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Louana's Life Story

As far as anyone could recall, the little girl had always been on the streets of Managua, (Nicaragua). No one knew when she was born or who her parents could be. Some pictures were taken of the places she could be seen the most often while in the streets.

This very old picture is the only one she kept with her as child memories.


It was inside this totally isolated condemned house that she was taken (with a lot of fight, cries and tears) to be brought to the orphanage as the trucks were closing in to destroy the hazardous building.

For several weeks, she refused to be dressed, cleaned or even touched in any way, and no one could befriend or approach her. She was more like a wild little scared kitten who accepted only scraps of food left on a plate on the floor. She stayed for a long time isolated in her own sad world, talking to nobody, with no friends to play with. Her only companion was a little doll made of an old grocery plastic bag and twines.
 
 
 

 


The patience and commitment of the orphanage staff encouraged the little girl to open to the world and gradually a timid smile blossomed on her lips.

Some months later she was named Jara Chamorro (one should have a full name right?) and she was added to the education program. Very quickly she demonstrated intelligence, curiosity and wit. She became a very happy little girl always ready to help and play with her friends.

 
 
 
 
 


She was passionate about books, and she seemed to want to read everything. But her favorite book of all was “Le Petit Prince” from the French author Antoine de St Exupery (The Little Prince). The very well known Orphanage Antique Library was her refuge. She would spend hours in the place, surrounded by knowledge, noble dust and oak scent.


 
 




The encounter

Codes and pictography were Davina Tonelli’s passion. When a conference on rare books and manuscripts was to be organized in Nicaragua she of course enlisted. Far was in her mind that this decision would change her life forever.

The Orphanage Antique Library is a building containing ancient manuscripts and books that were salvaged from the devastating earthquakes of 1931 and 1972. Today a little group of 30 orphan girls abandoned or at risk live there. The funds to sustain them come from scholars/universities wishing to study the books as well as private funds and charities.

 « You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. » A. St Exupéry

So here was Davina, quite alone or she thought, in the middle of worn-out hardcover atlases and manuscripts when she almost bumped into a little girl seated on the stairs.

“Perdon” said the girl standing up, ready to leave the place for the smiling lady, who without any doubt wanted to be left alone and certainly not disturbed by a bothering orphan.

"No, stay", said Davina noticing the book the little girl had in her hands. “Le petit prince” de Antoine de Saint Exupéry.

 D: -“What is your name?” asked gently Davina, fluent in Spanish.

J: -“Jara” answered the little brown girl.

D: -“How old are you?”

J: -“I am 8.”

D: -“Do you live here?”

J: -“Yes”

D: -“Do you like to read?”

J: -”Yes and this book is my favorite of all, it is the story of a little boy who lives on a very tiny planet. I need to leave now, I am not supposed to be here at this hour and even less when there’re visitors.”

D: -“I d'ont mind you here, answered Davina; if any trouble I will say that I am the one who asked you to guide me”

J: -“I can guide you; I know all about this place, I know the books, the authors, the subjects and the place they are supposed to be. I even reorganize the shelves when books are misplaced”.

D: - “So, you are definitely going to be my personal guide Jara, my name is Davina and I love books too”.

« It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important. » A. St Exupéry

After long hours together in the antique building Davina was totally confident about Jara’s capabilities. She indeed knew every nooks and crannies of the dusty place. She moved like the owner of the library, it was a treat for Davina. What a wonderful day they had together! Davina discovering new wonders thanks to her charming and so passionate little guide.

D: - “Jara, would you like to be adopted?

J: - “oh yes I would love to, but I am too old now, parents like babies and toddlers, they do not want a big girl you know?

D:-“I would love to have you! I have a bookstore in Monaco, this is in Europe, and I would love to have a daughter who loves books as much as you do, to share my passion and possession with her.

J: -“Really???

D:-“yes my sweet girl, really. If you agree, I can go right now and ask the director of the orphanage the process to start the paperwork.

J:  - “I would love you to be my mommy, I will be the best girl you ever dreamed of, I promise.”

D: - “so, this is settled. Now let’s go to see the director.”

As adoption is quite an ordeal in Nicaragua as for most of other countries, Davina stayed in the country for almost 2 years renting a charming place where she kept on working at deciphering. She studied as much as she could all and every very valuable manuscripts of the library.

In her home she could enjoy Jara’s presence and appreciates each minute of it. The little girl preferred to be called Louana. If she had to have a new life, new Mom, and new country why not a new name as well?

Louana was very bright and curious of everything as if her eight years of life in the orphanage’s library had made her aware of wonders she could dream of without reaching them. Now she can, and she will with the help of her Mom Davina.
 
 
 

« One sees clearly only with the heart. The essential is invisible to the eyes. » A. St Exupéry

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