After my sister adopted the first of two children from Guatemala, my parents and my other sister became NPH sponsors to two boys. That was eight years ago, and ever since then, I have wanted to travel to Guatemala to learn about my niece and nephew’s birth culture, and to meet my family’s NPH godchildren.
Organizations can look great on paper, but until you actually visit them you can’t be sure. I have to admit that NPH sounded a little too good to be true. But from what I saw, it is everything it says it is and more.
The friendly staff greeted me warmly. They all seem genuinely happy to work there. (Don’t worry if you don’t speak Spanish, most of the staff speak English and the kids, who study English in school but aren’t usually very fluent yet, are used to non-Spanish speaking visitors.)
The clean and spacious visitor house I stayed in had several rooms with comfortable beds, hot water, wifi, and a common area. The kitchen was stocked with basics, including bread made by the students. (To ensure privacy for visitors and volunteers, the kids are not allowed in the visitor houses.)
Vilma, the Sponsor Coordinator, took me to the carpenty workshop where I met 15-year-old Mynor, my sister’s godchild. He took me on a tour of the NPH facility. It’s like a small village, with two large school buildings, a health clinic, an administration building, dormitories, a dining hall and kitchen, workshops, visitor houses, gardens, and animals.
The kids seemed happy. I saw a lot of laughter and camaraderie. They form close bonds with staff and with the other kids in their section. Many of them have siblings at the home as well. Their days are full and busy, with school, workshops, homework, meals, and chores.
My parents’ godchild, 10-year-old Pedro, was away at a soccer match, so I met him the next morning. I spent the day with him, attending his classes and helping him with homework. That evening I took him out for dinner in the town center, a short walk from NPH.
As I spent time with Mynor and Pedro, I couldn’t help imagining what their lives would be like if they didn’t live there. Drugs, gangs, and constant hunger are just some of the likely scenarios. At NPH they live in a safe, structured, loving environment where they get an education, good food, health care, and help to build a happy future. There’s no question that NPH sponsors are making a real difference.