Intercambio Cultural – Cultural Exchange in Seattle

By: Samuel, NPH Mexico

Láizì Seattle de wènhòu, Saludos desde Seattle.  Una palabra dificil de pronunciar para mi, pero es una de las cosas que he aprendido desde que estoy en seattle, ya que todo el tiempo convivo con diferentes personas y diferentes culturas, desde el idioma hasta la comida, pero todos tenermos algo en comun, y es que estamos aprendiendo a hablar ingles.

Desde mi estadia aqui en seattle, no solo he aprendido a hablar mas ingles, sino que al mismo tiempo tienes la oportunidad de prender otros idiomas con tus amigos y companeros de clase, desde el Chino, hasta el frances, desde el Vietnamese hasta el arabe; oviamente solo a decir frases pequenas. Ellos tambien se prestan a aprender espanol con migo, desde palabras como, hola, adios; aunque ellos las primera frase que quieren aprender es “donde esta el bano?”

La comida tambien forma parte de Nuestros intercambios culturales. Nunca en mi vida habia probado un platillo tailandes, o el Falafel mediterraneo. Al mismo tiempo muchos de mis comapaneros ahora conocen mas la cocina Mexicana  gracias a mis recomencaciones. Tambien platicamos de nuestras formas de vestir, nuestra forma de gobienrno, nuestras celebraciones, hasta nuestras formas de saludar.

Gracias a esta oportunidad, ahora tengo amigos de muchas partes del mundo; desde asia hasta America del sur, y tambien he aprendido a convivir con otras culturas, y sobre todo empatizar  con ellas y respetarlas.


Translation…(also by Samuel!):

Láizì Seattle de wènhòu. Hello from Seattle. This is a Chinese word that is hard for me to pronounce, But also is one of the things that I have learned since I am in Seattle, and is because I can find a lot of people whit different cultures. From people who speak different languages, until the food, but we have also something in common that is Learn English.

Since when I have been here in Seattle, I not only learned English, at the same time, I have the opportunity to learns another languages whit my friends and classmates in the school; since Chinese until French, Since Vietnamese until Arabic, but obviously I learn some little words. They like to learn some words in Spanish with me too. Like Hello, or Good Bye; though the first phrase that they like to learn is “Were Is the Bathroom?

Food is part of our cultural exchanges, In my life, I had never tried a Thai dish, or the Mediterranean Falafel, But also some of my friends and classmates had never tried the Mexican food, Now they know more about Mexican traditional dishes thanks to me. Also we talk about our dress, our form of government in each of our countries, Our different celebrations, until our different ways to say hello.

Thanks to this opportunity to be here, I have a lot of friend from different countries; from Asia to South America, and at the same time, I had learned to share, empathize and respect them


This slideshow requires JavaScript.



Our Host Families

By Florine St. Eloi, NPFS Haiti


I am Florine St Eloi, a leadership student from Haiti. I always had a dream to come to the United States. We were 6 students in NPH Haiti to apply for coming to Seattle in the Leadership program, and studying English at Seattle Central College. After Kara’s “exam” and “interview”, yippeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!! I was qualified for 10 months in Seattle. Moreover, my dream came true.


This September 11, Lucre, Nelson, Magda, Luisa, Sam and I, we were welcomed by 15 persons, our host families and friends. How blessed we are! Each of us has a family. Lucre has the Collins’, Nelson with the Paulsens, Magda lives at the Goodwins’ place, Luisa stays with the Fittons, Sam is with Jan Siers and John Ittes, and I stay with my famous JoNa, the Fonsecas. It’s wonderful! I am writing about our “Host families” on the “birthday” of one of mine, John Fonseca. Isn’t that interesting…

Happy Birthday John Fonseca!!!


Honestly, I prefer “parents” than “host families”. They take care of us, they help us with homework, drive us to church, cook meals and make us laugh. We are so grateful for all of that. They always try to do the best for us. John and Mona always say, “Flo, feel free”. They are wonderful, I really love them.


We all love our host families, our parents. We can’t thank you enough for all your kindness and support. You treat us like a member of your family, we are so happy to stay with you and your family. We are very grateful to our host families for opening their home to us to experience the American culture, values and lifestyles.


We have many challenges: to become a Leader, to learn English, to be more independent, more confident, while focusing on our plans for the future. Future tense is so funny! That’s my favorite verb tense. Smiling…John always says, “Grammar is like Mathematics. If you know the rules, you’ll always get it right”!


I have heard: “If you have a good present, you will have a good future. We have to work hard in our present to have a good future. Our host families, our Mentors and Kara contribute now towards our good future. Thank you so much to all of you! Kara chose well for all of us in pairing the students and host families. However, if she were to choose differently, for example, if I were with the Paulsens, or Magda with the Fonsecas, we would still be happy because our host families want the best for us.


