“Sometimes beautiful things come into our lives out of nowhere. We can’t always understand them, but we have to trust in them. I know you want to question everything, but sometimes it pays to just have a little faith.”
― Lauren Kate,
Sergio was one of my ESL students in 2004. He took his studies seriously and when he graduated from high school in 2006 he was valedictorian of his class. Now, Sergio is manager of the Corner House Restaurant and Hotel in Moyogalpa on Ometepe Island.
But, how did a small-town country boy become a manager of one of the most popular restaurants and hotels on Ometepe Island?
Sergio says, It is because of faith. It is not important of my actual situation in life because I know that when I have faith in the future, I will have a better situation in life.
Sergio was born in a small village called El Congrejal near San Jorge, Nicaragua. When he was four years old, his father left without a word, and he and his mother moved to Ometepe Island to live with his mother’s mother…his grandmother. Throughout his high school years, he had loving support from his mother, his beloved step-father Eloy, his aunt that he considers to be like another mother, and his extended family.
I am proud of my mother because my mother sold two pigs every year when I was in high school to pay for my school supplies, uniforms, and my education.
After Sergio graduated from high school, he wanted to continue to study English and go to the university to become a doctor. Although two pigs could be sold to give him money to support his high school education, he understood that he needed a lot more money to attend a university than two pigs could supply. So, for the next five years he worked as a field hand. He cut and harvested plantains, herded cattle, became a master with a machete, and worked extremely hard in the hot sun everyday for approximately 250 cordobas a week. (At that time it was $47.50 a week)
I thought to myself that one day I needed to find a career. There was no future for a farmer in Nicaragua.
Sergio said that one day, while he was working in the field, his cousin ( who worked at the Corner House) told him that Gary, the owner, needed to hire someone who spoke English.
I spoke English to the cows in the field to practice. I can do this.
Sergio was given a trial week of work. He asked for a week off from his job as a field hand and Gary trained him to do everything at the Corner House Restaurant.
I was very nervous and timid, and I made many mistakes. It was hard for me and Gary’s expectations were very high. I had no confidence.
After he finished his training week, Sergio prepared to return to his former job as a field hand. He never expected to be hired.
Gary really liked me and told me the job was year-round. I was so excited and surprised.
On his birthday in 2012, a beautiful thing came into his life out of nowhere…his first job in tourism. Anyone who knows Sergio would not be surprised at his faith. He truly lives by his faith that regardless of his present circumstances, the future will always be better. And he has worked at the Corner House since that beautiful birthday present in 2012.
After several years, Gary and Laura decided to leave the island to be closer to their families. Their Plan A was to have a good friend manage the hotel and restaurant, but Plan A fell through. Sergio recalled that he was Plan B, although he had no idea at the time that he was going to manage Gary and Laura’s business.
I worked in the restaurant until Gary said, “Sergio, we are going to leave and you are going to be the boss.”
Thanks to Gary, he gave me the confidence to be the best that I can be. Gary gave me a new opportunity in my life and I am very grateful to both Gary and Laura for believing in me.
Sergio is married now and they are expecting their first child in July. His family works at the Corner House with him. It is a family run business. I asked him if it was difficult to be the boss of his family and he gave me a sheepish look and said that at times he has to tell them what to do, but they all work well together.
Sergio’s mantra in life has always been, “I can do it.” He works hard, studies English on Saturday in the university in Urbite on Ometepe Island, and will soon graduate with a degree in English. He strives to improve his English. He said that one of his biggest challenges is to speak fluently with the customers.
When I asked him to tell me what his life will look like in five years, he was puzzled. At first he responded, “Nothing in this life is forever.” But, when I reframed my question to be what are your goals for the future, he surprised me with a list of things he wants to accomplish.
I want to improve my English because it is a very good tool for me. English will prepare me for my life and I will have more opportunities. When he finishes university, he wants to continue studying English on the mainland.
Sergio is building a new house for his family. When I asked him when it will be finished, he laughed and said, When I have enough money. First, the baby will be crying for milk.
Someday, I would like to be the owner of a business.
I have no doubt that Sergio will be successful at whatever he chooses. He has a strong faith, he has been given an opportunity to manage a popular hotel and restaurant that most young Nicaraguans would never have, and he has the motivational I Can Do It attitude.
Sometimes beautiful things come into our lives out of nowhere. That is how I feel about Sergio. I am so proud of him!
Sergio wants everyone to know:
Keep the faith! Don’t worry about life’s actual situations because if you have a strong faith then your future will be better.