New Friends

Hi, my name is Sarah Gonzalez, I am 15 years old, and I am one of the very lucky girls that was chosen to go to Nicaragua with Project Lumina. When we had our pre-trip meetings, Jackie and Jen told us about the Rainbow Girls. They continued to talk about how awesome the Rainbow Girls were and how sweet they were. Before meeting them, all of us were terrified, mostly because almost all of them spoke no English. Once it was finally time to meet them, we were all lined up and all of a sudden we were attacked with hugs and little pecks on the cheek. Of course, we were all shocked, but relieved because they were so friendly and open to the idea of us being friends.

Right away we went to the library to make a book, bracelets and duct-tape wallets. We each paired up with one of the rainbow girls. My partner was named Cesia, she is 17 years old with a birth defect which caused her to only have one hand. I am very lucky, because I am able to speak a decent amount of Spanish so I could have conversations with all of the girls. But, none of the other Project Lumina girls know how to speak Spanish, so they would always call me over to help them. After presenting our books, we went out to eat pizza. It was awesome to be able to get to know all the girls. After finishing about 8 pizzas we went to the beach. But, most of the girls didn’t know how to swim so they were terrified to get in. 

The next day we woke up early to go and paint a school with the Rainbow Girls. We all sat in the back of a truck, which was really fun. Once we got to the school we started taking off the old paint that was already falling off. And then, we finally got to paint. It was so much fun, and when we finished the front of the school, there was not enough paint for the other sides- I felt very accomplished. We were all starving after working in the hot sun, so we decided to go to a little market in San Juan. While we were waiting for our food, we taught them how to sing the ABC’s in English, and also how to sing the ‘chicken dance’ in Spanish. 

After eating an amazing meal, we went to the beach. When we first got there, we played a little game of soccer/fultbol, the Rainbow Girls versus Project Lumina. Nobody won, or scored but it was really fun. Afterwards we were so hot and went into the ocean. All of us were super exited to teach the Rainbow Girls how to swim. At first, they were really nervous, but finally they went in. After a fun long day, we met up at our hotel to eat. When the Rainbow Girls first arrived, they gave us handmade bracelets and handmade cards. It was really awesome to see how close we got with them in just two days. When we finished diner, we took pictures and just hung out. When it was time to leave, nobody wanted to because we were having an amazing time just being with them, but sadly they had to go. It was crazy how sad I was when they left, I didn’t know that I would make such a strong connection with all of them. Throughout this whole experience I was nervous to come and open myself up to 7 new girls, but so far, I am glad that I did because I have made 7 new best friends.