Shared Memories: She Had Me at “Hola”

Chuck Allworth
Director of Gift Planning
March 2024

I started working at NPH USA in February of 2009 and began sponsoring a pequeña from NPH Mexico shortly thereafter. We had the opportunity to meet each other for the first time two years later when I was on a week-long trip NPH Mexico. We exchanged our first in-person “holas,” and so it began.

Over the next several days, we spent more time getting acquainted. Here was this delightful 12-year-old girl from another country that I had been thinking and praying about for quite some time, and she was an absolute joy to get to know.

On the last day of my trip, I told her that I would be leading a trip of teens from the Chicago area to NPH Mexico the following month, so this was really an “hasta pronto” (“see you soon”) conversation and not an “adios” conversation. I asked her if there was anything from the U.S. that I could bring to her when I returned in a few weeks. We went back and forth for a while with her saying that she didn’t need anything and me saying I understood and asking her what she really wanted. Finally, obviously hesitant to impose on me, she asked if I wouldn’t mind bringing her 10 hangers that she could use in her locker. She wanted those durable tubular plastic hangers that you can buy for about 50 cents apiece in a big box store as long as you buy 50 of them. She didn’t realize it yet, but she had me at “hola,” and I would have brought her pretty much anything she wanted.

The next month, I returned with her 10 plastic hangers.

On that trip, she and I walked into the central park/plaza area of Miacatlán, the village in which the main NPH Mexico home is located. We walked there on the weekly market day when vendors in the local travelling market that goes from village to village bring their vehicles and display their wares. Think street sale. I gave my Goddaughter the equivalent of $10 in cash and told her that she could get whatever she wanted. Her first purchase was a small banner of St. Jude (the patron saint of lost causes!) that she wanted to hang in her NPH locker. She used the remainder of the cash to buy the largest container of hair gel that I had ever seen.

Fast forward 13 years. I’m still at NPH USA, and she is now all grown up and living independently with her two young daughters. We still keep in touch through social media.