And this is why we build bridges: for young people like Jimmy

And this is why we build bridges: for young people like Jimmy

July 14, 2017

By Caroline Garcia

He will likely never see this written or be able to read it in English, but I wish he could.

Our CH2M team recently built our seventh bridge with Bridges to Prosperity–in the remote village of Quililon, Nicaragua.

Caroline Garcia's young friend, Jimmy

Caroline Garcia’s young friend, Jimmy

On Monday, June 5, our first day of the bridge build, bright and early, he appeared. An optimistic and eager young man ready to help our team build a bridge for his village. He introduced himself to me as “Jimmy,” but I suspect this was his Americanized name to make it easier for us to communicate with him.

After our introductions that first day, our team went to work. Every time I turned around, Jimmy was there, ready and waiting for his next marching orders. It did not matter what I asked this young man to do…he did everything with a smile and a jump to his step. I wondered: where did this kid come from? Where did this kid learn such a work ethic? I wondered about his living conditions. He arrived and departed alone, yet his cousin Estella was working as a volunteer as well. She was just as hard of a worker, so I can only assume that this was a pretty stellar family!

Caroline Garcia with Jimmy

Caroline Garcia with Jimmy

Over the course of 2 weeks I got to know Jimmy. He’s 15 years old and wants to be an engineer, but he was only able to go to school 2 days a week because of family obligations and difficulty crossing the Tuma river to get to school. I got to meet his father and told him (in Spanish) what a great kid he has.

Jimmy brought me avocadoes and cacao for our team from his family’s farm. I know his family doesn’t have that much, yet they were generous and giving. On the last day, for the inauguration of our beautiful 89-meter bridge, Jimmy’s mother made the ½-hour walk from their home to the bridge site just to meet me. I was touched that Jimmy spoke so highly of our CH team and that we have become such an exciting part of his future.

Jimmy with his mom and Caroline on the last day

Jimmy with his mom and Caroline on the last day

When people ask me about my experience building a bridge in Nicaragua, I will not only think of Jimmy and his ability to get to school more often, but also I will think of Jimmy’s extended family and the opportunities our team has provided to them for future generations.







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July 2017


  1. Michael Niemet

    Fantastic Caroline! You are an inspiration. It is wonderful to see you and CH2M making such a positive impact on people's lives.

  2. Jack Robertson

    It might sound funny (or fatherly) to say that I am proud of you, Caroline - but that's how I feel. I can't say I'm envious, since camping in the heat, rain, and mud has never really appealed to me, but I respect you for completing this mission. Some think that a mission must be somehow related to religion or church. To me, it is just getting off the couch, out of your comfort zone, and doing something for others - and you made quite an impact!

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