Tuesday, November 18, 2014

*Manuel’s New Home

The below entry was written by Stefan Feuerstein, National Director of NPH Honduras. Stefan reflects on the emotional experience of bringing eight-year-old Manuel permanently into the NPH family due to the closing of the home where he had lived.

I don’t know if I will ever really understand this world, where small children can be so totally lost and desperate that they will happily get in a car and drive away to a new place to live with complete strangers, while smiling and laughing.  I don’t know if I will ever understand how children can become so disappointed by those who should love them, that they find hope in those they don’t yet know.

But today reminded me of the role that we can all play in the lives of the lost to make things just a little bit better, and it reminded me of the huge responsibility that we all bear together as we embark to do just that. 

Today I felt my heart get ripped to tiny shreds and stitched together again a thousand times as we drove back from San Pedro Sula to the Ranch with Nidia, our Social Worker, and Manuel*, a child of eight years, in the back seat of my car.  A small, innocent boy with a sweet laugh, missing front teeth and a lisp, Manuel talked and talked and laughed and talked as Nidia laughed and listened. He talked of his favorite foods that he had not yet eaten, and compared in great detail the hamburger that we bought for him, to the previous one, the first hamburger he had ever had. He tried for a while to count the stars through the window as we drove on winding roads through the mountains once it got dark. He explained to us which robots are the strongest, and why. But in his stories, so sweetly told, you could also find bits and pieces that reminded us over and over again how broken we have let the world become. He proudly told us that he is never afraid of the dark, not even when he sleeps outside in the grass at night to avoid beatings from his step-father. He spoke of his dreams of becoming a soldier, because they have bigger guns than the murderers who walk the streets. In childish pragmatism, he tried to figure out how many pizzas you would need to take with you if you tried to walk to the United States in three days from Honduras.

But watching Nidia and Manuel in my mirror as they talked and laughed together, I saw how one broken little piece of this world can maybe fix another broken little piece. Nidia came to NPH when she was nine. She worked hard, studied well, and graduated from university as a Social Worker a few years ago.  And here she is today, negotiating with politicians, arguing with government social workers, formalizing the legal guardianship of NPH for 20 children from a closing government home, and laughing with a lost little boy in the back seat of a car as she takes him to the place that will be the foundation for his future.
It’s been a long, tiring day, with long tiring drives to and from the murder capital of the world. But it’s been a truly beautiful day.

I am so proud and grateful to be part of this amazing endeavor that Father Wasson started so many years ago. There is so much that we will never understand, and there is so much that is broken, but there is also so much that is good in the people around us.

Tonight I go to bed thinking of broken pasts and promising futures, and thinking of those little things that might mean that some little worlds and some little lives just might be ok soon. 

Tonight is Manuel’s first night of many on the Ranch.

Good night, and God Bless,

*names have been changed to protect the privacy of children 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Volunteers Are The Backbone Of NPH

Volunteers have been supporting the wonderful work of NPH since we first opened our doors. Their vital contributions enable NPH to transform the lives of orphaned, abandoned and disadvantaged children. Our international volunteers’ caring and generous spirits make a difference every day – one child at a time.

Click here to read a blog entry from one of our international volunteers, Shana Van Valkenburg. We are thrilled that Shana was one of the 2014 recipients of the Hightower and Kloos Legacy Fund endowment, created after the devastating 2010 Haiti earthquake to honor those killed, including international volunteer Molly Hightower and visitor Ryan Kloos.