I Am…

By Nelson Alvarez, Class of 2015.

Nelson used poetry to express his thoughts and hopes for his life and our world.  Thank you, Nelson!

I am an open and persevering person.

I wonder if another world is possible.

I hear people pondering about their world dream.

I see a sign that says peace.

I want an equal world with the same human rights.

I am an open and persevering person.

I pretend I am a president.

I feel I have an incredible power.

I touch the lives of millions of people.

I worry about the future of children.

I cry from injustice.

I am an open and persevering person.

I understand I cannot fix all the world problems.

I say education is the key to success.

I dream someday we will live in peace.

I try to understand the suffering of people.

I hope we do not have any war.

I am an open and persevering person.

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Cinema de los Cuates: A Lesson in Unconditional Love

By Kara King (Program Director) & Florine St. Eloi (Haiti, Class of 2015)

About a month ago, we were at a leadership workshop as a group.  The task at hand was to bring a worry or concern to the group in order to receive feedback, to hear questions, and to perhaps find new ways to approach a problem.  As each shared, the group interacted and provided feedback to each other.

When it was Florine’s turn to share, I watched her struggle to give words to her concerns.  As she did, she honored herself and the group by being deeply honest about what she was facing.  She painted for us a picture of her mother’s current living situation: dangerous, unhealthy, and desperate.  Her description reminded me of what we called in teaching “first hour needs”.  How could I expect her to focus on leadership training when constant on her mind is that her mom is living in a violent neighborhood, breathing in fumes from the burning garbage of the city dump, and unable to stay dry in any storm?  No, these are “first hour” needs that must be heard if Florine is to be able to grow and develop into the strong woman and servant leader that God has created her to be.

And yet, we live in a complex and unjust world.  NPH cannot buy everyone a house.  We don’t have the resources, nor is that our stated mission.

As we sat there with our sister, Florine, I felt grief and despair and anger.  I feel proud of the group for staying with her in her worry, for praying with her, hugging her, and not offering ridiculous and empty words like “it will be okay”.  No, these are young adults who know all too well that is not always true.  Their ability to accompany her in her grief is beautiful.

It was Nelson who eventually spoke into that space wondering aloud: ‘can’t we do something?’.  None of us really knew what we could do, we didn’t know in that moment that if we worked together we would be able to help Florine and her family of origin.  But the group committed to try to do something – even knowing it might not work out.

And do something, they did.  As I write this, they have raised more than enough money for Florine’s mom and siblings to move into a safe and healthy home and pay the rent for one year.  It is a life changing gift and came about because six young people, who grew up in our NPH homes refused to ignore a sister in trouble.

When we teach our children at NPH to serve others, when we give them the opportunity to see how much they have to offer the world, we instill in them the idea that they are not victims but rather people who have much to offer their communities.  We empower them to be creative problem-solvers.  And they learn that in combining their efforts, they can make good happen.  They are living out our mission and vision, and it is a delight to witness.

I asked Florine to reflect on what the experience was like for her, and this is what she said:

“What would have happened if Kara did not ask us about what was bothering us?  This movie night turned into a successful event. Yes, that is what it means to me. Nelson, Luisa, Samy, Magda, Lucre and Kara’s participation to help my family and I was quite a powerful story. From them, I learned how it is important to work as a team. Of course they are part of my life because of NPH, but now it becomes stonger.

Do not hesitate when it comes to help others; that is also another lesson that I learned from this group after all the struggles that we have been through.  I did not have any solutions, but they found out what needed to be done.

Isn’t that the “unconditional love” that Father Wasson has left to us? There’s no other name for it. They acted as leaders, friends, brothers, and sisters. The supporters also made it possible. Thank you so much for coming and supporting, thanks a lot for those who could not make it but helped in different ways.

Words cannot express how grateful I am…thank you for everything that you all did for my family and I. Thank you for helping to find a place where my family can live normally, somewhere they can call “home”!  Good memories stay forever, and this movie night was one of the best that I ever had. Thank you to all of you who made it possible, I will never forget it.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you, gracias and may God always bless and protect you!”

