Carnage opened a Children’s Learning Center in Villa Japón, Nicaragua today. The community is home to about 3,000 people where they work on large farms owned by foreign and national companies or in nearby free trade zones. Most of the community lives in extreme poverty where they can barely afford basic needs and houses are made from sheet metal, cardboard, and plastic tarps.
Carnage received help from Seeds of Learning (SOL) to build the two room Children’s Learning Center where kids will find a children’s room, a digital library, books, and other educational materials. The space will also provide music, dance, and technology classes as well as vocational workshops.
The letter from Carnage on why this project is so important to him:
To Chipotle Gang and Readers around the world:
I was raised in Guatemala. I saw things that most Americans didn’t see first hand. You may see it in magazines, on television and on the internet, but actually living and seeing it in front of you makes a huge difference.
My first language is Spanish and my first few years of school were spent in Central America. I remember watching “Rugrats” and “WWF” in Spanish (lol). A majority of the homes in my area had a worker or workers that lived with them. They would cook, clean, and some were nannies. They were all very poor but working for the middle class in Guatemala was a way of stepping up in the world to make more money. I remember my nanny Theresa. She was like a third mother to me. My aunt who helped raise me was a second mother to me, and of course my ‘real’ Mom was the first. My uncle – who was in the military then – was like a father to me.
Theresa was always there for me – washing my clothes, making sure I was fed and helping me with homework and anything I needed. Her daughter Patty (3 or 4 years my senior) lived with us too. My Aunt always offered to help take care of her because she didn’t want her to grow up with a bad life.
Sometimes we didn’t have hot water and we would have to boil it and bathe in a big bucket in the backyard. There were chickens in the back too lol – we were on the real Spanish shit. I recall going to El Mercado with Theresa or my Aunt everyday. We would see robberies, people on drugs, children as young as one year-old working for their parents in the street. They had dirty clothes and were eating out of trash cans.
Driving around Guatemala you can see kids selling chiclets and candy for 1 or 2 quetzals. I saw this all growing up and I was very young but still remember it vivdly. I also saw people with a solid income and good living but never saw social status or thought I was any better than these kids. I just saw them as kids with a whole life ahead of them but they had to live this unfortunate lifestyle.
My family and I would travel around on the Tica Bus which is kind of like the Greyhound bus of Central America. We’d go to Nicaragua – my home country to see family. Sometimes we would go to San Salvador and Honduras. It was the same situation everywhere – lots of poverty, children not in school because they had to work.
From my point of view the poverty in Nicaragua was the worst. My own family wasn’t living well – they didn’t have air conditioning and had to cover their doors with barbed wires to block out break-ins. My cousins were always wearing hand me downs that didn’t fit them. Kids in the neighborhood were sniffing glue, people were always getting shot outside my Auntie’s house, gang fights at night and people getting stabbed were part of the norm.
Later on around age 7 I moved to America and boom – I finished elementary and middle school. My Aunt who helped raise me moved to America too. I used to visit Guatemala and Nicaragua once a year with my family. I saw Theresa my nanny and she had her own home which was not much bigger than a standard hotel room. She lived with her husband, 2 children and a grandchild. I’ve DJed in booths bigger than their house. It was made out of cinder blocks and a metal foil roof. Two mini beds and a small oven made up their home. The kids had to play outside in the dirt. It hurt to see this and felt like there was nothing I could do. My aunt had been helping them to survive by giving her money once a month. This was enough so that Theresa and her kids were able to go to school and now she is a certified teacher! After all the poverty I had to see my loved ones go through it reallyreally hurt and made me realize that others really have it worse than I have.
One thing I knew from being raised in Central America is that everyone takes education VERY seriously. Latino parents anywhere seem to feel the same way. If you graduate you can get a good job and give back to your struggling family. My Aunt, Grandma and Mom always taught me to help fellow persons in need. My Grandma would always visit Guatemala and Nicaragua with nearly 8 huge suitcases filled with clothes and old stuff to give to all of our family who needed it back home. My family would tell me stories about when they fled Nicaragua back in the day. The war they had to see, the earthquake that ruined everything for my grandparents. My grandpa (who was a pilot) had to steal a plane in the idle of the night to try to get my Mom and Aunties out of there. The plane barely had any gas and the enemies were trying to shoot them down at the airport. Luckily they all made it to Guatemala. My Aunt stayed there while the rest of the family crossed the Rio Grande with a coyote and later made it to America. They crossed the border illegally and got caught, but were able to stay because they have 5-6 kids with them and they were much more lenient about immigration back then. They needed a better life.
My Grandma didn’t have very much money to support everyone so my Aunties would survive from eating raw onions and tomatoes. Later she moved to DC and worked her way up from cleaning to opening her first restaurant. My grandparents are fucking bosses and I think I got my hard work tendencies from them. My family really represents hard work and helping the needy. My Grandma is now 81 and I hope she lives til she’s at least 100. I want my kids to meet her because if it wasn’t for her, my Grandpa, Aunt, Uncle and Mom I wouldn’t be here.
Now that I’m living this incredible life I’m blessed with the money that comes with it. I decided to use this money to give back to what raised me. Mi Tierra. I wanted my grandparents to know that whenever they pass (God forbid anytime soon) that they know I gave back and will be proud of me. Especially since they never see me since I’m traveling so much.
Three months ago I told my management I wanted to build a school back in Nicaragua and Guatemala. Luckily we found a great organization that could make this come through – Seeds of Learning.
Now the first of MANY learning centers are finished. What’s a better way to give back then to build a school for people that don’t have the opportunity to go an get knowledge from a school because it’s too far or too expensive?
Villa Japon (the location of my first learning resource center) is just 1 of many good things coming…
And I’m now working on my second school that I will be building in Guatemala.
I might come off like a dick sometimes. You might not like my music my sets what the fuck ever. All I know is that when I die… I’m gonna rest happily in my coffin knowing that I helped. I changed families’ lives. Because some kid in that school is going to grow into a great woman or a great man and become a president or a governor or a scientist or whatever they want to be.
I suggest you guys do the same for any culture or race you might be. Give back. Make a difference.
I love you all.