Father Rick Frechette Visits Seattle

By Samuel, NPH Mexico (Class of 2015)

I remember since I came to NPH, almost everyone talking about “Father Rick”, I was always curious about him. Then, years later, in one of our NPH international meetings I met him, well!  Well, I just met him by sight, at least it was something but that was not enough for me, I promise myself that someday I would meet him, not just sight, also talk and share with him and hear his stories and experiences about his life.

Now, after years of waiting, he was here, in front of me, I need to admit I was a kind of nervous, then he said me “so you are the guy who is going to sing, I hear you can play a lot of instruments, I can play mandolin and guitar as well!” these words increased my confidence and I started to talk with him.

That day, also, we had a diner with him and some sponsors, I will tell you, that house where we had the diner was huge and something I liked about It was that it had a room with a huge collection of guitars (some of these were autographed by celebrities), I felt like a kid in a candy store.  Anyways, that day Father Rick shared with us some of his experiences in his life and actually about the work he is doing in Haiti, I realized that Father Rick has always a busy agenda, he don’t have enough time for himself, he is used to working 24/7, something that is hard to do for me!  I complain just because I have school and I don’t need to work, and I feel like I am doing a lot.

Then, the next day we had a Mass and he also shared another story. From Father Rick I learned that it is not about trying to do our best, no, we need to do, share and give the best. Because if we just try, it may not be sufficient, but giving the best thing is the key to achieve, inspire and succeed.

Now, I’m really glad to have met Father Rick, he has been one of our gold coins in NPH; he has been a good model for people, kids and also for me, I hope he will continue working for our brothers and sisters in Haiti and keep teaching us that everything is possible.

Thank you for all Father Rick, It was an honor to meet you. 

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Thank you for all Father Rick, It was an honor to meet you.

Sisters: Lucre and Florine’s Journey

Florine and Lucre reflect on their relationship over the past 8 months.  Though both from NPH, they had never met before the plane ride from Miami to Seattle last September.  How do we move from strangers to sisters?  

“Hi! Are you Florine?”, asked Nelson. “Yes, it’s me”, I replied.

Magda was seated by the window, Lucre in the middle, and Nelson…you can imagine where he was sitting?  The four of us shared some cookies, and tried to know each other in the plane from Miami to Seattle.  Nelson was translating for the girls what I was saying in broken English.  Well, you know how communication is important, so we decided to do our first intercultural communication which was quite interesting and friendly.

Landed in Seattle, it took us more than ten minutes to find our suitcases. Thank goodness we were all together!  Were we lost?  Hmmmm…not really, we were just excited to visit and exploring this big airport.  Would you do that for a first time?  Maybe not, but we were just adventurous and curious.  After taking a couple laps at the airport and finding our suitcases, we were surprised to see how many people were waiting for us. Our host families and friends. We loved it, and we were happy.

One time at the beginning of the year, we were at Malia’s place for a get-together with some of the NPH volunteers, and Lucre was taking pictures of the whole group.  I wanted to delete the pictures that she took of me.  I did not know how to tell her in Spanish that I want to only delete mine, and she did not either understand in English what I was telling her. We both got angry because we had a misunderstanding in that conversation. She thought that I wanted the camera, but I did not need it, I just wanted to delete the pictures.  That was our first hard time.

Did we have a second one?  You know, we were all different from each other, so working as a team was kind of challenging.  But, we took time to get to know each other, we learned how to speak “Spanglish” because that helped us most of the time, and we even used sign language to communicate.  As time was passing, things got better.

Lucre and I are maybe not the best friends in the world, but we are really good, true friends and most importantly, sisters.  We now support each other every single day, we share stories, secrets…who does not share secret with a special friend?  Lucre says that I am humble, but I think that she is more humble than me.  She also thinks that I am bossy, and well, she is right and I am working on that.  I love her. And…she says that she loves me too.  Last Saturday, I forgot to take my passport with me to the ELS for my TOEFL test. Lucre took the bus and came all the way to downtown Seattle, and brought me the passport.  I was able to take it because she was there for me, I won’t never forget it.  Thank you mi Lucrecita!  Te  amo mucho!

At the end, we have struggled, we found difficulties, we were mad at each other sometimes, but we finally saw a sister in each other.  Now, we only speak English, but I do speak some Spanish words sometimes just to let her know that I can speak Spanish while she is speaking English.  “Hurry Florine, hurry!”  That is what she says when she comes over to the Fonsecas’s place, and she has to make sure that we do not miss the bus.  “I am almost done Lucre, give me five minutes and we won’t be late because we have class at 1:00”.  I should ask for ten or fifteen minutes instead of five. Why? Because I take more than five minutes to be ready, so I make her run every morning to the bus stop since she is staying with me, and if we miss the bus, we will be in trouble.

The End of Lucre and Florine’s story…just for now…

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!!!