Tuesday, February 28, 2012

You will find the experience worthwhile...

Below is an excerpt written by great Friend and Godparent, Jason Topp.He writes about his recent trip to NPH in the DR with his wife and children. Jason is an avid golfer and writes a monthly column on a golf website about his travels and of course couldn't resist sharing about his DR trip.

The baseball facility reminds me of a place where children are given the chance to lead a productive life that is not dependent on their baseball skill. Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos (NPH) gives children from extraordinarily difficult circumstances a home, food, education and love. The organization is tremendously successful with such efforts and my family regularly visits their homes located in countries throughout Central America, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

The purpose of our visit was to meet two children we sponsor in NPH’s Dominican home – Esterlín and Anna Maria. Esterlín is 11 years old, small, loves soccer and has a gang of friends that are rambunctious and friendly. Marks on his head bear testament to a difficult early childhood. Anna Maria is ten, very shy and timid. Her caretakers report that four sentences a day are her maximum – residue from parental neglect.

We attend a wedding with the children, and enjoy a celebratory dinner and awkward communication. I resort to the old parent tricks of rock paper scissors and a game where everyone puts their hands on a pile and the bottom one moves to the top. It is unclear what Anna Maria thinks of us and at one point she leaves us. We look around for her and she returns holding a friend’s hand and instructs her friend to give each of us a hug. She then brings her friend back and returns with another. She repeats the process until we had hugged about a dozen little girls.

We return the next day and all of us are more comfortable with each other. The boys bring my son and me to their baseball fields for a sandlot game. My 45 year-old shoulder no longer is capable of a throw from third to first. After a couple of hours we transfer to the soccer field and I learn I stink at soccer and am out of shape.

I must admit that the motivation for sponsoring these kids is not entirely charitable. When I was a child my mother bought The World Atlas of Golf as a coffee table book. The name Cajuiles struck me as magic. The idea of seven holes jutting out into the ocean seemed beyond comprehension. Ever since that time, I dreamed of playing the Teeth of the Dog and recognized that the Casa de Campo resort was not far from the NPH home.

Teeth of the Dog at Casa de Campo is my February course of the month. Our family has a general rule that we never travel to the same destination twice. That rule will be broken in this instance. I look forward to returning again soon to see Estelín, Anna Maria, winter baseball and feeling the warm breezes off the Caribbean Sea. I hope the kid in the batting cage gets the loop out of his swing. I am more optimistic about Esterlín and Anna Maria’s prospects.

You will find the experience worthwhile regardless of whether you visit Casa de Campo.

You can view Jason's full article here.

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