This photo is of Marily* and me from Easter 2013. I was the volunteer in Santa Ana, the teenage girls’ house in the Dominican Republic. At the NPH-DR home, each child gets one hard-boiled egg the day before Easter to decorate as he/she sees fit. Besides the fun of decorating, these eggs are yummy treats on Easter day! At 5:00am on Easter morning, I was sneaking around the backyard of Santa Ana artfully hiding each egg as many wandering eyes peeked out through the back windows. When they were finally hidden, the girls all burst out of the house searching for the eggs and in no time at all, each girl had found her beautifully painted egg and was tearing it apart to eat it! All of the girls, except Marily. She had realized that I, the volunteer, didn’t have an egg and decided to offer me hers to eat, even though it meant she wouldn’t have one. She wouldn’t hear of anything else. I’m still amazed by her selflessness and humility. Thanks for supporting the homes that bring up children like Marily and teach us what sharing is really about!
Allow me to introduce you to Adriano* – one of the many children that call NPH home. I met Adriano while working as an international volunteer at the NPH home in Guatemala. At 14, Adriano is an old soul. He is observant, independent, introspective, and incredibly curious. Adriano and I became fast friends over a stack of the school library’s outdated National Geographic issues. He often spent his free time in the library where I worked, devouring articles in the daily newspaper and magazines, particularly interested in science, culture, and the ways of the world. He plans to study physics in college. At a young age he is both dedicated to working towards his goal and is quite aware of the opportunities available to him at NPH. He has the opportunity to live in an encouraging and safe environment, where his goal to go on to study in college is not just a dream, but quite obtainable. Since leaving NPH in July 2013 I have become Adriano's “madrina” (godmother/sponsor), allowing us to maintain the relationship we formed during the year I spent in Guatemala. We exchange letters, interesting articles, and when I find a book I know he will enjoy I send it his way.
Hola! Me llamo Katie Lawler. I started volunteering in the NPH Chicago office in 2010 and had the wonderful opportunity to visit the homes in Guatemala and El Salvador the following year. It was in Guatemala that I met Isadora* and Patricia*, who were undaunted by my elementary Spanish... they just took my hands, led me around the grounds of the home, and patiently explained (and re-explained, and acted out...) everything. I was impressed by the huge gardens. They loved showing me the animals, including "Dylan" the goat! I'm thrilled to say that I'll be volunteering at NPFS Haiti for a year starting this July. I minored in French and have been working as a neonatal ICU nurse for the past 8 years, so I have been invited to work with the staff in the NICU at St. Damien in Port-au-Prince. I can't wait to be more involved and put my commitment to these incredible kids in action.*Aliases are used for all children's names to protect their privacy.