A Story of Hope from Nicaragua
My wife and I recently led a team of high school students to Nicaragua from March 19-27. The focus was to work with kids, helping through several organizations or local groups in Managua, capital city of Nicaragua. Nicaragua is the 2nd poorest country in the Western hemisphere and there is substantial need everywhere in the city.
During one day our team visited the community of Villa Guadalupe, located next to the largest open air landfill in the world. Our goal was simple that day; help serve food to about 200 children. Every week on Monday and Tuesday, a group of three women from Nicaragua cook and deliver food faithfully and we simply participated. To describe the state of living people within this community experienced, many scavenged from the dump just 4-5 years ago. They now live in government housing but lack good employment opportunities.
While driving to our serving location we all saw the huge group of kids lining one side of the street. As we turned around to park I noticed a young boy across the street drawing or writing on a pad of paper. The high school student team immediately piled out of the van as we stopped and the food service began after a few minutes.
While the food was being served, I walked across the street with our interpreter and began talking to this young boy. We exchanged names and dialogued in our basic introduction. After brief conversation I asked what he was drawing or writing. To my surprise he turned his book and showed me this beautiful picture of a bear floating on its back in a serene pond.
Being intrigued, I inquired more and found that he is a talented young artist, and he showed me more of his incredible drawings. ‘Philip’ proceeded to walk back to his house, drop off his art book, and then re-joined us. Through the help of the interpreter, I asked Philip after more conversation if I could purchase one of his drawings. He looked at me with no expression and simply stated "no" and paused. The statement that came next caught me completely off guard. He said "pero, voy a darle a usted." I'll give it to you. He then walked to his home.
For perspective, this young boy is 12 years old and personally scavenged with his family in the dumps. Every day in Nicaragua people of all ages were constantly asking for something. Buy this, give me something, window wash?, fruit?, 'Gringo' aqui,
'Chele' atencion, and so on. I was considered a rich American in the eyes of the people and they desired something from me. Yet, in spite of all the need, there was one young boy of the many needy people I encountered that understood generosity without the expectation of something in return. What an incredible lesson he taught me.
Philip walked back with the sheet of paper in hand and gave it to me. The picture on the back was even more beautiful than the picture of the bear. The gratitude I had for that young man because of his selfless display was tremendous. I desperately wanted to give him something in return. After 5-10 more minutes of dialogue we visited his home next to where we had been standing. I explained that I must give him something in return and asked if he would like some art supplies. He politely told me what he needed and it was delivered to him a couple weeks ago through the local Nicaraguan team.
I share because it is an amazing example of selfless generosity from a young boy who has so little, but knows how to give much.
How do you give to the people around you?