Working with Her Heart

Marjoke, a volunteer at NPH Nicaragua for over one year now, describes her experience.
February 22, 2017 - Nicaragua


I have already been living and working at NPH Nicaragua for one year!! Recently I was asked what kind of advice I would give myself when I began my year.

Wow, that is complicated to answer. So much has changed in this one year. The first months were quite difficult. I wanted to know more Spanish, I wanted to know more about the problems of the kids and I wanted to know more about the culture of NPH and the structure of family life here.

It is good to have my own plan for the day when I am at NPH, but almost always I will go with the flow and at the end of the day I have to accept that I did not do what I wanted to do, although I did a lot. That is not just because of the culture, it is also because I like to talk and spend time with the people I meet when I am walking. And I meet a lot of people in this little village... to see them, to be interested in their lives, that is so important!

What I have learned to accept is that my life is different than that of the people here. Accepting this is still in process… to enjoy the chocolate that I got from my parents or the time to travel in Nicaragua is not always easy when you know that the people you love do not have this. Sometimes it is possible to share and it is good to be open and honest about their questions.

The volunteers of NPH Nicaragua also live close to the children. It is fun to talk about the normal things of life and share those with the kids, like hand washing all of our clothes or talking about the mischievous cat in the home... But the children are so interested in what I am doing, that it is sometimes difficult to take a break. In the beginning, I felt bad when I did something for myself. But after taking the time to reflect, to think, to sleep, to do nothing sometimes, I’ve found joy in living and serving others, and being part of the daily lives of the children. After time the children began to trust me. They know me, and they feel that I am working with my heart. And that is the most important. When I forget that, wow, I know that is time to step back and reflect again! It is a part of any relationship that comes with time. And I am happy that I have overcome that time and that I can stay here a little more. Because I enjoy more and more this time of living together in this crazy, happy, sad and loving family.

Okay, my advice will be: do not forget who you are, why you came, what your vision is and what your talents are. There are people who love you exactly how you are, which provides the base for building incredible relationships with the children and leading a fulfilling life.

Marjoke Smilde   
Drama Therapist




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