Full Belly, Full Heart

Cristina* now lives happily at NPH and with her biological family.
March 20, 2018 - Nicaragua

Cristina and her grandmother in front of their home

A smile lights up Cristina's* face as soon as a conversation with her grandmother about NPH starts.

Cristina is 12 years old and joined the NPH Nicaragua family in February of 2017 as a semi-internal student. This means Cristina spends her weekdays living alongside the other girls her age at NPH, and her weekends with her biological family. Cristina used to live with her mother, but because of their limited resources and physical location it was difficult for her to attend school. Because of these difficulties and her mother needing to work, Cristina was sent to live with her grandmother María. Cristina was named after her grandmother, with María being her grandmother's second name.

Cristina and her grandmother live in a one-room wooden house with dirt and concrete floors and an open space to wash or cook behind the house. In that same house live Cristina's brother, her great-grandmother, an aunt, an uncle with disabilities, and sometimes two more cousins. María works watching over a little girl who lives nearby, but says the money she makes just is not enough to cover the family's needs.

"Cristina's mother helps me with expenses, and comes to visit when she can," said María. "But I don't receive any other support from the family."

Three of Cristina's cousins were already a part of the NPH family in the semi-internal program, and her aunt told María that it might be a good option for Cristina to be able to continue her education, receive school supplies and have plenty of food to eat. Then, María worked with NPH to have Cristina join the family.

At 11 years old, Cristina was very thin, and malnourished, but NPH helped provide her with nutritious meals and one year later she is already healthier, and taller! The food and resources Cristina receives at NPH are still essential to her development. "It has been such a change, and a great help," shared María.

Cristina said she likes being on vacation but is ready for vacation to end so she can go back to NPH. "I like being able to share and play with the other kids," she said. "I also like special days like Christmas, when we have piñatas and form a big circle and spin around."

Playing is an important part of daily life at NPH, but so is school. Cristina likes both parts, and said her favorite class is math. She likes the food at NPH, especially at lunchtime because all the students can eat together. Her favorite meal is rice with soy and salad.

"NPH is just as much her home as our house is here," said María. "She loves it, she feels happy there, and that makes me happy."

*Name changed for privacy purposes.

Emily Doyle   
Communication Officer

You may be only one person in the world, but you may be all the world to one child.
—Fr. William Wasson




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