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


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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.

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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!


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NPH Goes to Theo Chocolate

Back in January, the NPH leadership students and the two cultural partner interns, Katie (me) and Sinclair, went to the Theo Chocolate Factory in Fremont to take a tour and learn how Theo makes their fair trade chocolate. When we got there, we were asked to put on hairnets that we all looked quite stunning in, and then we spent the first half hour of the hour long tour learning about where Theo sources their cacao beans and the process that goes into making organic, fair trade chocolate. Theo keeps its chocolate bar recipes very simple, which was great news for me because I realized that I could practically make chocolate at home (with the addition of some heavy machinery, but I wasn’t thinking that far ahead). We also were lucky enough to sample several flavors and types of chocolate bars Theo makes, promptly putting us all into a happy chocolate/sugar-induced state. After our lesson, we got to tour the factory and see all the massive machines that help make the delicious final product: the chocolate bar. Unfortunately, because we were there on a Sunday, we were unable to actually see the machines at work, but we still walked away knowing much more about the chocolate making process than any of us had known before. We also saw the kitchen where trained confectioners make things like truffles and caramels, and we once again were treated to samples. After viewing the kitchen and learning more about what goes on in there, the tour was over and we went to the Theo gift shop, where there was more chocolate than anyone could ever dream of. We all had a great time and left with bellies full of delicious chocolate, so I know any one of us would be happy to go back for another tour!ImageImage 



It was over three years ago that charter class graduate, Emir Ricaño (NPH Mexico), turned to me at our weekly meeting and asked “when are we going to do the Posadas?”.  I am now so grateful for his question and for how the Posadas have become a tradition here, allowing our NPH students to offer a gift of their culture and tradition to their family in the Northwest.  It also gives them an opportunity to practice leadership and intercultural skills – as they must find a way to integrate traditions from their various countries and then explain the tradition to folks here.  Doing all of that in your second (or third) language is no easy task!

This year, as we have for the past three years – we gathered to enjoy the Christmas Posadas.  This year’s group decided to include a short skit, which was both funny and a good reminder of the first Christmas.  The crowd participated by joining in the singing of “We Three Kings” and later “Feliz Navidad”.  After the Nativity Play, it was time for the piñata which was homemade according to NPH tradition.  The youngest guests had a great time swinging at the piñata, even as Cesario and Dennis pulled it barely out of their reach.  Even the youngest (2 years old) was able to participate!

As guests lingered over a potluck dinner, the sense of community that surrounds these young people was palpable.  Thank you to everyone who participated, and to the students for putting on such a wonderful evening.

Merry Christmas and blessings for the New Year!


Opening Mass

This past Sunday, we celebrated our Fall Mass, thereby officially kicking off our third year!

Father Tom celebrated Mass with about 40 people gathered at the home of Linda and Victor in West Seattle.   We sang and prayed in English and in Spanish, met the new leadership group (who introduced themselves in English!) and praised God for bringing so many wonderful souls together.  The leadership students and their host families all shared thoughts and observations from their first weeks in Seattle.

After Mass, Father Tom blessed Linda and Victor’s home as well as the new Leadership Van!

Finally, we had a communal dinner and time to catch up with old friends and/or get to know each other better!

Please continue to hold these students and their host families in your prayers!