Doña Maritza and Doña Mirna
February 5, 2012 - Nicaragua
Instead of their actual names, usually Doña Maritza and Doña Mirna are referred to as las costureras, the seamstresses. Being a seamstress at NPH is no easy job—the children get new uniforms two times a year, which for this year means about 300 uniforms. Besides this, the seamstresses also make the dresses for the quinceañeras, the quantity of which has been as many as 22 dresses. They also make sheets, pajamas, and mend clothes. Also, new fashion trends mean more work for them—pequeños now like their jeans skinny and count on the seamstresses to transform their old pants. Besides this, for five year they gave sewing classes to pequeños, and they might start again this year.
For Doña Maritza, it has been 15 years since she started working for NPH; Doña Mirna joined her only one year later. They are true veterans of NPH Nicaragua, which will celebrate its 18th anniversary this year. They have seen many pequeños grow up and could hardly have imagined that one of the boys they made school uniforms for would one day become their boss, as Jader Luna has became director of Casa Santiago.
Doña Mirna and Doña Maritza
After the children left the island of Ometepe and moved to Casa Santiago at the end of 2010, the seamstresses continued working at Casa Santiago on the island because of a lack of space at Casa Padre Wasson. A few months later, space was created and they were asked to come and join the pequeños at Casa Padre Wasson. This meant a big change for them—instead of coming and going every day, they now live at the home for ten days and then have four days off. Leaving their families was difficult, especially at the start, but they feel they adapted themselves quickly because they already knew the pequeños and staff, though still, Sundays seem to be never ending for the seamstresses.
The pequeños are like family to Doña Maritza and Doña Mirna. When talking with them this is more than obvious, as they mention different pequeños who come to them with their problems or worries and the seamstresses always try to give them a consoling word and some advice. The same empathy makes them feel joy at the happy moments in the lives of the pequeños. The affection they feel for the pequeños is mutual and Doña Maritza and Doña Mirna are much more than seamstresses to the NPH Nicaragua family.