In the end, you, host families give to us, the students such an unforgettable experience that would become an invaluable treasure in our life. If you look in our eyes, you would see a light. If you see the light, you would understand our smiles. If you understood our smiles, you would touch our hearts and would know how very much we love and thank you every moment, and every day.




This slideshow requires JavaScript.


By Nelson Alvarez, NPH Honduras
There are four parts to my first days in Seattle.
First, when I arrived at the SEA- TAC (Seattle, Tacoma) airport, I met many people, including students from other NPH homes. We took many pictures at the airport. I was so happy, but very tired. Before going to the house, I met my host family Judy and Roger Paulsen whom I am learning a lot of English. When I arrived at my house, my family had prepared my beautiful room.
Second, I found many surprising things in Seattle.  The next day my host family showed me how to take the bus to school this day was so hard for me because here in Seattle the bus system is completely different than Honduras and I still was thinking that it was the same than Honduras, it was so funny because when I took the first bus I hoped to find things like music, people talking each other, or the person who takes the money from each passenger so they can ride the bus  this was so hard for me because I have never been here before. I was surprised by many things because in Honduras we have a very different bus system. Drivers here respect the rules of the road, and people here are very considerate of each other.
Third, my next week here was very busy learning about the University, and the NPH leadership program. We had fun activities, and worship experiences. I met some ex-volunteers that worked in Honduras many years ago when I was there. We had dinner together at Lake Union, we rode The Ducks, toured Seattle, and I attended worship with my host family.
Fourth, I attended my first week of school. When I started classes I was thinking about many things, and I was so nervous. I met my English teacher and my classmates from many countries: Saudi Arabia, Japan, and Vietnam. Actually this is difficult to me because sometimes I think that I am still with my classmates from my country it is so funny because when I talk with them I sometimes tell them words in Spanish like,No, Asi no es, they look at me a little rare because anybody in my English class speak Spanish just me and when they talk each other in Arabic I feel so confused and I tell them I don’t understand you, I am now enjoying school and my studies a lot because my English teacher is very helpful, and my classmates are very friendly.
In summary, my first days in Seattle have been very tiring, but exciting. I feel like I am well prepared for my studies at Seattle Central College (SCC).



This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Luisa Reflects on her First Month in Seattle…

A Reflection by Luisa Riquiac (NPH Guatemala), Translation by K. King

Mi primer mes en Seattle fue como aprender ajedrez tenía que enfrentarme a los cambios, y que cada mañana tendría que tomar varias decisiones porque no entendía nada de inglés entonces fue como me callo o le contesto, me muevo o no me muevo, aprendo o no aprendo, tenía que ver el mundo este como este, pero con la confianza de que ese mundo y esa realidad podía mejorar y tener una actitud positiva y sobre todo jamás negar esta realidad y sobre todo aceptar esa realidad.

Tenía que tener una actitud de acción como el ajedrez de pensar cómo hacer realidad esta oportunidad de cambios y como poder sobrevivir a un país diferente. Aprender a usar lo que puedo usar con la única diferencia que con otro tipo de lenguaje, ha sido muy divertido a estar enfrente de las mismas repuestas, me recuerdo que andaba buscando una dirección como loca pero por miedo a confundirme no preguntaba, pero llego un momento de frustración que me anime a preguntar y le pregunto al joven y se me queda viendo y levanta la mana y me dice estas enfrente, solamente nos empezamos a reír los dos.


My first month in Seattle was similar to learning to play chess.  I had to confront changes, and every morning I had to make various decisions since I did not know any English.  I had to decide to be quiet or speak, to move or not move, to learn or not to learn.  I had to see this world as it is, but with trust that this world and this reality could get better.  I needed to have a positive attitude and above all never reject this reality.

I needed an attitude of action, like in chess.  I needed to consider how to make this opportunity a change for change and growth, and learn how to survive in a foregin country.  I have learned to use what I can to communicate! 

One funny example was one day I was walking in Seattle looking for a certain address like a crazy girl.  But because I was afraid to make a mistake, I didn’t ask for help.  Finally I got so frustrated that I got up the courage to ask, and I asked a young man on the street.  He just looked at me and lifted his hand to point at the building and said, “you are here”!  We just began to laugh together.


Disciplina + esfuerzo = Exito.

Discipline + Effort = Success


This slideshow requires JavaScript.




Team Building Retreat

This year, we added a new retreat to our programming.  A “team-building” retreat with the purpose of building group unity, getting to know each other better, and setting individual and group goals and hopes for the year.

