8-30-14  |  Volunteers

The Little Princess in the Mountains

BY: Gemma Campos

Gemma Campos is a Fabretto volunteer. She visited Aguascalientes, Nicaragua, a community that Fabretto supports with education and nutrition programs, including the community preschool.

August 5th, Aguascalientes, Nicaragua

At first, I didn’t understand why Eudyn, Fabretto staff member, laughed when I said, “Today I can drive the motorcycle!” After the last few days traveling with him to different rural communities, I felt confident. But as we made our way to Aguascalientes, after an hour on the rocky, steep terrain, dizzying descents and hairpin curves, I fully understood his response.

Aguascalientes is one of the most remote, isolated communities in the region near San Jose de Cusmapa. When we finally arrived, we visited the Bellas Aguas preschool, located at the home of teacher Marcia, who for seven years has opened her doors to teach the children in the community. Fabretto supports the preschool with school suppplies and food products for school lunch. Marcia has also been able to receive training and professional development – an opportunity she’d never have had otherwise.

In the makeshift classroom, children from three grade levels share their class with the natural environment. As Marcia and the children sang a song, a rooster and chicken wandered under the chairs. When a volunteer mother arrived to deliver the school lunch she’d cooked at her house, a horse peeked through the window. During recess, the children played in a creek in front of Marcia’s home, unaware of three large cows meandering by.

However, there was one thing that surprised them – me. “They aren’t used to visitors,” explained Marcia. Most of the children were very shy, but one girl, five-year-old Meylin, watched me carefully. In her princess dress, she smiled at me and seemed to want to approach, but when I spoke to her, she hid her smile under her hands.

Meylin is one of the students who lives farthest from the school, across a river. She lives with her mother, two siblings, and a cousin whose parents passed away. For the past 2 years, Meylin has walked about 3 miles across the mountainous terrain to reach school. Usually a family member accompanies her, but sometimes she must walk up to half of the distance alone.

On the day that I visited her school, Meylin’s siblings had not arrived. She was preparing to set out alone when I asked if I could accompany her. Her face lit up with joy, and we set out together. The journey took us through steep, narrow paths; we had to climb over rocks and bend under fallen trees. When we arrived at the river bank, Meylin expertly navigated her way around and over the rocks in the water, showing me the best place to cross. Throughout our journey, she glanced back constantly to ensure that I was still behind her.

After half an hour, we saw a boy approaching on a donkey – Meylin’s cousin, coming to find her. As we said goodbye, I realized that without knowing, Meyling, the little princess in the mountains, had showed me the true meaning of determination and overcoming obstacles for education.

Fabretto’s programs help children like Meylin and her class in Aguascalientes access education and reduce child malnutrition through school meals. You can make a difference – just $25 can support a preschool student with a month of education and meals. Change a life by making a donation today.

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