Below is a reflection by former Seattle leadership student Jacinto Arias, who is currently working at NPH Guatemala.
It's been almost 2 years since I came back from Seattle. When I look back I realize that I am not the same person that I was before. I experienced ten months filled with hard work, joy, games, homework (grammar), and meeting so many people. I met really good people. I don’t remember some of their names, but I have their faces in my mind.
In the beginning, it was really hard because I was really far from my friends and my family, and of course the language made my first weeks harder. During my stay in Seattle, I could find unconditional love from my host family (the Callans) and in their house I felt for the first time in my whole life, a real family. But now you will say: Why are you saying that? You are in NPH and NPH is a family and its true, but there I experienced having a mom and dad, where they took care of me very seriously. I remember this phrase from Cathy Callans: I take my role very seriously. She said that when she saw that I was doing something wrong or something good, as well. They treated me as a son and their kids treated me as a brother. Their kids (Jonathan, Matthew and Molly) always had time for me and they argued with each other in order to know who had the best Spanish.
I was used to having so many people around me and when I went to Seattle it was really different. I lived in a big house for 5 people and for me it was really difficult to get used to it. Sometimes I got frustrated because I was alone at the house and I had just one channel in Spanish, but because of that experience I got to learn more about myself. I realized that at NPH I did not have enough time for myself, and in Seattle I had that time and I could know more about myself: goals, objectives, fears, etc.
No matter where I went, I found good people; people who were and still are interested in NPH. Something that really impressed me was that even though they did't know NPH, they believed in us, they believed that we would be successful and we would change the world. I admire NPH USA a lot because they work so hard every day in order to help us and get more people involved.
Kara King, the coordinator of the program, always trusted in us. She is an amazing person and always listened to us and gave us advice. She is totally convinced that this program is worth it, which motivates me to keep working and helping others. I know that I cannot do everything, but I can do something and that something I will do well.
People from the States and all the people that help us, thank you so much for your support. I have no words to thank you nor a way to pay you, but I am truly convinced that one day YOU will have your compensation.