James Madison University (NOF) Spring Break in Nica

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The JMU Nicaraguan Orphan Fund team had the opportunity to visit Nicaragua from March 2nd-March 9th. It was one of the best weeks of our lives. We were able to spend the week building personal relationships with many Nicaraguan niños and were able to build unforgettable relationships with each other. We had amazing experiences throughout our time in Nicaragua. We were able to go to a local pool in Managua, Nicaragua with niños from the orphanage in El Canon on our first day. It was incredible to see the team members from JMU and the niños have an instant connection and they were able to teach each other so much, just from the first encounter. The rest of the week flew by. We were able to bring niños from El Canon to the movies and were able to go to church with them in their community the same day. We were also able to put on a hygeine workshop in the community and feeding center of Ciudad Sandino where we were able to pass out toothbrushes and toothpaste and experience the happiness the children shared when they received their toothbrushes. The JMU team connected instantly with children from Ciudad Sandino as well and were all so very inspired by their happiness, pure joy and love for each other. 
Nicaragua has a special place in the heart of each team member from JMU and we have committed a lot of our time back at JMU to fundraising and spreading the word about Nicaragua and about our dearest friends and family from El Canon and Ciudad Sandino. We are thankful for ORPHANetwork and the opportunity they give us to return to Nicaragua each year, we could not function without them. The Lord is working wonders in and through the JMU Nicaraguan Orphan Fund Chapter and we are praying and relying on His guidance to doing more wonderous works in the future for the people we care so deeply for.
Tara Zimak
President
JMU Nicaraguan Orphan Fund

Sponsorship Spotlight – Bryan

Every other month, we’ll be highlighting a child’s story here on our blog.  Some of our children have been abused and broken beyond what we might imagine.  Others come to us from families who simply couldn’t afford to care for them.  We’ll highlight different children in an effort to connect you with the story of our orphans – from their childhood, to their landing at one of our orphanages, to the successes we’ve seen as they grow up.

This month, I’d love to introduce you to Bryan.  He’s going to be six years old in a couple months!

Bryan at El Canyon in March

Bryan grew up in Chinandega as the youngest of four boys.  North of Managua, North of Leon, and just barely South of Honduras, Chinandega is hot and humid.  It’s a tropical town, just 12 miles away from the Pacific Coast.

He lived in the small town for a few years, but eventually moved to Managua, where his mother worked in a variety of domestic jobs.  Before he even started school, Bryan was given to his Aunt, along with his three brothers, because his mother simply didn’t make enough money to care for him.

He lived through mistreatment and abuse from his Aunt until the four boys were able to get word to their mother of their lifestyle.  She quickly took them away from the Aunt, but still couldn’t care for any of the four.

By the time Bryan was five years old, he had been moved from home to home, town to town, and was completely unschooled.  His mother didn’t have the time to read to him.  His father had died of kidney failure.  I’m not sure what the living conditions were like during those years, but we can imagine, can’t we?  Bryan probably went to bed hungry at least three or four nights a week.  He probably didn’t talk much, and let his older brothers fend for him.  I’d imagine even that the brothers were close to one another – that they looked out for each other.

This past January, Bryan’s mom brought him to Puente De Amistad – the orphanage we usually nickname El Canyon.  She stays in contact with him, but he is now assured an education, and care that he never would have received otherwise.

He loves to put together puzzles and watch TV in the little open-air lounge in the main building. He’s quiet and extremely serious, but loves to help the staff when he can.  In fact, he’s already adjusted well to life in the orphanage, and fits in great with the children.  He’s a joyful little boy, and is starting in school this coming year!  He still gets to visit with his mother, and both of them are excited for the new opportunities for nourishment and education and care now that he’s in the orphanage!

If you’d like to sponsor Bryan or a child like him – please head over to our sponsorship site.  We’d love to get you started!

Razoo and our NOF Partners

Razoo is a fantastic online giving site – ORPHANetwork is excited to be a part of the fundraising going on over at their site.  Check out our page if you get a chance!

I wanted to highlight Razoo because of how our University friends at JMU, Virginia Tech, William and Mary, and UVa are using the site!  ORPHANetwork has partnered with these Universities and their campus NPO ‘The Nicaraguan Orphan Fund’ (NOF) for quite a few years now to help our children in Nicaragua.  Each year, students come down over spring break in what often turns out to be our most populated trip of the year – this past spring break we took down over 160 students!  When the trip ends, they head back to their own schools and figure out what an ongoing relationship with the children looks like for a college student…

For JMU and Virginia Tech, it looks like beans and rice exclusively for a week! No joke.  The students call it a ‘Compassion Diet‘, and take an entire week (15 meals) to eat only rice and beans, like our at-risk children in Nicaragua.

For UVa, they’ve decided to go barefoot for an entire week!  ‘Barefoot for Nica’ at UVa is all about bringing awareness to our children in La Chureca, the Managua city dump.  The students will go to class barefoot, eat barefoot, and indeed – run a Barefoot 5k.

ORPHANetwork is overjoyed to see college students catch the mission of rescuing and caring for our children in Nicaragua.  When you check out our Razoo page, look below at the 24 different fundraising pages from students across Virginia – they’re doing some AWESOME things for our kids!