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Experiencing the Smiles and the Woes

October 1, 2010

Benjamin McCormick from US is a recent university graduate who has been volunteering with EI, teaching Maths and Physics to secondary school students.  Here is what he has to say about his experience –

Upon arrival to Nicaragua, I knew at once that I was in for more than I bargained, for better or worse.  I quickly realized how poor my Spanish was, and was Smiles and educationadjusting to the constant heat and humidity when a powerful storm knocked out the power and water for the better part of three days.  This native West Virginian, accustomed to mild weather and constant water and electricity, was quickly finding how different Nicaragua is from the US.

Despite my misgivings, the first time I set foot in the EI office, I knew it was going to be a great experience.  The children were warm, friendly, and greeted me with “Buenas dias!” and a smile.  I started giving classes in math, physics and English to the teens in secondary school, and was excited to see how fast they picked up new concepts.

I began with basics, which many severely lacked, and we slowly worked our way up over the next month to material within their grade and indeed beyond.  Now most are confident with their school work, and have learned to incorporate old concepts into new material, an extremely important part of math. Now Maycol, a teen tutor, gives my Spanish an encouraging 40% and I’m able to give class without reaching for a Spanish-English dictionary every couple minutes.

The most rewarding thing about my work here is seeing the children learn and grow even in the short time I am here.  To see such bright, friendly, caring children come out of a place as destitute as the barrio in which they live is moving and inspiring beyond words.  Empowerment International is giving children the chance to break the cycle of poverty and unconcern for education, and I am thrilled to be a part of it.

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In Nicaragua 50% of the kids that start 1st grade never finish 5th grade. It is our goal to make this percentage drop significantly.

$30/month is what it takes us at Empowerment International to put a child in school. If you would like to help a child stay in school and get better life, please click on the link below or contact us

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