Our Group

By: Mirna Sotelo, NPH Nicaragua (translated by Kara…Mirna’s next post will be in English!)

“Llegar juntos es el principio. Mantenerse juntos, es el progreso. Trabajar juntos es el éxito”.

Coming together is the beginning.  Staying together is progress.  Working together is success.

Antes de todo quiero compartirles un poco de mi experiencia con el grupo,  aunque no tengo palabras para expresar lo bonito he importante que es para mi este grupo, por que de ellos he aprendido muchas cosas positivas que  han llenado mi vida de fortalezas como por ejemplo la firmeza de ser valiente y  tener seguridad en mis capacidades.  En algunas ocasiones se nos ha hecho difícil tomar decisiones pero siempre encontramos la solución al problema, se que no es fácil enfrentarlos,  pero si llegan hay que desafiarlos y es exactamente lo que hemos hecho como grupo atacar el problema y no a las personas. Espero que sigamos así confiando uno en el otro y ayudándonos como hemos hecho hasta el día de hoy.

Before anything else, I want to share a Little bit of my experience with this group.  I don’t really have the adequate words to describe how beautiful and important this group is to me, because from them I have already learned many positive things that have filled my life with strength.  For example, I have learned to be brave and have confidence in my capabilities.  There have been a few occasions when it has been hard for us to come to a group decision, but we have always found the solution to the problem.  It is not easy to confront problems, but when they come we have to face them, and that is what we have done as a group – to attack the problem, not the person!  I hope we will continue like this, trusting each other and helping each other like we have done so far. 

Hay 6 cosas importantes y fundamentales que nos permiten estar tomados de la mano:

There are six important and fundamental things that permit us to hold each other by the hand:

1-El trabajo en equipo: Hemos logrado trabajar mutuamente, no somos individualista a pesar de nuestros errores, temores y dificultades no hacemos más, ni menos, el trabajo ni los pensamientos de nadie, todos somos iguales siempre hay una buena conexión, en el equipo. Aceptamos la responsabilidad; pero el mérito se le atribuye al equipo.

1 – Teamwork: We have been able to work together, we are not individualistic in spite of our errors, fears and difficulties, we are neither better nor worse than the work or thoughts of others.  We are all equal, there is a good connection between us.  We all accept responsibility, but the success goes to the group.

2-La unión: Nos unimos, no para estar juntos, sino para hacer o resolver algo juntos, somos como una cadena de acero, pero algo muy importante y que no se nos olvide nunca es que tenemos que aprender a tener un balance en nuestras decisiones ante cualquier situación.

2-Union: We come together not just to be together, but to solve something as a group, we are like a metal chain.  We need to remember to always keep a good balance in our decision making.

3-El crecimiento: Todos tenemos un proyecto o un plan para nuestras vidas, estamos conscientes que tendremos días difíciles y que en cualquier momento caeremos, pero nos levantaremos y seguiremos adelante para llenarnos de conocimientos positivos y satisfacciones, no es fácil es una jornada larga y difícil, pero estoy segura que buscaremos soluciones y superaremos el problema.

3-Growth: Each of us has a plan for our lives, and we are conscious that there will be hard days and that we can always stumble – but we will get up and keep going.  It is not easy, but rather a long and difficult journey, but I am sure that we will find solutions and overcome problems.

4-Confianza: Esa confianza mutua que nos tenemos unos a otros me da la plena seguridad que todos lograremos nuestras metas y propósitos.

4-Trust: The mutual trust we have gives me confidence that we will achieve our objectives and goals.

5-La Motivación: Me llena de alegría escucharlos cuando se motivan unos a otros sigamos así, porque con motivación estaremos dispuestos a correr riesgos y tomar decisiones que la mayoría de personas no harían por miedo.

5-Motivation: I am filled with happiness when I hear the group motivating each other, for with that motivation we will be able to take risks, and make decisions that many people don’t take because of fear.

6-El Respeto: Es importante que siempre sigamos respetando las decisiones, opiniones, y pensamientos de los demás no perdamos este valor tan importante y fundamental dentro del grupo.

