On May 11, 1994, NPH Nicaragua became the fourth NPH home in Central America. With the arrival of the first four children, a small house was rented in the town of Granada, 35 miles southeast of Managua. More children arrived every week and the small house was quickly outgrown. New property was acquired on Ometepe Island, a long, rough and wet boat ride from Granada across Lake Nicaragua. Finca San Marcos was the first property bought by NPH in 1994. It was soon too small to serve the needs of the children, but continued to be used for farmland, as the pequeños moved to a new property on the island, Casa Santiago. Young children, ages seven and under, still remained on the mainland at Casa Asis in the town of San Jorge.
In 2005, the need arose to relocate our family from the island to the mainland, due to the volcanic activity of Volcano Concepcion. The new home for our NPH family was named after Father Wasson, “Casa Padre Wasson”, and is situated near the town of Jinotepe, one hour outside of Managua. Beginning in 2009, the first group of pequeños attending vocational school, made Casa Padre Wasson their new home, while construction continued.
In the last months of 2010, with 12 houses built, a dining hall and elementary school, the rest of the NPH Nicaragua family left Ometepe Island and moved to Casa Padre Wasson. There they were joined by the majority of the children from Casa Asis totaling over 250 children now living in 16 homes. An additional 175 students are supported through a scholarship program or they are enrolled in high school and university and live in student homes in the capital, Managua.
Two additional properties also function as farms, providing chicken and egg production and also a variety of vegetables such as peppers, tomatoes, plantains, bananas, mangos, grapefruit and other citrus.
In 2010, the Samaritan Project began on Ometepe Island. Four therapists from Austria started to work with children with disabilities that never received care. After moving the orphanage to the mainland volunteers stayed on the island to continue to provide support for the children and their families.
In 2012, NPH Nicaragua started a new outreach program to attend to children who work on the streets of Managua. An estimated 5,000 children spend the majority part of the day on the streets of the capital; they can be seen shining shoes, selling chewing gum, or simply begging. On weekdays, between 15 and 20 of these children are offered a lunch, school reinforcement and a handicrafts workshop. The program started without funding, and this is our main challenge as we hope to continue and want to attend to more children.