Monday, January 21, 2013

The whole time I wished I was back at NPH...

Below is a story from wonderful Friend and sponsor, Tatum Zeitchick.

My name is Tatum and I’m 15 years old. I have a Godson at NPH Nicaragua named Alex. He is 9 years old and very loving. My best friend the summer of 2012 asked me to tag along with her to Nicaragua. In my head I was thinking "Tanning, Beaches, And Boys!" Soon I found out that we were going to be staying at an orphanage, which I was thrilled about, but also a little nervous because I do not speak Spanish!

In the first hour we arrived I met Alex. He was on my friend Kent's back and had stolen his baseball hat. He was saying he was some famous Nicaraguan baseball player. I started to make conversation with him. Through my friend, of course, who knew Spanish. I connected with him right away and we never left each other’s side the whole time I was there. The departure was devastating. I had tears in my eyes as I hugged him goodbye not knowing if I would ever see him again. He looked at me and said in English when will you come back? I told him I hope soon.

I then got to enjoy the sunny beaches at San Juan Del Sur, but the whole time I wished I was back at NPH. The second I walked in the door of my home after I returned to Minnesota, I asked my mom to take me to the Friends of the Orphans office. I walked in and asked to sponsor Alex. They gave me a picture and info on him, and I was so happy that I would be able to write to him! I went home and wrote probably three letters and sent them that day.

The month after I left NPH, it crossed my mind that I wanted to go back!! I started searching for flights and talked to the visitor coordinator on Facebook about dates that I could come back. I talked to my mom about it and asked if she would want to come down with me. I planned the whole trip and paid for both tickets because money was tight. After three long plane rides I was finally in Managua, Nicaragua. Just an hour away from seeing Alex and all the wonderful kids!

I finally got to NPH and ran to Alex’s house. I walked in and a child named Roberto recognized me right away and gave me a huge hug. The other kids then went yelling for Alex. Alex didn't know I was coming back to visit at this time. The look on his face was priceless and amazing. He kind of just stood there not really processing it that I was really there. After he did, he ran up to me and jumped in my arms. He then took me to his room and lifted up his mattress and pulled out all the letters and pictures I sent him. We then walked around the orphanage and all I could hear was "Tatiana!!" (my Spanish name). I will never forget that day. I stayed at NPH for five days, then it was time to go home. As of now, a month later, I am planning my next trip in June and cannot wait.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Top 5 Accomplishments of 2012 from NPH Bolivia!

1. In 2012 NPH Bolivia focused on getting sustainable projects off the ground and running. The children began to plant a vegetable garden this spring, which now yields a considerable harvest. They have been working with an agricultural expert to learn how to run the garden independently. About twenty of the older children are being trained in special leadership workshops to teach the other children and surrounding community members sustainable agriculture practices. 

2. This year we were able to buy a flock of "Ovejas de Pelo," short-haired sheep adapted to the climate in places like Bolivia. We expect the sheep to multiply and eventually help enrich the menu at the orphanage. Our new flock of sheep has begun teaching the children new responsibilities and how to care for livestock. 

3. The Austrian Embassy in Lima began funding a reforestation project on our NPH Bolivia site this year. The benefits are numerous. Most noticeably, the fruit- and shade-bearing trees--which now occupy a formerly deforested area--work to enhance the quality of life. This project allows the children to visually learn about the great benefits of sustainability. 

4. The connection between sponsors and godchildren has grown stronger and deeper this year. In contrast to previous years, we’ve had several godparents from other countries visit NPH Bolivia in 2012 to spend time with the children they sponsor. We feel very fortunate that sponsors are willing to travel to our home. 

5. The connection between NPH Bolivia and other NPH homes has also grown stronger and deeper in 2012. Three of our older children participated in important NPHI leadership workshops at other homes. Two of them went to Guatemala and one of them went to Honduras; we also sent an older child to the NPH-wide soccer tournament in Mexico. Thanks to these travel privileges, the children have felt more like part of the global NPH community, which was at first difficult to achieve because of NPH Bolivia’s remote location.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Top 5 Accomplishments of 2012 from NPH Peru!

1. This year, we were able to inaugurate our 7th house which functions as the third boys´ house. 16 of our boys can now move in and make space in the other two houses which were full. Now, everyone can feel more comfortable and have more space. Additionally  sidewalks now connect all the houses and the National Director´s house, as well as a volunteers´ house were completed. 

2. We were able to build 17 tables and 34 benches where our children can now study and eat together. We were also able to plant more than 150 trees and grass around all our houses to beautify the space. 

3. We secured an agreement with a private pedagogical institute this year. The students that are about to graduate in Pedagogical Science are now able to complete their university internship at NPH Peru. They provide tutoring to our children daily. In this way we help the students with real work experience while the students give back to our home and teach our children free of charge. 

