La Villa Esperanza is a home for at-risk, adolescent girls in Managua, Nicaragua. These girls face the threats of hunger, emotional distress, and sexual attack. By providing for these girls emotionally, spiritually, physically, and relationally, La Villa provides an opportunity for young women to break the cycle of generational poverty that they are often born into.
Hear the Cry partners with Forward Edge International to send short-term teams to Managua every year. The hope for the Villa is that Jesus would continue to radically impact these girls' lives, their families, the workers at La Villa, and the surrounding communities. Our teams get to partner with Jesus in this by working alongside La Villa’s workers and spending time with the girls daily.
Letter from Jessica:
This past year of life has been fairly wild for me — I finally graduated college (with 3 degrees), worked on multiple film projects, moved, travelled, read lots of good books, got a kitten, and most recently, have been seriously planning to move to Los Angeles to pursue my career as an actress. As much of a whirlwind as it has been, one of the things that has remained constant is my love for the people and place of Nicaragua.
I was first introduced to Nicaragua in 2015. Nicaragua is still the poorest country in Central America, and for a long time was the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere before Haiti was devastated by the earthquakes of 2010.
For at least 30 years, Managua — the nation’s capital — had the largest open-air-landfill in Central America. This landfill, called La Chureca, was home to over 450 families during its existence. These families lived, worked, ate and constructed their homes out of whatever they could find amongst the scraps of garbage. One of the many injustices that occurred in these garbage dumps was the sexual exploitation of children. Families, with young girls in particular, would resort to offering their children up for sexual favors in order to get “first pick” of the garbage.
About 15 years ago, an incredible Nicaraguan woman named Gloria partnered with Forward Edge International to do something about the injustice. They bought a 2-acre plot of land about 10 minutes outside of the garbage communities and began building homes for the young, at-risk girls from La Chureca. This place they named Villa Esperanza - Village of Hope in Spanish - and it has been just that. Since it’s beginning, Villa Esperanza has been a safe home for over 50 girls, offering them tutoring, mentorship, psychological counseling, spiritual development, clothing, and more of the basic essentials every child needs/deserves/should have. What’s more, the Villa provides each of these girls (and their families) with the hope to be informed about and the hope to break the cycle of generational poverty that many Nicaraguans are faced with.
As you may or may not know, this past spring I travelled to Villa Esperanza for the third time. However, actually getting there this time was much more of a journey than in the past. Back in 2017, I had packed my bags for what then was to be my third trip to Managua; however, what coincidentally ended up happening, is that our plane got stuck in Houston, TX during the beastly Hurricane Harvey. The following summer of 2018, I was also scheduled to go to Nicaragua, but because of the intense political turmoil of the country, it was deemed to unsafe for us to travel there.
As the saying goes, ‘the third time is the charm’, and in April of this year, I was finally reunited with the people and place that I love so dearly.
What was so unique about this April trip was that we were the first team in a year in a half that had gotten to visit. The past year Nicaragua has been in a state of political unrest and turmoil. On April 18th of 2018, demonstrators, who were mostly university students, protested the social security reforms that the government had just announced. These protests ended violently and became the spark for what is now currently going on the country.
Being there this spring, I had the huge privilege and gift of hearing the stories of how people I love have been affected by the pain and grief and terror of this past year. What I also got to hear though, was this immense hope and imagination for all-that-could-be. Many Nicaraguans feel as if the country is in the beginnings of a much needed rebirth and possibility.
Of course, you could imagine my joy and excitement of being back in such a place after being away for so long. I was reminded of how the early morning birdsong truly is my favorite sound on this earth; how the sky and the clouds look different than they do in Oregon; how amazing and GIANT the avocados are (really, they are the size of my face); and I was reminded of how absolutely beautiful and strange and staggering it is that I get to be playing, hugging and holding the hands of these kids I really should never have met
What I am trying to say is that Nicaragua is and always has been a gift to me. One of the few precious kinds of mysterious gifts we get in this lifetime.
I would love to invite you to join me in the gift that this place is and has been and will always be.
I am excited to tell you that I have the chance to go back this summer: August 16th through August 23rd.
One of the most concrete ways you can support me is monetarily. The trip cost that I need to cover this year is $2300 dollars. As a young artist/millennial/student-loan-indebted person this is certainly no small fee for me. But I trust that there are people who may not be able to travel to Nicaragua but who may want to still be involved - perhaps in donating money!
If you cannot support or join me financially, there are many other ways I would love and hope to have you along for the journey. I would love your prayers or well wishes or positive vibes for our trip.
I would be grateful beyond words to have you join me in any capacity as I return to my favorite place on this earth.
If you have any questions about Nicaragua or the Villa or about the trip – please don’t hesitate to call or grab a cup of coffee with me. There are few things I enjoy more than talking about Nicaragua.