We are in the beginning weeks of the Nica school year with all the boys attending. Schools are tightening their policies of appropriate criteria to enter school. Most and I mean most of the males of Nicaragua are uneducated. Young men either drop out of school in their 3rd year or don’t attend at all. If you are a male and decide you want to continue pursuing your education after a time away from school, then it is almost impossible because of the age restrictions imposed by the schools and proof of the last grade completed. Getting records of the last grade completed can be difficult because generally they never completed a grade. Also, if they move around a lot, the records get lost or they are too far away to go back to the community to retrieve records.
Having said all that, we are so excited that 2 of our boys are in school, Noel and Israel. San Sebastian is a small privately funded school that was an answer to our prayers. This is Noel's 2nd year at the school He was several years out of school before we discovered San Sebastian. Israel had only been to school 1 year in his brief life and did not complete that year. We are very grateful to the director of San Sebastian for agreeing to allow Israel to attend school.
Both boys are combining the 5th and 6th grades into one year of study. When they complete this year of school, they will have an official "promotion certificate" that should allow them to proceed to the secondary (high school) level.
Noel and Israel have birthdays in July and they will be 19 years old. Think of it, 19 years old and studying at the 5th & 6th grade level. I am so very proud of the boys for their courage to be in a classroom of younger students. This privilege also speaks of the character of the boys and the trust that the director has in them to conduct themselves in a manner that is not threatening to the other students.
Freddy is returning to Jose Madrid for his 8th year of study. He is 2 years older than his peers, but that is not a critical age difference. He has 4 years remaining before he gets his final graduation certificate. Freddy has a problem with staying focused. This could be a result of poor nutrition in his earlier years or ADD. We are not trained to make a proper evaluation.
Once we received the decision from the school director to allow Israel to attend school, we had the task of shopping for school supplies at the last minute. We want to especially thank Randy, Steve and Moni for their generous donations which allowed us to get all that was needed to prepare the boys for school. The funds also helped to pay the bus fare for the first month and purchase a pair of prescription glasses. Israel has been having vision problems. I noticed that he had difficulty reading when we were having English classes. He could not read anything unless it was close to him. The donations allowed us to have his eyes tested and purchase the needed glasses.
Shopping was quite an adventure; these boys have definite ideas on how they want to look. If you have ready any of our past posts, appearance to a Nicaragua male teen is their top priority. The boys were frantically trying to find pants that had tapered legs, they did not want to accept the fact that they were limited to the type of shirts and pants they were allowed to wear. All students in Nicaragua are required to wear the basic white shirt and blue pants or skirt. Each boy was bought 3 shirts, 2 pants, shoes, underwear, socks, backpacks and school supplies. (side note: The other day when I was doing laundry, I was joking with the boys that they never had so many pair of underpants before)
We had to stay on our toes because the vendors want to take advantage of the gringos. Everything gets priced to us far above what a local would buy it for. When the boys are with us, they help to talk the price down to a more manageable sum. There are no dressing rooms in the market, so usually the boys are bare chested in the aisles trying on shirts. Or they might be behind a blanket held up by a worker so they try on pants in private. How many workers do you think sneak peaks at the boys? Just wondering......
The boys are very happy to be going to school. They understand that it is crucial to their future to get an education. All the boys had been studying English as part of our vocational program for the last 8 months and are doing very well. The boys understand English quite well and Israel is especially good in speaking the language. There is a world of possibilities that await them and they are on their way to discovering them. Homework is sometimes overwhelming for them because they are so far behind in their years of study compared to their peers.
There was an election for class president at San Sebastian and ended in a tie. The teacher broke that tie by announcing her choice for president - our Israel. She said she felt that he would be the most responsible of the two. Another proud moment for us.
Friends, donors and partners, we can't begin to describe the difference that your support has made in the lives of our boys. They are proof that anyone can turn their lives around with the loving support of others. And those of you who have blessed us with your visits, you have seen first hand the exceptional boys that they are. They are loving, kind, desiring to grow into Godly men and forever grateful that you care enough to help them.
If you want to continue to support them, our donation page is safe and easy to use. So much of their life is about study now, but as teenagers they need other things to occupy their minds and time. They each have musical talent and desire to continue with lessons that have been halted indefinitely due to funding. Noel plays the drums, Israel the piano and Freddy the saxophone. Please keep in mind that we strive to use every dollar wisely. Using your debit and credit cards cost us in processing fees. Would you consider making your donation by check draft? https://www.egivingsystems.org/37718
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all you do for them.