Mi Escuelita and my Nicaragua trip this summer!

2 Jun

I grew up in a small town in San Miguel, El Salvador. El Zamoran had one school with no more than 10 classrooms.  “La escuelita,” (tiny school) was down the street from my grandmother’s home and I remember she walked me there every morning. It became one of my favorite places and where I met my first crush. He had beautiful green eyes, always perfectly dressed and always smelled good. Of course, I never told him. He was the inspiration for my first poems at 10 years old. La Escuelita was always a comforting place. As a kid I never really went anywhere so anytime I had the change to get out of the house I loved it (that’s the real reason I loved it so much).

I never knew how small La Escuelita was until my first day in a Houston school. I was shocked at the size of the school. I was even more shock to know there was a cafeteria and that I would get “free” lunch. At La Escuelita there was no cafeteria, no free food, no AC, no lockers, no gyms or anything like it. La Escuelita had about 10 classrooms with a black board, desks and that’s it!

I’m thankful I grew up in that environment because you learn how to appreciate the little bit you have and never realize how little you actually have until you are exposed to more.

This summer I will be traveling to Nicaragua to work at one Escuelita like the one I mentioned. I’m joining a group of about 14 teachers from Alief ISD to help rebuild a school, and teach English. It all started with one teacher, Jimmy Quezada who shared his project idea with his colleagues and a number of them wanted to join in to help. The main goal is to rebuild a small school of 4 classrooms out of a small district of 5 schools, all located at the bottom of Volcan mombacho about 20 minutes from the city of Granada. I will be away for 16 days and I know it will be an experience of a lifetime.

One of the things we are doing is collecting school supplies for the kiddos. Some say collecting money would be best but as a kid that grew up in a foreign country I know how exciting it is to get something from the United States. The way it smells, the way is packaged and just knowing that it comes from the U.S. it’s just the coolest!

So I’ve decided to collect notebooks, pencils, crayons, pens, paper and anything else that could be helpful and exciting for a 9 year old. I’m also collecting used clothes in excellent condition. I say excellent because often times we donate items just to get rid of them and cannot be used. The photos you see here are from the school where we’ll be working.

So here’s the ask…

If you have any items you would like to donate please email me fridavilla@yahoo.com. I’m happy to come pick them up from your home and if that just too weird I’ll meet ya at a public place 🙂

In return, you get to feel good for doing good and I promise to post photos of the rebuilding project, kids receiving the supplies and so much more!


I was one of those kids once, and I know how it feels when people show how much they care.  I truly believe everyone has the power to touch someone’s life in so many different ways, this is just one! Be a here for one of those kids!

I and they thank you for it!

Items you can donate

•Pencils
•Color pencils
•Crayons
•Erasers
•Notebooks
•Backpacks (optional)
• Books
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12 Responses to “Mi Escuelita and my Nicaragua trip this summer!”

  1. Carlos June 3, 2011 at 2:47 am #

    Hola Frida,

    It’s a nice thing you’re doing and something I’d like to do someday. I can almost relate to your perspective and feelings about this trip. I am a first generation Mexican-American and I’ve been to Mexico plenty of times to visit family and friends. I’d like to be able to go even to the border-town I grew up in named Brownsville and help in educating folks in a variety of ways like economics, health and community awareness issues. But one thing I don’t want to ever do is teach English. I don’t understand why people like myself and probably like you who are fluent in spanish and english go back to places where english isn’t the dominate language and teach it there instead of those topics I mentioned. What is the reasoning behind that? Wouldn’t it be better to help them develop skills that could have a more immediate effect?

    I only respond to you in this manner because you it’s an issue that I’ve always wanted to discuss with someone that could possibly relate to me. As in we both have similar backgrounds except that you were born in a dominate spanish speaking country as oppose to myself being born in the United States. Even though where I was technically born and raised is about 90% percent Mexican population and the majority grow up speaking spanish as their first language and then picking up english in school. I now currently reside in Houston.