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If you want to Change the World, Begin with Yourself

By Luisa, NPH Guatemala (Class of 2015)

(English below)

Hola soy Luisa Fernanda llevo nueve meses estudiando en Seattle Central College. Antes de venir nunca pensé que mi vida iba a cambiar, tengo tantas cosas que contar que no sé  si tendré espacio en mi  hoja.  Antes de venir a Seattle mi vida era muy diferente estaba llena de mucha ira, envida, enojo  la verdad que nunca quise entender porque, simplemente quería esconderme y que nadie pensara que existo, pero esto cambio aquí, vivir con una familia que siempre está pendiente de todo lo que pasa al mi alrededor y ellos estaban atendiendo nuestras necesidades y no simplemente la mía sino la de todos nosotros. Cada vez que veía trabajar a las personas para NPH, me sorprendía porque todos entregaban con mucho amor y con una esperanza para nosotros.

Quiero decirles mil gracias que no tengo palabras, simplemente GRACIAS.

Aquí he trabajado la reflexión conmigo misma, la paciencia, tener un tiempo para proponer planes y son tantas cosas que ahora entiendo, por ejemplo: que cuando estamos herido lastimamos a las personas. Cuando uno  es un líder tiene que saber sanar sus propias heridas para no usarlo como un poder, como dice la Madre Teresa C. di algo que sane no que hiera, esto hacia yo antes de venir Seattle, sé que lastime a varias personas con mi ira y una de las cosa fue porque no sabía sanar mis propias heridas sino solo actuaba.

Aprendi mucho sobre el liderazgo la verdad que nunca me preocupe en buscar información sobre esto, siempre creí trabajar sola y sin ayuda de nadie, pero ahí estaba mi error. Dios nunca trabajo solo él, tuvo que buscar a sus discípulos para que lo ayudaran, entonces ahí entendí que era importante tener dos personas diferentes para no tener las mismas ideas.

Nunca creí en mí, simplemente hacia lo que me pedían educaba con rencor y era un ciclo estaba creando personas como yo con ira. Mi estancia en Seattle me ha ensenado muchas cosas, nunca estuve lejos de casa, no extrañe a nadie porque aquí tenia a mis  hermanos, no extrañe el ruido de cada mañana porque mis hermanos creaban ese ruido de NPH y  por supuesto que  no extrañe mi deporte favorito, hay tantas cosas que le doy gracias a Dios por darme tantas personas tan generosas.

El Padre Wasson hizo un trabajo duro, no es fácil hablar enfrente muchas personas para poder ayudar a tu familia, es difícil y yo tuve la experiencia de esto, cada palabra que decía era como recordar mi pasado y cada vez que leí cada oración de mi historia tenía mucho dolor y enojo. Pero me hizo crecer como persona.

Estoy tan contenta con Kara porque es difícil trabajar con personas como nosotros que tenemos diferentes historias, diferentes pasados y sé que es difícil reconstruir una vida cuando uno está herido. Este año me ha enseñado más de lo que yo imagine, todo en esta vida es temporal y para alcanzar el éxito hay que trabajar duro, que para ser un buen líder hay que prepararse y aprender del fracaso.  ¡Gracias!

 

Hello, my name is Luisa Fernanda and I have been studying at Seattle Central College for nine months.  Before coming to Seattle, I never believed that my life could change.  I have so many things to express that I don’t know if I will have enough space.  Before Seattle, my life was very different.  I was filled with rage, jealousy, and anger – and the truth is I didn’t want to understand it, I only wanted to hide and have no one notice I existed.  But this has changed here.  Living with a family that is always paying attention to me and my needs, and not only my needs but the needs of others too.  Each time I have seen the NPH staff here work, I have been surprised by their complete devotion to us, everything they do in love for NPH.

I want to say thank you, I don’t have words…Just THANK YOU.

Here I have learned how to reflect: how to have patience, how to make plans, and among other things I have learned that when we have been hurt, we hurt others.  When one is a leader, s/he must heal his/her own wounds in order to not abuse power.  As Mother Teresa said, “if you are going to say something, say something that heals not something that wounds”.  That is what I did before I came to Seattle, I know I hurt many people with my anger – and now I know one of the reasons is because I had not healed my own wounds and so I simply reacted. 

I have learned a lot about leadership here.  In truth I had never thought much about this before, instead I simply thought that the best was to work alone without anyone’s help but that was my mistake!  God never worked alone, God invited God’s disciples to help.  So now I understand that it is good to have more than one person in order to have multiple points of view.