4. We were able to install a water treatment system that allows us to drink water safely straight from the tap. Our water was contaminated by bacteria and parasites, as it is in almost all of Peru. This put our children´s health at risk. Now, everybody can drink as much water as they need safely, and we save a significant amount of money because we don´t have to buy bottled water. 

5. This year we were able to get some local donations from the regional government in Cañete. They provide us with rice, tuna, sugar, beans, oil and other important ingredients that help feed our growing children.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Top 5 Accomplishments of 2012 from NPH Dominican Republic!

1. In June, we graduated the entire eighth grade class at our home! These fifteen students proudly wore their caps and gowns and celebrated their educational accomplishments with the entire NPH Dominican Republic family. This is our fourth year in a row with 100% of the eight graders passing their national exams. We could not be more pleased with our students and their hard work. In addition to this accomplishment, we now offer 9th and 10th grade at our on-site NPH School. In the upcoming years we hope to offer all grades at our school. 

2. In July we celebrated the first high school graduation of two of our female students. Mireya and Débora graduated with their peers from their nearby high school in San Pedro de Macoris and afterwards celebrated with their friends and family from NPH. They are both now in their year of service. Mireya is working as Activities Coordinator, and Débora has taken on several roles in the NPH School. Both young ladies have big plans for university, and we plan on supporting them as much as we can so they achieve their goals. 

3. In February we hosted the NPH International Family Weekend for the first time. Event Coordinator and longtime NPH supporter, Katherine Harig, organized an incredible week for sponsors, staff and supporters from all of the NPH homes and offices. Our visitors experienced the culture of the Dominican Republic, the home and most importantly, got to meet and spend time with our children. 

4. In late January we completed the construction of our new multipurpose center. We now use this building frequently for family dinners, performances, and celebrations, or on a rainy day when we need a space for activities. 

5. Thanks to the support of donors like you, we are proud to say each house in our home now enjoys a mini-library stocked with over a hundred books in each and aimed at the age and gender of each house. The children really enjoy reading, and now with their new mini-libraries, they are able to find the joy of reading on their own terms.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Top 5 Accomplishments of 2012 from NPH El Salvador!

1. Once again we had the opportunity to plant corn crops, which is a great help for our home economy. We had 18 corn crops planted, which will be enough to make tortillas for the coming year! We also successfully planted the next quantity of vegetables in our home. (Total: 18 corn crops 15 sorghum crops 0.25 cucumber crop)  

2. We have 12 cows that produce 110 milk bottles daily. We use the milk for our babies, and also part of the milk is used to make cheese and cream that our other children consume. Currently, we have a total of 32 cows and plan to continue to grow to cover more than half of the milk needs in our home to head towards self-sufficiency.

3. In 2012, we had the opportunity to see the first Pequeños of NPH El Salvador graduate from professional school! In March, Matilde was the first young lady to graduate from Nursing school, and Elena graduated in September! 

4. This year 12 of our youths will be graduating from high school. We are very proud of them, and we know that after their year of service to the home, they are going to be ready for the great journey of starting a professional career for their future. Also, we are very proud that to report 49 youths continue studying for their careers at the university level, including three that are studying in the United States. 

5. Our Chorus and Dance group, which includes 18 of our children between the ages of 11 and 19, was able to go to Boston and Minnesota for the “Pequeño Tour” in 2012. It was wonderful to have this experience to share some of their culture with people from another country.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Top 5 Accomplishments of 2012 at NPH Guatemala!

1. In July our university students received their new house in the capital, Guatemala City. This new house not only provides more space for our current students, but it also allows space for future student who will start their studies in the future!

2. This year NPH Guatemala introduced a new school system. This new system allows the children to go to school in the morning, break for lunch, and then return to school afterwards when they can receive extra tutoring and get their homework done. This has proved to be very effective for our children, and the home is looking into ways to improve this even further.

3. We have been able to start the construction for our new visitor’s housing. The idea is to have a visitor complex on-site in the future, which will allow for more visitors and more activities with the children.

4. In September we had our second pequeño accepted into the leadership program in Seattle. Jacinto has now been in the United States for two months and we could not be prouder of him! .

5. Twenty-four pequeños from our home have been accepted to study at the university level in the upcoming year. This is the largest number of students who have been accepted at the same time to attend university in our history! They have selected various areas of study and are ready to continue their exciting journeys to better themselves.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Top 5 Accomplishments of 2012 at NPH Nicaragua!

1. NPH Nicaragua successfully moved the administration office with all the staff from San Jorge to Jintope, Casa Padre Wasson, guaranteeing closer contact for the office personnel directly with the projects, the employees of Casa Padre Wasson and with all the kids! In this way, all the communications and the job procedures are more direct and quality and speed is improved. 

