I had the incredible opportunity to go to Honduras with my son’s school in March. We lived on the NPH (Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos) Honduras Ranch about an hour outside of Tegucigalpa with almost 500 children, volunteers, local staff and lots of lizards, bunnies, horses, cattle, chickens, a few scorpions and one scary snake who is no longer with us.
Honduras is one of the poorest countries in the world and equally as dangerous. Although outside the ranch walls the future is bleak, within the walls the children are safe, loved, and care for each other as a family.
The Pequenos at the ranch work harder then any children I have experienced. Their day starts around 6am with chores and breakfast, then off to school, back to their Hogars (house) for more chores and homework and then off to bed. They work and study 6 days a week and take Sunday to relax and enjoy time together. Included in the day-to-day work they manage to maintain a farm & garden to provide fresh food to supplement their daily meals of rice & beans. The older kids have a vocational school where they make their own school uniforms (pretty stylish), dress shoes, furniture, and provide haircuts for the entire ranch.
The most exceptional part of what they do at NPH is to give those who come to them a family. Most of the children come to them with their spirit and livelihood broken and diminished. Their spark for life is nearly gone. With the help of all 500 family members and staff they help to give the children hope and their childhood back.
It was a life-changing week for most of us. I felt so grateful to be a part of a school who has the confidence and no how to bring 7th and 8th graders and their chaperones way outside their comfort zone to teach many life lessons that we will be able to reflect on for the rest of our lives.
What really stuck with me before I even left for Honduras is what our Junior High Director, Chris Ambroso, pointed out; this is not a service trip it is a cultural exchange. They do not need us at NPH to survive but they welcome visitors often to get to know each other and help spread the important mission of NPH. Don’t get me wrong, they are very much in need of is funds which brings me to the most important part of this message. Please find out more on how you can help through donations, spreading the word, or sponsoring a child. The godparent program is an exceptional program where you become a sponsor of a child. You help a child in two ways: First, by developing a relationship that strengthens the child’s self-esteem; and second, by providing ongoing financial support for the care of all of the children. Take a look on how you can get involved.
Lastly, I would like to give a huge thank you to our NPH staff here in Chicago, the wonderful volunteers who took care of us in Honduras and the staff at our beloved Near North Montessori. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.