Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos


Kristen says...

One of the fun things about this month is that every date is going to end in 10/10 (if you write it the European/Honduran/everywhere in the world except the US-an way)

Well, I am finally recovered enough to write about our latest monthly visit to Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos (Our Little Brothers [and Sisters]). NPH is an international organization that takes in "orphaned, abandoned, and other at-risk" boys and girls...but the really cool thing is, it's not the type of orphanage where kids are put up for adoption...once they come to NPH, it is considered their permanent home. Because many of the children had been abused, have physical or mental disabilities, or have gone through other ordeals in their short lives, NPH doesn't put them through the stress of adoption days. Once they come to NPH, they can stay there basically as long as they want.

There are two NPH houses in Honduras. One is literally outside our back door--one of the lines of our address down here is "en frente de Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos." Casa de Los Ángeles provides housing for some of the NPH children with the most severe disabilities, as well as therapy to help them succeed. The other NPH kids in Honduras are at the Rancho Santa Fe, which is a full-service (and almost completely self-sufficient) Ranch about an hour's drive from Teguc. As of last month, there are over 600 children from age 6 months-21+ living on the Ranch, and apparently it is also home to AIDS patients and their families, and the "abuelos," or grandparents, older Hondurans who don't have anywhere else to go, who can live out their days in comfort and surrounded by loving children.

The Rancho gives children hands-on skills that they can use when (or if) they leave NPH as adults. This takes them from being potential "burdens" on society (or living on the streets) to having the ability to make their own way in the world through agriculture. Those who don't want to be farmers "when they grow up" are given the opportunity to move into the city for job training in domestics, as wait staff, or in sales. It is really a neat organization that is changing the lives of thousands of children in 9 Latin American countries. Check out the link above (or here) to learn more about the history, mission, founder, or to donate to this VERY worthy cause.

ANYWAY, obviously we believe in this organization, and Chris and I visit the Rancho once a month, usually on the last Sunday of the month. We ended up going a week late this past month, because of silly Tropical Storm Matthew, which didn't really do much more than dump rain on us. The rain was enough to make some of the roads a lot icky, though, so we had to put the trip off until this past Sunday.

There were six of us that went, two other teachers from the school, one of the teachers' husband, and a friend from that couple's church. The other couple were the ones that invited us along in the first place: apparently the school has been supporting NPH though volunteering for the past few years.

This was our second trip, but really the first time we got to look around the Ranch. Here are a few pictures at the Rancho:

Left: All the furniture at NPH is made on-site by the students...some of the beds are singles, others are double and triple bunks.
Right: Statues of NPH's founder Fr. William Wasson and some "hermanos"

Left: Two of the "hermanas" with the statues

Right: Chris with some of the "hermanos"

Below: some of the farm animals from the Rancho

We were even introduced to the "abuelos," which was one of the best parts of my day. I love older people, and these were so sweet. They were thrilled to see the children, and to meet new people. They greeted us so warmly, "Bienvenidos a nuestro rancho." They introduced themselves to us, and I was able to chat a little in my ever-growing Spanish.

After wandering (and being pulled! the kids were so excited to show us their home!) all over the Rancho we went back to our gathering area (and playground) and had lunch...by request, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches!

Chris and I actually made 50 of them (and another teacher made 50 more), and we served them with carrots and had lemon and orange cupcakes for lunch. Here are some pictures of the sandwich-making extravaganza:
Stage 1: Lots of bread
Stage 2: Peanut Butter!

<-Pip wants peanut butter!

Pip gets peanut butter (but not a sandwich) ->

Stage 3: Jelly
Stage 4: Sandwiches wrapped and in the freezer
Stage 5: Sandwiches packed and ready to go
Stage 6: Sandwiches out and ready for eating!

And did those sandwiches go! We originally gave each child 2 sandwiches, but when we had (a lot!) of extras, we passed out extras...some of the extras were eaten, some were taken home for later, but all were appreciated and enjoyed!

After running all over the Rancho, eating delicious food, and saying goodbye to our "hermanos," we drove back to the city and basically passed out for the rest of the day...the first time we went we took Pip, but this last time we left him home. I am sure he will head back there again sometime soon, but it was nice to have some time with the kids, without the dog.

I will leave you with a few more pictures of the beautiful Rancho...what an inspiring place to grow up!!

And one of my favorite shots of the day:



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