The money raised goes straight to helping the children living in La Chureca - Managua's city dump.
This past spring break I was blessed with the opportunity to head back to Managua, Nicaragua for a week with UVA’s Nicaraguan Orphan Fund. While there, we stayed at Casa Bernabae, an orphanage in Managua. We spent time with the kids there and in the surrounding community, but we particularly focused our attention on the children of La Chureca.
La Chureca is simply Managua’s city dump. More than that, however, it is a working and living community. The people of La Chureca earn their living by sifting through the trash in search of recyclables, and they even live in the dump itself. The extreme pain and poverty in this community is unimagineable, and something I wrestle with daily, but at the same time, it was in the heart of La Chureca that I have felt some of the most intense love and joy.
We spent some time at the school in La Chureca playing with the kids and reading to them. My first activity there was to hoist children one by one onto my shoulders and run around with them. One boy was particularly fascinated by the fact that if he threw all of his weight in one direction, his “caballo” would move accordingly. I don’t think my shoulders have ever been so wonderfully sore as after that morning. When my shoulders and back began to scream for a break, I started to talk to a quiet, shy little girl, quite the contrast from the energetic boy I had put down. Without responding to my asking her name and age, she just reached over for me to hold her. I spent the rest of the morning doing just that - holding and hugging her. So much was said by both of us in those simple actions. Without ever really talking, she expressed a desire for love, comfort, and hope. And in some small way, just by holding her, I was able to provide that.
And those things are just what those children need: love, comfort, hope. Upon our return many of us still felt the pull of those needs of La Chureca on our hearts and felt the need to do something about it. We have decided to have our 2nd annual “Barefoot Week” for Nicaragua, raising money for La Chureca. The idea is that we will spend a week walking around Grounds without shoes, just as many of the children of La Chureca do every day. We hope to truly understand the meaning of compassion by suffering alongside these beautiful children. The goal is to raise awareness as people see us walking around and to raise money as we ask people to sponsor us to do so. This week will take place from Monday April 18th to Friday April 22nd. I would greatly appreciate your support in this endeavor. Although cliché, every little bit helps. Even small donations supporting me would be beneficial to our goal. Your support will help bring love, compassion and hope to people of this often forgotten community.
If you are unable to give at this time please keep the community of la Chureca in your thoughts and prayers during our week of compassion and always. Thank you in advance for any help you can give to this wonderful cause!
For more information, visit Nicaraguan Orphan Fund's website: http://www.barefootfornica.com/index.html