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TCNJ delegates at Masaya Volcano National Park

Nicas Touch the Heart

There are many things that are changing in Nicaragua but one thing seems to always stay the same: Nicaraguans touch the heart. This was very true for The Bonner scholar students from The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) this January 2017. From the beginning of their time in Managua and as they engaged with the ProNica project partners throughout their trip, they each had moments with children and community leaders that were unexpected and unforgettable.

In the mountains of Matagalpa we stayed with Casa Materna for two nights to learn of their work and the impact on expecting mothers. At the end of our visit the staff wanted to learn more about the ethnic backgrounds of the TCNJ students and asked that we share songs together before parting. There was an outpouring of emotion as we sang and shared, all smiles, some crying and all of us astounded by these women’s ability to move us emotionally with their affection, songs and desire to know us and where we came from. The women of Casa Materna touched our hearts.

The children of the Los Quinchos community demonstrated their enthusiasm for play, creative drawing and communicating with warm hugs, broad smiles and endless games of fútbol (soccer). We shared in a series of games, a piñata and delicious cake at the end of our stay and as we said goodbye each child that spoke reminded us that our time together was dedicated to life-enrichment for everybody and that the doors of Los Quinchos would always be open to us, “no es un adios, es us hasta pronto,” “it’s not a goodbye, but rather, see you soon.” Again there were tears, laughter and warm hugs as we parted. Los Quinchos touched our hearts. And so it came to be that everywhere we stopped and shared, learned and loved, our hearts were moved by the Nica way of openness, honesty, commitment and joy no matter what their circumstances.