Tuesday, October 21, 2014

NPH USA: Ross Egge Shares His Experience in Honduras

Here is a touching video featuring Ross Egge, Assistant Director of NPH Honduras, about what NPH means to him and how getting involved in transforming the lives of orphaned, abandoned and disadvantaged children is the most important work he can do. Enjoy!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Growing Up In The NPH Family

Stefan Feuerstein, National Director of NPH Honduras, shares his insight on what it means to grow up in the NPH family and how the experience provides children the basis from which to build their lives and become successful adults who are able to give back to their communities. Enjoy!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Top 10 Things I Will Remember from My Trip to NPH Honduras

The below observations were written by Kim Dumke, National Manager, Marketing at NPH USA about her trip to NPH Honduras for a NPH communications officers meeting.

1. The Ranch is famous!
Before landing in Tegucigalpa, I told a flight attendant that I would be visiting Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos. That did not ring a bell with him, nor did “Rancho Santa Fe.” But then I told him that people call it “the Ranch.” He replied, “Oh, the Ranch! I’ve heard of that!” 

2. NPH = safe haven.
There are beautiful mountains and lots of trees on the route to the Ranch, but there are also streets in disrepair, piles of trash along the road, and shelters made of scrap metal and wood. Just as in Mexico and Nicaragua, which I had previously visited, the NPH site is a sanctuary that feels far removed from its third world surroundings. The property extends as far as you can see and is peaceful, despite the fact that it is home to more than 400 children, and has a medical clinic and surgery center that are bustling with people who come from far and wide for help.

3. The children welcomed me with open arms – literally.
As I walked around the grounds, random children I had never met ran over to hug me and exchange a few words. One little boy wrapped his arms around me tightly, pressed his head against my ribs and refused to let go, even when other kids lightly swatted him on the head and ran away giggling. He eventually released me because it was almost dinner time.

4. Eating local – mostly.
Meals are simple but nourishing, with various combinations of rice, beans, vegetables, eggs and cheese. Because of an ongoing drought, they are currently getting their beans from Ethiopia. However, the eggs come from the home’s farm, as does the milk for the chees, which is made on-site, along with tortillas and bread.

5. “Snack” is in the eye of the beholder.
During a tour of the school, I saw kids contentedly snacking on whole cucumbers from the farm as if they were candy bars.

6. An old tire makes a great planter.
They practice Reduce, Reuse, Recycle on the Ranch. Trash is separated. Fallen branches and live trees are used for fence posts and dead trees are used for fire wood. They avoid cutting down trees if possible, and even build around them in some cases. Thanks to solar water heaters, you can take a hot shower, which is surprising in a country that lacks the infrastructure and public services we take for granted in the U.S.

7. Everything in its place.
At the storeroom, there is a place for everything, and everything is in its place, or signed out in a record book.

8. Adult supervision is not always required.
At one of the houses, I saw a boy go down a slide on top of a tall plastic crate. I was sure this would result in a trip to the clinic, but before I could say anything and before the next boy got his turn, a girl no more than 8 years old took the crate and set it out of reach. To my surprise, there was no screaming or whining; the boys just resumed sliding.

9. The children love their sponsors.
I have sponsored a boy at NPH Guatemala for 12 years so I know how important godparents are to the children, but this visit reinforced it. Some children asked me if I was their “Madrina” (Godmother) or if I would be, and everywhere I went, I heard kids – even those who have just started talking – calling, “Madrina!” I am still not sure how I escaped without having another dozen Godchildren!

10. Everyone loves the babies’ house.

It is no surprise that visitors love to spend time at the babies’ house where children up to age 7 live. However, I was surprised to see a sheep roaming freely along the courtyard! “Sheep” as it is called is no visitor, though; it lives there and never has to go far to find someone to pet it.

Photo credit: Iris Vanessa Salinas Castellanos, Coordinator of the Babies' House

Often when people hear the word “orphanage,” they think of a dismal place full of skinny, dirty children hoping to be adopted. If you visit an NPH home, you will see the term does not apply. Instead you will meet healthy children who are content knowing that they have a “forever” home, a loving family and the chance to transcend poverty to become productive citizens. This is only possible because of our caring supporters from around the world. I hope you know that you are making a difference for thousands of boys and girls.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Volunteers Run for NPH!

Below is a beautiful reflection from Hailey Rademacher about volunteers running to support NPH 

It only takes a small group of people to make a big difference! Eight former NPH International Volunteers raced a half-marathon in Seattle on August 9th to raise money and awareness for NPH. The group rallied friends and family to support the cause, and raised over $9,500 to provide food, education and healthcare to the 3,200  children that they know and love at NPH!

A big thank you to Sally Weigel, Alana Glanell, Alissa White, Doug Orofino, Kate Dorman, Lauren Eaton, Angela Klaassen, and Bryan Joneswho each spent over one year working at various NPH homes.  Led by Weigel who volunteered at NPH Honduras, the former volunteers saw an incredible opportunity to get more people connected to NPH locally, and meet the needs of the children. Alana Glanell finished the first for women in the race, and Kate Dorman completed the entire run while juggling! The runners cheered each other on throughout the race saying “Por los ninos” or “for the kids”- an inspiring shout out to remind themselves why they ran the half-marathon.

The spirit of the volunteer community continues even after they leave the NPH homes. Most volunteers go back to visit the kids and employees, and stay in touch with volunteers they met abroad. Thank you to each volunteer who has committed their time, talents, and energy to the NPH children. Your passion and experience has an incredible ongoing impact. The growing former volunteer communities across the United States demonstrate incredible opportunities for getting involved locally and continuing to improve the lives of the children together.

Thank you to everyone who ran and supported the NPH USA half-marathon team!