    So with all that said you don’t have to reply to my comment if you don’t care to or want to. Thats fine. But I just thought I’d get a perspective on the other side of teaching english to a population where that isn’t the dominate language and other issues are better off being taught rather than english.

    Either way enjoy your trip!

    • Frida Villalobos June 3, 2011 at 3:21 pm #

      Hi carlos,

      thank you for your comment. I understand where you are coming from and completely respect it. The group i’m traveling with already had the agenda of the project when i first joined in. The main part of the project is to rebuild those classroom and we are also brining a computer for the school’s principal which we will be teaching him how to use. My personal plan and interest , is to not only help with the construction but also educating teens on issues i have experience with such as healthy dating.

      Thank you very much for taking the time to read my blog. I’m curious, how did you find it?

      Frida

      • Carlos June 3, 2011 at 10:06 pm #

        Thanks for responding to my comment, I appreciate that. So obviously there was more than just teaching english. Thats what I get for making assumptions.

        I found your blog via a former co-worker who posted this on facebook. His name is Jose Carrera.

        I look forward to reading more from you. I’ve already added your website to my google reader!

      • Frida Villalobos June 3, 2011 at 11:19 pm #

        thats so awesome! I’m glad you liked it 🙂

  2. Ariana June 5, 2011 at 5:02 pm #

    Frida – what a beautiful gesture. Chris and I would love to donate items….when is the best time to meet you so that we can turn over the goods?

    • Frida Villalobos June 5, 2011 at 5:06 pm #

      aww! Thank you!! anytime is good, just let me know when you have the goods and i can pick them from you guys. thank you both 🙂

  3. calily June 10, 2011 at 12:03 am #

    Since I can’t go with you on this amazing trip, I’m going to get some stuff together for you!

  4. Jimmy Quezada June 15, 2011 at 10:35 pm #

    Frida,
    I think I can relate with you in regards to growing and going to school in a small school. After I left Chile, I had the opportunity to go to school in many Latin American countries in which unfortunately the many wonderful advantages students have here in the US are absent there. As well, I was impressed and shocked to see how education is in this country is and always have been thankful to finish High School and College here. It is for the very same reason which I have been able to experience both sides of the world, that I have learned a conciousness about the education standards in other places of the world. I have visited many countries and visited many schools, always being impressed by the many struggles children go by each day to make it to school. I am thankful my kids have many opportunities readily available for them in this country and it is because of this my son will join us this summer to Nicaragua and be able to make an educated opinion based on what he sees there.
    As a response to the comment Carlos posted above, I completely understand that many other subjects could be taught during these trips, but we need to be concious as well that learning English for many of them could mean the only way of getting a better job in the event they do not finish school, in the case of Nicaragua an estimated 40% of them which do not make it past 5th grade. English now days is considered a very high skill for many in the world and in my oppinion it is the most useful of all the skills that can be taught in a changing world. Someday it will be Chinese

    • Frida Villalobos June 15, 2011 at 11:09 pm #

      Thank you Jimmy for your wonderful comment! I’m very excited to be part of your group and looking forward to many more!

  5. Kelsey September 13, 2011 at 7:26 pm #

    I am trying to catch up on your blog and I love it!! You write so awesomely…hehe…. re-reading about Nicaragua gets me really emotional…I am having a tough day at school today, and a lot of things going on my life…and I feel like this was a perfect post for me to read today (it is my lunch break and I am enjoying a Diet Coke and sandwich). I need to remember how blessed I am and how much I “do” have. I also remembered how simple their lives were and always strive to live the way they do. Nicaragua really made an impact on my life and I am excited to go back and see them, because they will never know how much they affected me! :o)

    • Frida Villalobos September 14, 2011 at 6:33 am #

      Aww i’m sorry you had a tough day at school, i really hope your week gets better1 I’m so glad you are enjoying my blog, there’s very personal columns here that share a lot about me and what i do. When you are having a tough day just remember the kids smiles in Nica and believe me, it will make you feel so much better!!!

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