2. The agricultural production improved greatly at Casa Santiago (Ometepe Island). With the focus on field productions, NPH Nicaragua was able to convert the use of the property of Casa Santiago in the most economical advantagous way after the moving of the kids into Casa Padre Wasson. Also the production at Casa Asis (San Jorge) and Casa Padre Wasson increased greatly with a wide variety of fruit and vegetables. 

3. The building of the two workshops are now complete. These workshops will provide a perfect environment for various technical training's,  for example: welding, painting, reparation, and sewing. The workshops provide training to the kids and at the same time an internal source of services to increase the autonomy of Casa Padre Wasson.  

4. A various number of construction and renovation works got underway at Casa Padre Wasson this year. The construction and preparation of the new soccer field was finished and proved to be a great venue for hosting the International Soccer Tournament this past November! All the green areas and gardens have been improved, cleaned and embellished. A long sidewalk now provides a safe walking path to the main areas of the property avoiding problems during the rainy season. The visitor’s house now has solar panels, which provide hot water for the visitors. 

5. Thanks to numerous workshops and seminars, now every worker of NPH (Caregivers, Directors, volunteers, office personnel and technical workers) is able to use the philosophy and the life of Father Wasson in everyday life and work. This training provided a greater knowledge of our organization and mission.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Top 5 Accomplishments of 2012 at NPFS Haiti

1. Building of the FWAL “Father Wasson Angels of Light” Elementary School and the FWAL Pre-K and Kindergarten School: Enrollment in the schools is numbered at 800 including our 200 little brothers and sisters plus 600 children from the tent cities and the surrounding neighborhoods in Tabarre. The schools provide not only education but jobs to approximately 60 employees! 

2. Building of St. Anne Baby House: The baby house currently houses 37 children, from newborns to 5 years old, with a capacity for 40 children total. 

3.Water Purification System: The water treatment system provides clean drinking water to our home, Kay St. Helen, which houses 410 children, staff and an elementary school, which also welcomes external students from the surrounding neighborhoods of Kenscoff. 

4. Completion of a Neonatology Unit and new operating rooms at the Maternity Ward of the St. Damien Pediatric Hospital: Triplets were born in June and Quadruplets were born in October at St. Damien Pediatric Hospital, which is the only pediatric hospital in Haiti and provides complete medical care from prenatal care through pregnancy to caring for children up to the age of 15. 

5. Completion of Hotel Villa Francesca: This facility provides accommodation for guests, short-term and long-term volunteers at NPFS Haiti!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Top 5 Accomplishments of 2012 at NPH Honduras!

1. This year we are very proud to have seen 7 more members of our family graduate with a university degree! 

2. This year we have worked hard to engage our surrounding community to generate funds for our projects. These local donations include a significant grant from bank HSBC for $25,000 that helped cover the funds of our workshops for 2012. We also received a donation from the German Embassy for $10,000 which paid for much-needed repairs of our external clinic. 

3. On an international fundraising level, Friends of the Orphans and NPH Honduras launched a successful "matching" campaign in which past volunteers and visitors helped to bring in a total of over $80,000. This has ensured funding for our vocational internships and support for high school and university students. 

4. We have completed and presented a new Strategic Plan for the next five years for our home. This plan outlines through definitions and structure the meaning and foundations of the work we do and the specific ways in which together we can achieve the mission. 

5. Some of the proudest moments though, are not quite as tangible. Seeing Linda get up in front of everyone to read during Mass, watching our babies as they learn to walk, our Youth Leadership group helping build houses with Habitat for Humanity, or Karla learning and later teaching others how to crochet! They are simple things, but they are what keep us going and make us proud daily. Thankfully, sometimes the most important measures of achievement and progress cannot be found in a financial statement.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Top 5 Accomplishments of 2012 at NPH Mexico!

1. CPI Training of staff: This summer NPHI offered the CPI training course to all employees/volunteers working with children. This course taught them how to handle difficult situations with children, to protect both themselves and the well-being of the child. 

2. Spiritual retreat for staff: Our staff attended a spiritual retreat this year. This was one of our goals for 2012 and we are proud to say that it is now an accomplishment. 

3. Biobolsa project (improving sustainable energy): This year we installed the Biobolsa in our home in Miacatlan. This system uses the waste from the farm in order to generate natural gas for our kitchen. 

4. Ciudad Juarez: The Ciudad Juarez project began bringing children from this war torn area into our home. This city has seen an increase in violence and we are happy to reach out to the children in this area, to welcome these children to a safe home. This year we were happy to welcome 20 new faces to our home from Ciudad Juarez. 

5. Vaccinating our children: This year we were able to offer a generous number of vaccinations to our children. The government provided us with enough flu shots for each child, and between January and July we administered 559 vaccinations in total!