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Dear Friends & Family –
When we left Nicaragua last year we had no idea that COVID would so profoundly change our lives. We had just heard that the first case was found in the Atlanta area and were glad to be heading home after a very successful and rewarding trip. We had no idea that all future trips would be put on hold indefinitely and that we would be the only group to visit in almost two years. The residents were excited to see us and looking forward to more groups coming. They are all safe in quarantine in their compound and except for a few beach trips have not left. They are lonely and don’t understand why no one is visiting.
To make matters worse, the few residents who can receive visitors have had that taken away. The dictator of Nicaragua decided that having so many orphanages in the country was an embarrassment and has put in new restrictions that have closed some orphanages. Any parent who has a child placed at Mustard Seed Communities, has to decide to either give up their rights to visit or take them home. One young man, whose mother has Parkinson’s used to visit once a month after a grueling bus ride. She has had to make the heartbreaking decision to give up visitation rights so that he can continue to get the loving home at MSC that she cannot provide. No mother should have to make that decision.
Four new teenagers have been received in our care, one boy and three girls. All have tragic stories of abuse and health issues. They are adjusting quite well to the routines, good food, and loving care. It costs approximately $600 per child for a month’s care, but this is an added expense that we gladly take on. Because of your support of MSC, they had a place that could take them in.
In addition to COVID, natural disasters have plagued Nicaragua this year. A hurricane tore off part of the roof of the recreation center. This will cost an additional $4,000. If that isn’t enough, acid rain from a nearby volcano has rusted out the steel beams of the water tower and they need to be replaced at a cost of $5,000.
In spite of all this grim news, the residents are adapting well. The caregivers make sure that all religious holidays are celebrated, they have dance parties, piñata parties, and a few trips to the beach. Daily routines like school, chores, and chapel continue. I love seeing the pictures of their smiling faces that the director shares with us and pray that we can return in 2022.
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