa. ‘Are you still going to go to school when you have to walk?’ I ask him, ‘definitely!’ he responds, and I can see in his eyes that it’s the truth.”
Gemma and little Luis, meeting for the first time.
Life in rural Nicaragua can be very difficult for children like Luis. More than 80% of Nicaraguans facing extreme poverty live in rural communities. However, Fabretto continues to bring hope through education and nutrition programs. With the support of Fabretto and his grandparents, Luis is preparing to excel in first grade and beyond.