Friday, August 18, 2017

Princesses and Soccer Players at NPH Nicaragua...

Below is a reflection written by NW supporter Lisa Casterella about her recent visit to the NPH home in Nicaragua! 

Jumping rope, learning new soccer moves, eating Gallo Pinto, playing with toy cars and just being with the pequeños (Spanish for “little ones”) are some of the images that I associate with my stay at NPH Nicaragua.

This large campus which houses 300+ children along with 190 dedicated staff is found in the lush green setting of SW Nicaragua. 16 cinder block homes, a large covered outdoor auditorium, soccer field and cement play area became a part of our daily routine for the time that our Seattle youth group spent in rural Jinotepe. 

While many of the NPH students were away on break during our stay, we had the unique opportunity to bond with the children and NPH University students who remained. The adult visitors became “Mama” and “Papa” to little girls dressed up like princesses and boys who loved soccer and card games. Laughing at our attempts at Spanish, the pequeños were eager share their food if they thought we needed more. One day I “accidentally” dropped a piece of cheese to feed to a hungry dog at my feet. The little boy next to me offered me his piece without hesitation!  

These beautiful children share toys and clothing. They eat and pray together in their respective homes. NPH is their family. Executive Director, Marlon Velazquez explains, “When a child comes to NPH, he is never made to feel like the new kid. I say to the other kids, ‘Victor, this is your sister Carla or your brother Manny.’” The children are now part of a big family which will nurture them with patience, compassion and education. Marlon continues, “I tell the children, if you see your brother or sister crying, you sit down and cry with them. They are your family.”  

Joseph, a high school sophomore, understands that once you become a family, “You literally have to forgive and accept your family and that’s what they do at NPH.”

All of us plan to bring the spirit of NPH back home. Bennett, a high school junior who calls the trip “transformative,” vows to “love my friends and family unconditionally, especially my own brother who has always been there to protect me.” We left with a full heart, knowing the importance of our new family.

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