|An Interview with Jorge|
|Monday, 17 December 2007|
From the beginning, our vision at Sunflower SunPower Kids was not just to help impoverished children in Nicaragua, but to empower kids to empower one another. We hope to show affluent children in developed nations that their care is powerful and can make a difference in the world.
With that in mind, we were thrilled that Rebecca Wolfe of Halifax, Nova Scotia, interviewed Jorge and Sheva for her gradeschool project on how to make a difference in the world. Below is Rebecca's interview with Jorge, which moved all of us here and inspired us to keep hope and helping others alive in this holiday season of giving.
1) How did you end up living on the street? I was about 9 years old when I found out that the family I was with, who abused me and treated me badly, were not my real parents and that my real or "Biological Parents" had abandoned me at birth. My mother had been a prostitute- she may not have known who my father was. And she left me with this abusive family when I was born. When I found out that they were not my real parents, I escaped from this abusive family to look for my biological mother in Managua, the capital of Nicaragua, 123 miles from where I had lived with the other family. Not knowing anyone in Managua, and having no idea how to find my mother, I slept in markets, and restaurants, and alleyways.
2) Before Sheva found you and started to help you what was living on your own like? It was very difficult, not just living alone on the streets, but having no one in my whole life that cared about me or what happened to me, to have no one's support in life. Living on the streets made me realize that I did not want my life to end up that way, being a nothing and a nobody.
3) What made you want to go to school? I dreamed of going to school and knew that if I could get an education, I was a person with the capacity to get myself off of the streets and move forward in life.
4) What made you want to be a doctor? When I was a child I thought that doctor's saved lives and helped children heal from illness and get well. That was my goal- to be of service- for as long as I can remember. I always had the desire to help others get off the streets who were in the same situation I was, and I thought that as I doctor I would have the power to do that.
5) What did you do to put your way through school before you met Sheva? Before I met Sheva it was really hard for me to go to school, because I had to spend my time selling peanuts on the streets just to survive- to buy food and other basic necessities. No one supported me. If I did find a house to live in for a while, it was always in exchange for working (like housework and things), so it did not leave me with time to go to school or to study. It did not matter to anyone whether I went to school or not. No one cared and no one helped me do that.
6) When you first meet Sheva how did you know you could trust her? I was very naive when I met Sheva- so many people had treated me poorly, I never imagined in a million years that she was going to help me. I had met many tourists, and I just assumed she was another tourist like any other, albeit a tourist that was more spontaneous, more friendly, with less fear that I was going to steal from her. The fact of the matter is, when she went back to Costa Rica after our first meeting, many months passed before I saw her again. Like all the other tourists I had known, it was natural to me that she passed through my life without leaving any footprints. I never thought that she would have a particular interest in helping me. I finally realized that she was sincere when she came looking for me almost a year later. I did not try to trust anyone, nor was I looking to find someone on the streets to take care of me or believe in me or help me. I never expected anything like that to happen. It was just out of the realm of anything I could expect or imagine. Until Sheva came looking for me when she came back to Nicaragua. That, I thought, was an absolute miracle. That someone cared enough to seek me out? That was like winning the lottery! Like winning Russian Roulette! A stroke of luck that only happens once in life and changes you completely, forever.
7) How did your life change after Sheva started to help you? It changed in MANY ways. First,it gave me stability emotionally and financially to study and become a professional. Secondly, it gave me a sense of belonging- like I had family. Thirdly, it gave me the sense that I had someone in my life that cared about me, that cared what happened to me, even if they were not at my side physically. It gave me someone to love. Each one of her letters gave me a reason to live, like a vitamin for my spirit. Receiving love through these letters kept me going, it kept me alive, it gave me a reason to be.
8) What stopped you from doing drugs, prostitution or crime? I was a frightened child, but I always had dreams of becoming someone respectable, someone professional. The vision to be someone, not just a nobody and a good for nothing, kept me going on the streets. As much as possible I avoided kids who were in to bad stuff. I was afraid of ending up in jail. It was not easy, because I fell victim to a lot of other kids who did horrible things to me. But to receive the moral, emotional, spiritual and financial support of Sheva, I felt a commitment and a responsibility to honor what she had done for me, to study hard and work hard to obtain a respectable career as a form of "thank you" for what she had done for me and for the fact that she believed in me. It was like an internal commitment I had to myself to make Sheva glad for what she had done for me, to make her feel that it was worthwhile in the end to have loved me and cared for me as she had.
9) Why did you go and find Sheva to start the foundation? The economic situation in Nicaragua is very difficult. Thousands of people are suffering and need help. I knew with Sheva's heart we could find people in North America who have the heart to help, people who would want to be a part of a program that was making a difference in the world. Really this project has been born of a longstanding dream for many children to experience the kind of belonging, love and support that I received from Sheva.
10) What made you want to help the world when it had been so cruel to you? Well, it is really the same cruelty that inspires me to change it, because of the thousands of innocent children that wander hopeless in the streets, without having a point of support, without the opportunity to grow and develop and realize their dreams. It was not just cruelty against me I was trying to escape- it was cruelty against all children in the streets of my country and around the world. I am not capable of closing my eyes to the innocent child that is living on the streets, because I remember my own days living in their shoes, and how hard that is.