Friday, 5 April 2013

NPH Bolivia - Nicole's story

New Zealander Nicole travelled to NPH home in Bolivia. NPH Bolivia is located in San Ignacio de Sara, near the community of Portachuelo, some 80 kilometers northwest of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, the capital of the department of Santa Cruz. Read her inspiring story below...

I’ve just returned from a week with the most magical family in the world. The NPH home in Bolivia is a vibrant, bustling space where you tend to forget that the children, and many of the staff, have all come from troubled or violent homes.
The grounds are filled with joy and laughter, and all of the children seem genuinely grateful to have been given a new home, and a chance at a better life.

Days begin with a group breakfast before the children go off to school at their scheduled hour. Lunch, another communal event, is followed by various activities such as sports, crafts and homework. I was truly impressed by how smoothly the daily routine runs and the way that everyone has their own little part to play in NPH family life – right down to 10 month old Miguel, whose job it is to make everyone go “awwwwww” every single time they see him.  

I really wasn’t sure what to expect before my visit in October 2012. I had been travelling through South America when a friend who works for the organisation recommended I stay for a week if I had the time. The home is so welcoming and the staff’s passion so contagious, I immediately found myself wanting to return for at least a year.

I believe this passion filters down from the top. Managing Director, Gusman, is extremely hands on (especially during a game of soccer!) and provides an incredible source of inspiration and direction to each and every child. The energy and warmth he exudes is repaid with genuine love and respect from the children and staff alike, and I got the distinct feeling that he sees his role as a privilege rather than a job.

I walked away from NPH feeling many things, among them: grateful to have met so many wonderful people and to have had the chance to make a difference to children’s lives – even if it was just by teaching them a few short words in English; driven to contribute to NPH in any way possible as I feel it is one of the most efficient and effective non-profit organisations I have ever encountered; and sad to be leaving after only one week as it was one of the most enjoyable of my whole trip.

If this is how I felt after just one week, imagine how your life will change after a year – something I intend to find out in the very near future when I return as a fully fledged volunteer. 

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