I never used to believe in myself, I only did what people told me to do.  And, I taught and coached with a chip on my shoulder – it became a cycle in which I was teaching people to be like me – angry.  My stay in Seattle has taught me many things, a new way.  I was never far from my NPH family – I didn’t have to miss home because I had brothers and sisters here, I didn’t have to miss the noise of a morning at NPH because Joshua and Elias made the same noise, and I didn’t have to miss my favorite sport because I joined a team here!  I am so grateful to God for sending me so many generous people. 

Father Wasson did an amazing and difficult work, I have learned it is not easy to speak in front of many people in order to help our NPH family.  I had that experience here and each word reminded me of my past and reminded me of the pain and anger, but the experience helped me to grow as a person and as a leader.

I am so pleased with Kara because it is difficult to work with people with so many difficult and different stories.  I know that it is hard to rebuild a live when one has been so badly harmed.  This time in Seattle has taught me more than I ever could have imagined.  Everything in this life is temporary and in order to reach our goals and achieve success, we must work hard, be prepared and learn from our mistakes.  Thank you!

“Si quieres cambiar el mundo, cámbiate a ti mismo”

“If you want to change the world, begin with yourself”

Mahatma Gandhi

How a Year in Seattle Transformed my Life

By: Jacinto Arias, Class of 2013 (NPH Guatemala)

Jacinto graduated from The Seattle Institute in 2013 and is now serving as the Year of Service and University Student Coordinator, while he continues his University Studies in Guatemala.  Here he reflects on his time in Seattle and how it impacted his life.  

It´s been almost 2 years since I came back from Seattle. When I look back I realize that I am not the same person that I was before. I experienced ten months filled with hard work, joy, games, homework (grammar), and meeting so many people. I met really good people. I don’t remember some of their names, but I have their faces in my mind.

In the beginning, it was really hard because I was really far from my friends and my family, and of course the language made my first weeks harder.  During my stay in Seattle, I could find unconditional love from my host family (the Callans) and in their house I felt for the first time in my whole life, a real family. But now you will say: Why are you saying that? You are in NPH and NPH is a family and its true, but there I experienced having a mom and dad, where they took care of me very seriously. I remember this phrase from Cathy Callans: I take my role very seriously. She told me when she saw that I was doing something wrong or something good, as well.  They treated me as a son and their kids treated me as a brother. Their kids (Jonathan, Matthew and Molly) always had time for me and they argued with each other in order to know who had the best Spanish.

I was used to having so many people around me and when I went to Seattle it was really different. I lived in a big house for 5 people and for me it was really difficult to get used to it. Sometimes I got frustrated because I was alone at the house and I had just one channel in Spanish, but because of that experience I got to learn more about myself. I realized that at NPH I did not have enough time for myself, and in Seattle I had that time and I could know more about myself: goals, objectives, fears, etc.

No matter where I went, I found good people; people who were and still are interested in NPH. Something that really impressed me was that even though they didn´t know NPH, they believed in us, they believed that we would be successful and we would change the world. I admire NPH USA a lot because they work so hard every day in order to help us and get more people involved.

Kara King, the coordinator of the program, always trusted in us. She is an amazing person and always listened to us and gave us advice.  She is totally convinced that this program is worth it, which motivates me to keep working and helping others. I know that I cannot do everything, but I can do something and that something I will do well.

People from the States and all the people that help us, thank you so much for your support. I have no words to thank you nor a way to pay you, but I am truly convinced that one day YOU will have your compensation.

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A New Partnership with iLEAP

– By Nelson, NPH Honduras

The Leadership Program students had the opportunity to spend five days in a special iLEAP program.

What does iLEAP mean?  iLEAP is an international nonprofit organization with a mission to inspire and renew social leaders and global citizens through integrated leadership programs that ignite hope and transformation in the world.

This is the first time the NPH Leadership Institute has partnered with iLEAP, so I would like to share a little about this wonderful experience that the leadership students had at iLEAP.

We started on Friday, March, 27th.  We arrived at 9:30 am after a tiring week where we had fundraising activities with NPH USA.  Even though we were tired, we had the attitude to start working for the next five days in different topics, and take advantage of this iLEAP program.

First of all, we worked in many interesting topics that really caused us to think about what it means to be a good leader in our respective societies. One thing that really caused us to think about leadership was when we visited two places: Theo Chocolate and Farestart. Both of them are social businesses that are working with people to improve their lives and find the best version of themselves.

