Servant Leadership and Story Retreat

By Florine, NPFS Haiti

Monday 15, 2014: “All students meet Kara at Christ our Hope Church for pickup” said the calendar.  When I arrived in downtown Seattle, I met Magda and Lucre, they were looking at my suitcase and asked me where am I going. Four days and three nights in Whidbey Island, that was my answer. Everyone had a bag, except me, but it was easier for me because I didn’t have to complain about my shoulders. Good strategy!

We took the ferryboat, first time for some of us. We arrived in a nice, and welcoming house at the beach, we arranged everything that we brought.  In the night, before dinner, we had our first subject about servant leadership.

You can be a servant and become a leader, but you can’t be a good leader without being a servant.  These two words are connected. After that, we had dinner, and worked in our masterpiece for tomorrow. Kara asked us to draw something; she gave to us a little circle in rock. Everyone had the pleasure to paint how God created us, which was the idea. I remember when I was in kindergarten, my teacher used to say all the bright colors express happiness and beauty. I have no idea of painting, but I know the result of combine yellow, white, pink, and water green together. We all did a great art piece, which I’m pretty sure, could be in the next NPH gala for auction.

Tuesday, December 16, second day of the retreat. Kara broke all our masterpieces. I was looking at Luisa crying, she is a good artist. Sam was so sad, he painted the blue sky, all about nature, but he had an unbelievable force to break Kara’s piece too, which was a beautiful afternoon, where the sun is get off the sky. Magda painted a brilliant star, Nelson made a nice candle, like these you can see in church, in the Advent. Lucre drew a little house for her family. The interesting part of all of that is, we didn’t know that the broken pieces could be even better in the next activity.

Wednesday, December 17, day 4th. The challenging day, sharing stories. It was so difficult for us. We were looking at each other, who will go first… Fortunately, we didn’t spend all the night by asking ourselves about that. We did it all, a lot of tears, but we survived. We worked on our broken pieces, we made something better. We shared with Donna Egge what we did with our pieces, and she closed the retreat, as perfectly at it could be. Thank you Donna!

Thursday, December 18, we had breakfast, and cleaned everything. We walked by the water, and we took two rocks. One that we bring with us, the second, something that we don’t need anymore, and throw it in the water.

In the end, we had a great retreat. We know now, more about each other, to support each other, love and respect. We’ll make sure to practice everything that we learn about this second retreat, and live better.

Now we have one week free, let’s get it “muchachos”! Sleep, relax, dance, eat healthy food, drink water, and watch TV, listening to music, and sleep again. Our Google Calendar is already full until June!!!

An Evening with Sonia Nazario

By: Nelson Alvarez Hernandez

(written in English by Nelson!)

What can I say? This experience started in one of our leadership meetings.  I said something about an article that I read on Univision, and it talks about a social issue, migration.  I was surprised by this article because this media shows quite relevant numbers about migration especially highlighting the children that every year cross the borders to find their mother that left them when they were 5 years old or less.  So when Kara asked me if I wanted introduce a writer, the main question that I had in my mind was “who is Sonia Nazario?”

And immediately I said yes.

Then my host family gave me a brief biography on Sonia Nazario.  A few days later my host family bought me “Enrique’s Journey”.  When I started reading the book I did not want to stop reading this wonderful book. My experience reading Enrique’s Journey has been one of the most important in my life because this book talks about a reality that we are living now in our Central American countries, where thousands of children are traveling every year, crossing the borders to find their mother in the US, and we see that our governments do not do anything for these people, but I know that people from other countries are working hard for us.

December 4th, 2014: I will never forget this day because it was when I met Sonia Nazario.  When I met her I remember that I was reading my speech and she came in front of me and I said “I cannot believe it”.  I could not believe what was happening in this moment because it was all so fast, but then I realized that I was talking with Sonia Nazario. Something that I always remember is a question that she asked me when we were talking before the conference, the question was: “Are you orphan?”.  And at the beginning I was laughing because of the directness of her question.  But my answer for her was, so I do not have mother and father, but I found a new family and this family is NPH. I think that NPH is my family because it always has supported me, always been there in my difficult and in my happy moments, and given me so many opportunities.

When I was in the podium introducing her, my first three minutes I felt nervous but then I felt comfortable because meeting her before the conference helped me a lot.

This experience for me is one of the most important in my life, because I met a brave, courageous woman who is fighting for the people who do not have A VOICE IN THIS SYSTEM and the poorest people and I realize that there are people working for those people.

The experience of reading “Enrique’s Journey” definitely changed my way of thinking about this social problem, and I realized the poorest people who do not have a lot are often the people who share the little that they have with each other.

This book connects to my life in many ways, first because the boy who she talks about is Honduran. Second because since he was a little boy his father abandoned him besides his mother and in my case was the same my father abandoned me and my mother died when I was two years old, so both of us were abandoned by our fathers. It is why I say I, like Enrique, could have been one of the thousands children traveling every year crossing the borders.