Savvy Wiki

Summer in Nicaragua

Written By Rhonda

  • 11:10pm, 12/08/09

    “We were meant to be Tia’s”, my friend Gabriela, said to me as we were riding on the increasingly muddy rode to the beach. I recently returned from Nicaragua, where the rainy season had started and after each nightly downpour the roads became a little less accessible.

    Gabriela is a Tia to her niece in Argentina. She is also providing support, encouragement and guidance (wonderful aunt-like qualities) to the young children in her new home- town of Salinas, Nicaragua. Gabriela and her husband, James, moved to Nicaragua from New York City 5 years ago. As they got to know their new home and neighbors they discovered that there were many local children who were not able to attend school due to lack of supplies or because they were needed to work to help raise money for their families. Knowing the importance of an education, they created a community library (Biblioteca LosTres Ernestos) as a place where children could study, read and find support for the schoolwork.

    I am in complete awe of what they have created. I arrived for my first visit at 8:30 A.M. as the librarian, Ariciella, was opening the doors. There were three children waiting and it was obvious this was a place that was very familiar to them. They immediately pitched in, taking the wooden planks off the windows and going over to a desk to look at books. The library is humble. There are several wooden tables with chairs and shelves containing approximately 500 books. There is a map of the world and of Nicaragua. On the walls, there are references you would see in libraries or classrooms such as the letters of the alphabet and numbers. All of the materials in the library come from donations and volunteers have visited to offer workshops for the children. I arrived with books and supplies but since I am not fluent in Spanish I was not sure how I would interact directly with the children. Well, after a few days of getting to know the kids and some intense language instruction, I decided to give it a try. I chose a lesson that combined art and language and the kids created “Stories without words”. Each child made a book the contained the elements of a simple story (character, setting, problem and solution). The kids were so involved and eager to work on their project with the older students helping the younger ones. At the end, they proudly shared their stories with the group. Now that I have visited once, I am eager to return, this time knowing what is needed, how to plan and with a lot more Spanish under my belt.

    To find out more about Biblioteca LosTres Ernestos visit