Becoming a Part of the NPH Family
Volunteer Emily reflects on her first six months at NPH Nicaragua
May 1, 2017 - Nicaragua
My first weeks as a volunteer at NPH Nicaragua were extremely challenging. Every day here is a whirlwind of activity and I was learning on the fly, and I was the only new volunteer at the time. Sometimes I felt like I couldn’t handle the work or the lifestyle, and sometimes I missed home like crazy. The most difficult choice I made was also what ended up helping me the most; instead of camping out in the volunteer house and feeling sorry for myself, I pushed myself to meet my new NPH family members.
As the Communication Officer, I spend much of my working time moving around the NPH property talking to different people. I used that advantage to convert my free time into get-to-know-them time, and the positive response was overwhelming! People wanted to tell me about themselves, and they wanted to get to know me. Soon, I was spending my mornings and evenings with the boys in my hogar (between five and ten years old), my days all over the place for work, and my free moments befriending the other volunteers and workers. It was a very busy routine, and the days passed quickly; all of a sudden, I had passed six months at NPH!
Now, I feel more comfortable and content as a part of the NPH family than I ever could have imagined. I know each face that passes me by. My boys can be troublemakers and sometimes have more energy than I can even comprehend, but at the end of the day when we say goodnight, I know I belong with them. After my weekends off, there’s nothing better than their excited shouts and scattered hugs to give me energy to work again! My boys like to tell me about their days, their successes, and their struggles, and their wellbeing has become my first priority. The caregivers in my house are phenomenal people, and I will always be grateful for how welcome they have made me feel and how patient they were with me as I stumbled through the crowd of little boys. We are closer than friends; to me, they really feel like family.
The relationship I share with the other volunteers is unique; we are roommates, we are co-workers, and we are friends. From the smallest frustration to the greatest accomplishment, we share everything and I never feel without support. The life of a volunteer at NPH Nicaragua is unlike anything else, and the other volunteers understand that best. We’re also an international group; in my time here, I have been the only volunteer from the United States. My fellow volunteers have come from Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, and Mexico. I love the home environment we have created that celebrates all of our different backgrounds and all of us as individuals. It’s incredible!
From my coworkers to my boys to my fellow volunteers, I have formed the craziest and most wonderful NPH family over the past six months. I would not change them for the world.