7-Respect: It is important that we continue to respect the decisions, opinions, and thoughts of each other.  We should not lose that important value in our group.

Gracias Irene, Suyapa, Alberto, Julio y Jonathan, ustedes son los mejores y recuerden que el talento depende de la inspiración e el esfuerzo depende de cada uno de nosotros.

Thank you, Irene, Suyapa, Alberto, Julio and Jonathan – You are the best! Remember that talent depends upon the inspiration and efforts of each of us.

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Year Five Begins in Seattle

It has been just over one month since our fifth group of emerging leaders arrived in Seattle.  It has been a full and solid beginning to our year together.  This post will give some highlights of their first month here and then over the next few months each of the students will contribute a more specific post to our blog, so keep checking back!

  • The students arrived on September 10th and our arrival weekend consisted our getting to know our host families, learning our bus routes, and getting to know each other better. We had dinner at Kara’s and played trilingual Pictionary (fun and appropriate for our global NPH family!).
  • During that first week, the students participated in NPH Seattle orientation: What is the Seattle Institute, what can they expect during their year, what do we expect from them, etc….They also met their “tutor, play, culture” mentors – former volunteers who are helping them make the transition from their country to life in Seattle. The students were introduced to our NPH Chaplain here in Seattle, former NPH volunteer Joe Cotton – who serves as a safe and compassionate spiritual guide for any of them as needed throughout the year.
  • During the second week, we had our first leadership intensive at iLEAP. This year we are partnering with iLEAP to deepen our leadership formation.  The students will have four opportunities throughout the year to learn from the good folks at iLEAP about leadership, social change, and their personal ways of serving and leading.  During this first intensive, the focus was on getting to know iLEAP as an organization as well as getting to know Caitlin, Bao, Izumi and Britt, exploring leadership qualities, leadership language and communication, and discussing the importance of time to reflect in our work and lives.
  • The next week brought orientation for our English classes at Seattle Central College. This meant placement tests, tours of the university, meeting advisers and teachers, and registering for fall quarter.  The students also began to meet classmates and friends from all over the world: Saudi Arabia, Japan, Korea, Brazil, etc…
  • On September 26th we celebrated our traditional Welcome Mass at the home of Ann and Don Connolly. In his homily, Fr. Natch Ohno, SJ (Seattle University) urged the students “to teach us, just as you have come to learn…tell us your stories too for we have much to learn from you” and then reminded them “you have come here to learn and grow, you will go back to serve”.
  • The following weekend, the students participated in a full-day leadership retreat at Cipsus Learning Center. They engaged in a variety of experiential learning activities in a beautiful outdoor setting. Our awesome facilitators (thank you Karen Skoog and Anna Ricci!) used the challenge course to represent the students’ year in Seattle, inviting them into teamwork, trust-building, communication, reflection, and fun!
  • Last weekend, we had a workshop on the NPH Volunteer Experience with NPH USA Volunteer Coordinator, Vicky Medley. Our conversation led to a recognition of the cultural adjustment our volunteers make, just as the students are now adjusting to life here.  Now that they are living it, it is easier for them to understand the volunteers’ experience!  We also spent time discussing what makes a volunteer a “good fit” for the NPH family.  Afterwards we met up with former NPH volunteers to go bowling!
  • A lot of our leadership focus during this first month has been on group/team-formation and the stages any small group goes through. Last weekend, we had a challenging and fruitful conversation as a group on where we are now and what we need to do to help our group keep growing together.  This is NOT easy work, but they are doing it and doing it with integrity.
  • The students are now in the midst of their third week of classes, and I have to say that I am already noticing big improvements in their English! They are working and studying hard and it shows.

Phew!  We have been busy!  For my part (Kara), I am so grateful for the way these six students have shown up and been ready to work hard.  This program requires a lot of them, and I see each of them working hard to do their best.  I am also grateful for the amazing Northwest NPH community that year after year comes around our students to make their year successful and inspiring.  I write today in hopeful anticipation of the growth and learning I anticipate for Irene, Mirna, Suyapa, Alberto, Jonathan and Julio during their time here in Seattle.

Stay tuned for blog posts from each student in the coming weeks and months…