By Mark Ellis
Xochilt (So-sheel) was raised in a garbage dump in Nicaragua, a place where life held little value and young girls were offered by their mothers to truck drivers for quick cash.
“One of the biggest risks that happened in the dump was at night, there were no doors to the houses and someone could easily enter with a pistol or something similar and you could end up dead and no one could do anything about it,” Xochilt recalls.
Gloria Sequeira was part of a team helping with the children’s schooling at the dump and discovered there were sordid activities going on. “There was a business going on in there where the mothers were sending the girls and the truck drivers would take them inside and have sex with them and would pay them.
“We were bringing teams to help the school but my worry was what was happening with the girls? In my heart grew the desire: What if we have a house? What if we can get some of the girls out of that space?”
In partnership with Forward Edge, Pastor Kip Jacobs at SouthLake Church in Oregon made an appeal to raise
funds for a home for the girls. Amazingly, God lowered from above the exact amount needed to buy and develop a property that came to be known as Villa Esperanza.
Xochilt was one of the first 16 girls rescued from the dump who came to live at the new facility. “I just remember when Xochilt was living in the dump. She was seven or eight years old with a baby in her arms, her hair matted and covered with dirt,” says Joseph Anfuso, with Forward Edge.
Teams from SouthLake and other churches went down to help with construction of the property and to care for the girls. One of the women who visited Villa Esperanza from SouthLake Church stayed up all night caring for Xochilt and Xochilt still
remembers her loving concern.
“If I wasn’t here (Villa Esperanza), I probably would not be studying. Or probably I would be with a boy and have a child,” Xochilt says.
“The main principle they teach us is the love of God.” She is studying English and wants to be a dance teacher some day.
Sam Martin, a filmmaker who documented conditions at the dump, sees the lasting value of the
investment in the girls.
“If you help a person get out of a tough spot,” he says, “and break the cycle you might help a whole generation, because you don’t know if that girl will get married some day and have kids and those kids may be raised in a way that they never knew the dump existed.”
To learn more about the work of Forward Edge, go here