Our group waits at the entrance to the small lot, calling out a greeting to those living there as several skinny dogs run toward us.
The afternoon heat has been relentless, the humidity soaking our bodies and our clothing as we made the short walk from the nearby Compassion project just minutes earlier.
We are six sponsors, a translator, the Compassion Nicaragua tours specialist, and a local project worker with her daughter. And we are all here to visit one young woman, who is enrolled in the Manos de Compasion Child Survival Project.
The project gives this young mother training in parenting and job skills, and in doing so, it gives her something even more valuable in an area overtaken by poverty… hope.
The young mother’s name is Magdalena, and she is 19 years old. She shyly invites us into her home, where we crowd in to ask her questions while admiring her beautiful daughter, 6-month-old Maybelline.
As Maybelline sits on the bed slapping at the blanket and grabbing her own feet, Magdalena tells us that her husband couldn’t be here for the visit today because he is picking up his final paycheck from a job he recently lost. We tell her we will pray for him to find work soon.
The floor is hard-packed dirt, and the red brick room holds a bed in the corner with a few feet to spare on two sides. There is a tin roof and two doors to the room, but no windows.
Magdalena takes us outside to show us her kitchen area. She has potable water, an area to cook and wash dishes, and a hammock for the baby to rest in while she works. She explains that through the CSP, she learned to bathe her baby safely in this area. Wet babies are so slippery, it is hard to imagine wrestling with one on the cement surface.
In the distance, she points out a river that floods sometimes. She says it has never reached her home, but has come close.
Her little family lives on this lot with her mother-in-law, who has her own home just a few steps away. We jokingly ask her if she gets along with her mother-in-law, and she smiles and says she does.
Before we leave, we are able to give Magdalena a gift bag from Compassion. It is filled with essentials like flour, sugar, rice, beans, dehydrated milk, cereal, cooking oil, soap, laundry detergent and toilet paper.
We pray for Magdalena and her family, and say our goodbyes, trusting that God will watch over this young woman and thankful that she has the support of the CSP as well.