Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tesoros de Dios

We have written about a lot of fun and interesting things we saw and did in Nicaragua but the most rewarding part of our experience was volunteering with Tesoros de Dios. It has been a real blessing to see the work they are doing and to learn about the life of the children here.

Tesoros de Dios’s vision is to work together with families of children with developmental disabilities enabling their children to gain the skills necessary to develop to their fullest potential. The centre sees about 80 kids and most of these are affected by cerebral palsy. The centre was started less than 4 years ago. It has its own facility and has grown in leaps and bounds.

Children come to the centre twice a week: either in the morning or afternoon. Here they receive physical therapy, equestrian therapy, speech therapy, early schooling and a chance to play and interact with others. The parents gain support from other parents and learn how to help their children. In addition to this the parents have the opportunity to learn English, to learn sewing or beading, to attend a Bible study and join a cooperative to raise some income.

The kids, parents and staff are amazing people. We had the opportunity to get to know some of the kids and have gained a whole new appreciation for their talents and the challenges they face. The parents lives are testimonies of perseverance and love as the effort required to care for some of these kids would seem insurmountable to us. For example, Pam visited a family house - the truck she was in could not make it down the steep dirt road to their house. The young boy lives in a mud-floor house with metal sheeting for walls and a roof. Some friends are helping his mom build a cement wall around the house and lay a cement floor so that it is easier for him to get around in his wheelchair.

The staff are very caring and dedicated to their work. Michelle Adams is the director and has a heart for the needs here. The seven national staff are involved with the families and each bring particular skills to the program. They were all very welcoming to us even though there were significant language barriers.

Our work at the centre was varied but allowed us to learn what was going on, to contribute some of our skills and to get to know some of the kids. Pam helped Michelle with some organizational and strategic issues, taught an English class for the staff and helped out with the education centre. John did some painting, helped improve the accounting system and also helped out in the education centre. The kids worked with us in the education program and pitched in as needed; making posters and preparing crafts. There were uncomfortable times for all of us but this was part of the learning process and part of stepping out of our comfort zones. Through the experience we met a lot of amazing people and broke some of our stereotypes. You can check out more of what they are doing (and contribute) at http://www.tesorosdedios.org/.

1 comment:

  1. Helloo DeWilde family!! Just seen we are mentioned on the same Six in the World page, so clicked onto your blog. Looks fab! When you getting to the UK? Come look us up and help build the 'Family RTW' network!
    Happy travels, any q's just ask, love CRFS xxxx