Just before leaving Nicaragua, Katherine Andrade; a members of the Daughters of Corn Dance Troupe that recently toured the U.S. this fall, told our dance instructor, Ana Narvaez how happy she was that she was able to pack shampoo and skin cream in her luggage. She confessed to Ana that it was the first time her mother was able to buy her shampoo and skin cream. When Ana asked her what she did before, Katherine said she just used water.
Katherine Andrade when she was 4 years old
Her mother, Edda works making and repairing clothes on a used sewing machine; and her father, Carlos works hauling construction materials with a horse and wooden buggy. Like many families in Nicaragua, they struggle to provide for their family. Recently, however, Edda was provided with a microloan from Compas and she was able to purchase a more modern sewing machine. This has allowed her to do more complex work and earn more money. Enough that she was able to buy shampoo and skin lotion for Katherine’s trip to the U.S.
Katherine is also a sponsored student in our sponsorship program. She has been supported since she began preschool and is now in 8th grade. Francis Arguello, the oldest member of the Daughters of Corn Dance Troupe, is also a sponsored student, and she too has been supported since entering preschool. I have known Francis since she was 4 years old. Like many young children, she wasn’t ready to start school. While her parents tried to convince her of how much fun it would be, she kept saying she didn’t want to go. Then, she told them, “I’m not going to preschool….I am going to go straight to the University!!” ready to start school. While her parents tried to convince her of how much fun it would be, she kept saying she didn’t want to go. Then, she told them, “I’m not going to preschool….I am going to go straight to the University!!”
Francis Arguello (after her 6th grade graduation) with Dance Instructor Ana Narvaez and Nadeska Arguello
Well, of course she did end up starting preschool, and while she didn’t go straight to the university, it certainly feels a bit like she did—because she has just finished her university degree in International Relations! I can’t believe how quickly time has passed—I can still remember Francis as a little girl.
It was a very proud moment for her family, and for my family as well. My older brother Tim, and his wife Judy, have been Francis’ sponsors since she began preschool. Their support of her education, and her hard work and determination, helped her achieve her dreams of getting a university degree.
Francis gave a very heartfelt and emotional thank you to Tim and Judy, which she asked me to translate, during the fall dance tour. “I want you to know that one of the main reasons that I decided to audition for the fall dance tour was to come here and thank you in person for all your support of my education.” Francis said. “More than anything, thank you for…” She paused, struggling to get the words out through her tears. “Thank you for believing in me.” Just like Francis, I struggled to translate her words for Tim and Judy, and we were all in tears.
Daughters of Corn Dance Troupe members Katherine Andrade (left), Francis Arguello (middle) and Nocole Anduray (right)
One of the things that I have learned through my work at Compas de Nicaragua is that there are many people who just need someone to believe in them and someone who is willing to support their dreams. When given an opportunity, young people like Francis and Katherine can accomplish anything!
For a $20 a month donation, students like Francis and Katherine, can be given the opportunity to study and to realize their dreams. A $100 donation to the micro-lending program can allow a Women in Action member like Edda to better provide for her family.
Please consider making a contribution to Compas de Nicaragua for #GivingTuesday! Together, we are making a real difference!