In October, members of the Austin Samaritans Board visited Club Esperanza in the Villa Guadalupe barrio. Villa Guadalupe is home to the families that lived in the Managua Municipal Dump before Spain rehabilitated the area. Those who live there are severely disadvantaged economically.
The Club is doing amazing things for the children, youth, pregnant women and nursing mothers in the community. The club serves 256 students through four pre-school classes, tutoring for the higher grades, and financial assistance to high school and university students. They feed the students two meals each day and also provide meals to pregnant women and nursing mothers. One of its newest efforts is a program for special needs children. There are seven children in the program, including children with severe disabilities, autism and Down’s Syndrome.
Hope Presbyterian Church in Austin, Texas, provided funds that enabled the Club to create two gardens to provide fresh fruits and vegetables for the feeding program: a small one on the site of the school that has fruit trees (there was a stalk of bananas in the kitchen that had recently been harvested) and a larger garden a short distance away. The larger garden is planted in a type of squash that is a very popular part of the Nicaraguan diet. (yes, strange as it may seem, Nicaraguan children like squash!)
Austin Samaritans took additional computer supplies (additional netbooks, batteries and mice) for the computer room. An Austin Samaritans mission team completed the room and provided it with computers in April of this year. The computers and computer supplies provided in April and October were donated by long-time supporters of Austin Samaritans. Chachi, the school administrator, expressed how truly valuable the computer room is and how much it is appreciated. Students in Villa Guadalupe do not have computers at home, but access to computers is needed to complete their homework. Before the computer room was placed in operation, these students had to go to a cyber café or just not do the work. Going to a cyber café was not always an option; and, in any event, it cost money that was not always available. In addition to being available for homework, the computers have also proven valuable to the tutors during tutoring sessions.
It is truly amazing to see how much this school, the buildings, and the grounds have been improved since it was acquired on short notice by Open Hearts Ministries in February 2013.