The following are our personal reflections about our week at iLEAP:

Nelson Alvarez: For me this program was helpful in many ways. By working in many topics I learned that leadership is not position, it is because whatever you are working you are demonstrating leadership, it does not matter if you work, for example, as a teacher or as a policeman you are demonstrating leadership as well. It helped me to clarify my own vision for the next years.

Lucrecia Guadamuz: I think iLEAP is a good program because it is focused on understanding yourself first and then you can lead others. The leadership concept that they teach is based in a practical and real way.

Florine St. Eloi: I think it is a really good organization which helps people developing their leadership, and to make it in practice with others and for others not just for ourselves.

Luisa Riquiac: In my own opinion iLEAP inspires you how to work in a reasonable leadership style and to make good decisions for a group not only for yourself.

Samuel Chavez: iLEAP changed my ideas about leadership and it re-opened my eyes after having a bad situation and wondering about my abilities as a leader.  Now I feel more confident about myself and I am sure that I can be a leader in different ways.

Magda Altamirano: iLEAP is an interesting program where you discovered abilities and characteristics that we have as leaders, it helps us to learn how we can improve other qualities and help others.

And a reflection from Kara too…

Kara King: For me, it is exciting to embark on this new partnership with the wonderful folks at iLEAP.  Since the first year of our program here in Seattle, Britt has been a guide for me in developing the program.  It is good to be working together, for I have seen their good work over the past four years and feel so grateful to have our emerging NPH leaders experience the iLEAP way as well.  I think we are all looking forward to dreaming together and seeing how we can make our partnership even stronger next year.

~ ~ ~

As you can see this program was helpful for all of us, the leadership program students, in different ways and I am sure that we will share all this knowledge with our brothers and sisters of NPH.

Thanks to our NPH family and our new iLEAP family for making this possible!

Through Eyes That Have Cried

 “There are some things that can only be seen through eyes that have cried.”

“Hay muchas cosas que sólo pueden ser vistas a través de ojos que han llorado.” 

They are words from Monseñor Oscar Romero of El Salvador.  Standing in the church where he was martyred in 1980 (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-31115837), these words almost feel like an invitation.  Or perhaps a challenge.

Will you look?

Will you see?

Will you notice the pain and suffering and injustice around you?

Will you turn away?

Or, will you gaze through your tears?  And in the midst of your own pain and brokenness, find ways to engage with love and compassion?

It has become increasingly clear to me through my work with NPH that tears are sacred.  To be honored, rather than quickly wiped away or hidden.  As we have developed this program in Seattle over the past four years, the importance of accompanying our pequeños/as as they look at their life story has become central.  We are blessed with the space, time, and good people that allow this to happen to whatever extent each participant is able – we meet them where they are.

What is becoming clear is that this work, this hard and scary and beautiful work, is helping them make significant changes in their lives.  It can feel slow and painful, and there have been times when I have questioned it, worried about it, wondered if we were inviting harm rather than good.

And so when I read these words, they impacted me deeply – for I have seen the truth in them.  Through my tears, shed over my own brokenness and over the brokenness I witness in our kids, I have seen things I could not see before.  Tears that were held in for many years, when finally released and blessed – have brought deeper relationships and a new capacity to love.

Through their own tears, the pequeños/as have come to recognize a resilience and beauty that is stronger than they knew.  I have seen them realize their own ability to offer healing to each other and to others.  Through art and storytelling, they have seen each other and themselves in new ways, inviting them to personal growth and transformation and ultimately to a life in which they can better serve others because they know who they are and they know how to love well.

My recent trip to NPH El Salvador reminded me that change is possible and hope is with us.  I watched graduates of our Seattle program facilitate sessions for the younger pequeños/as, lead activities, answer questions, and participate in high level educational planning meetings.  They were both engaged and courageous and I felt so proud of them and hopeful for our future as an NPH family.

But perhaps my most precious hour with them was our first afternoon at NPH El Salvador as we sat together in rocking chairs in the shade outside the house.  How beautiful to have time for them to speak honestly and listen to each other about what is happening in their lives in their home countries.  Their integrity and love for each other and for NPH is beautiful.

As our Seattle program continues to grow, we must remember the importance of this deep personal work.  And that stepping into it ultimately empowers our kids to use their lives for the good of the world.

What change will they make?  Whose life might they save?  Where will they bring hope where before there was none?  We don’t yet know.  What I do know is that their willingness to look at the world through eyes that have cried makes them more compassionate, more authentic, and more humble leaders for a world that in desperate need of them.