Magda’s (unedited) reflection on the retreat also shows how much English she has learned in only one month!  Nice work, Magda!
It was a very special day for me personally for the reason that I could share many things with my brothers and sisters. Most of all I learned from each of them. Was a weekend to know more and share objectives and goals for this year.  We brought everyone in mind. Kara was a very important point in the retreat on the grounds that she shared much knowledge and leadership with us that we did not know and that knowledge makes today of liking for our daily lives here in Seattle.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Introducing the Class of 2015!

We are preparing for the arrival of our fourth class this Thursday!  It is truly amazing and humbling to remember how we started four years ago and how far we have come thanks to all the support from so many people in this area!  

Thank you . . . and please meet Florine, Nelson, Samuel, Magdalena, Luisa, and Lucrecia!


Florine, Haiti

Florine is studying International Relations at the University in Haiti. She hopes to finish her degree and work for NPFS in the future. She feels called to work with who she refers to as “the most vulnerable children, the poor and the orphan, my brothers and sisters.” She hopes her year in Seattle will help her improve her English, give her more leadership skills, and provide opportunities to practice her abilities so she can become a leader for NPH and for Haiti. She writes, “NPH is everything to me. It is my family. I do not know where I would be if it weren’t for NPH. Nothing and no-one can ever take this place in my heart. I love NPH and it is my life, my hope, and my future!” 




Nelson, Honduras

Nelson is currently in his third year of a Foreign Languages degree at the University in Tegucigalpa. Upon graduating, his plans are to work for NPH – hopefully in the area of fundraising and donor relations. During his year in Seattle, he hopes to strengthen his personal values, learn more about leadership, and develop his abilities. He writes, “NPH is so much more than an organization or an orphanage, what we really are is a huge family that just keeps growing! NPH has always supported me, always been there in my difficult and in my happy moments, and given me so many opportunities. I will always be grateful.”




Luisa, Guatemala

Luisa is studying Sports Education at the University in Guatemala, with future hopes of becoming a trainer in the futbol (soccer) leagues in Guatemala. She has functioned as the soccer coach for NPH Guatemala for several years, leading their team to many exciting wins! During her time in Seattle, Luisa hopes to learn English, learn about the culture, and learn how futbol is played in the USA. She is excited to meet new people and experience new things. She says, “NPH is the most marvelous part of my life. Here I have found love, 300 siblings, and people who have changed my life. It is a family where people love you without expecting anything in return, where we are all treated equally regardless of the color of our skin or the part of the country we come from. NPH gives my life hope.”

Luisa on right

Luisa on right


Lucrecia, Nicaragua.

Lucrecia holds a Business Administration degree from the National University in Managua. She is very interested in Human Resources and aspires to study for her Masters in HR in the future. While in Seattle, she hopes to learn English, learn more about the culture of the Northwest, and have the opportunity to interact with many different people. She is excited to gain tools and strategies for working more efficiently and effectively with our NPH family. Lucrecia has called NPH home for nearly 20 years, and says, “It is a family any child would dream of having. A place where we live together no matter who we are or where we come from. It is a family where children can develop holistically with values and morals that define us when we go out into society.”




Samuel, Mexico

Samuel is currently working with the Youth Groups at NPH Mexico in Cuernavaca and Miacatlan. He has taken a break from his university studies in Communication, which he plans to continue at some point in the future. During his time in Seattle he hopes to learn about the city, the culture and customs, learn English, and learn more about himself: his leadership abilities and what it means to be a servant leader. He writes,“above all else I aspire to be a social and service-minded person.” NPH has been a place of love, hope, and second opportunities for Samuel who says that “we may not be like other families in this world, but I can tell you that I had never felt as much love anywhere or from anyone as I have here in my NPH home.”





Magda, Honduras

Magda is currently completing her year of service to her NPH Family in Honduras, working in the Montessori classrooms. She graduated from High School last year, where she focused on Primary Education. She hopes to continue her studies in Education at the University level in the future. During her time in Seattle, she hopes to learn and absorb more about the teachings of our founder, Father Wasson. She also hopes to learn enough English to be able to support the offices by sharing the NPH story at events and with donors here. Magda explains that NPH is an international family in the sense that “for us, there are not borders, skin color, or language barriers – no, we are one extensive family. And that family will always be there for us.”





Host an NPH Leadership Student – Change their life AND yours

We are currently seeking host families for the 2014-15 academic year.  The students arrive in September and depart at the end of June.  We seek people who wish to invite the student to be part of their family, offering love and support throughout the year.

It cannot be over-stated, this program does not work without the generous hospitality of our host families.  The host families, on the other hand, always report that they get much more from the experience than they give.

Several families have done it for more than one year and any of our past host families would be happy to chat with you about what the commitment is.  If you are interested in learning more, please contact Kara King at or fill out the contact form below.

Thank you, Gracias, Merci!


This slideshow requires JavaScript.