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SJDS VB Blue Monday

This is a picture of the students from the HOLA/SCAVB learning facility in San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua who all dressed in blue on June 3rd, 2019 the Monday following the tragic shooting in the Municipality in Virginia Beach.  Virginia Beach is currently a friendship city and is very close to becoming an official sister city.

This school is fully supported by HOLA, other Virginia Beach organizations including several directors of SCAVB as well as the only other Sister Cities to San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua – Newton, MA. Most of the children in Nicaragua do not have the resources to afford more than one set of clothes and many found a way to find blue in honor of everyone involved in the tragedy at the Municipality.

I, Graham Young, Board of Directors of SCAVB arrived at the school to conduct normal business with the Mayor who is part of the San Juan del Sur, Friendship City delegation as well as HOLA (Helping Orphans Latin America). I was not aware they had prepared something for the city of Virginia Beach. The average student must walk about 7 miles to a dirt road where a bus funded by HOLA arrives as the sun is rising to take them to this school 2 hours north of the Costa Rican border.

I was caught off guard as the students had this particular Monday off and they miraculously showed up after hearing the news. I have worked in Nicaragua for over 20 years and this is one of the most emotional moments I have ever had in my life. They had so many questions. They wanted to make sure everyone who they have heard about in sister cities, the students from Virginia Beach who visited in August and everyone who is part of HOLA was safe. Many who did not have full blue apologized and asked me if we would forgive them.

The girl holding the flag was holding back tears as others could not hold back their emotions.  Several students clenched my hand and would not let go.  San Juan Del Sur held a moment of Silence as a city and it was a very big deal. This is the culture of Nicaragua. They care about us so much even if we have not met them. This particular school is not religious, yet they prayed for us. These kids may be poor in resources, but they understand compassion at a level I cannot comprehend. The people of San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua love Virginia Beach, VA, and want you to know it!