-Kara King, Program Director

NPH Youth Development Programs

We believe that all children deserve the chance to reach their full potential and lead the best lives possible, both personally and professionally. Our nine NPH homes provide a variety of development opportunities for our youth to help make this possible. Our programs span the areas of leadership, young women empowerment, spiritual formation and a variety of extracurricular activities so that they can develop their talents and creativity.
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“We know to be strong leaders you really have to know yourself and we try to provide opportunities for young people so that they can continue to learn more about themselves and where they see themselves serving. . . We are not just talking about leadership in general, we are really talking about leadership that comes from the heart, that comes from the understanding of what it means to serve.” -Donna Egge, Director of Family Service, NPHI
Watch our latest video to learn more about youth development at NPH!
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GIVE MEANING TO YOUR LIFE BY SHARING WITH OTHERS

By Luisa, NPH Guatemala (with a little translation help from host mom, Karen)

JUBILEE WOMENS EXPERIENCE:

The first thing that impressed me was when we were received with joy by Emerald and Sam. They gave me positive energy that made me understand the word SHARE. Sometimes we think we deserve a smile and to be happy, but when we go out of our comfort zone we need to understand that everyone needs a smile to continue with their purpose of life, we are not the only ones with a broken heart.  Then I understand what our purpose as human beings is to help each other as JESUS said,  “Blessed are those who give without remembering. And blessed are those who take without forgetting.”

Then came the hour of delicious lunch and all came with a different look and then their cheerful smile that says thank you. Sometimes you plant seeds of hope without realizing. I felt part of them because when visitors come to NPH, I feel hope to continue living – but now I gave a sign of hope to these women who struggle every day to be someone in life.

During my time here in Seattle I realize that everyone has their own economic problems, but I’ve learned that no matter what, people help regardless of anything in return, one of the things that Father Wasson taught is to SHARE without seeing who you benefit, you just have a smile that marked your life.
Brief history of JUBILEE CENTER SEATTLE:
JUBILEE is an organization that helps women who do not have a home. Jubilee provides the women safe, affordable community housing and educational resources to help the women become independent. It was founded by three Sisters of St. Josephs of Peace.

DALE SENTIDO A TU VIDA COMPARTIENDO CON LOS DEMAS

Lo primero que me fascino fue cuando nos recibió con alegría la encargada, ella me transmitió una energía positiva es lo que me hizo comprender la palabra COMPARTIR A VECES pensamos que solo nosotros merecemos una sonrisa y ser felices, pero cuando salimos de nuestra línea de confort es necesario entender que todo el mundo necesita una sonrisa para poder seguir con el propósito de la vida, que no somos los únicos con el corazón roto, entonces entiendo cuál es nuestro propósito como seres humanos, es ayudarnos unos a los otros como dijo JESUS Bien aventurados los que dan sin recordar, y los que reciben sin olvidar. Luego llegó la hora del delicioso almuerzo y entraron todas con una mirada diferente y fue entonces aquella sonrisa tan alegre que te dice gracias, a veces uno siembra semillas de esperanza sin darse cuenta, me sentí parte de ellas porque cuando llegan las visitas a NPH, me siento con una esperanza de seguir viviendo pero ahora me toca darles una señal de esperanza a estas mujeres que luchan día a día para ser alguien en la vida Durante mi tiempo aquí en Seattle me he dado cuenta que todo el mundo tiene sus propios problemas económicos, pero he aprendido que no importa eso aquí, la gente ayuda sin importar nada a cambio, una de las cosa que nos enseñó el Padre Wasson ES COMPARTIR sin ver a quien beneficias, simplemente has una sonrisa que marcara tu vida.

Breve historia de JUBILEE CENTER SEATTLE JUBILEE es una organización que ayuda a mujeres que no tienen un HOGAR, factor económico y sobre todo a trnsformar a estas mujeres en futuras empresarias. Fue fundada gracias a tres mujeres el Capitolio de la Arquidiócesis de Seattle.

Editor’s Note: One Saturday each month, the leadership students accompanied by friends of NPH spend the morning cooking lunch for the women of Jubilee!  We look forward to continuing to build this new partnership!  Jubilee’s executive director, Cheryl, has supported NPH with leadership development for many years and each year offers her advice and teaching to the Seattle students as well!  To learn more about Jubilee’s great work: http://www.jwcenter.org/

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.