Message from the Upper Midwest Development Officer
I had the joy of spending the last week of March at the NPH home in Guatemala. It was my first time in Guatemala and I was struck with its beauty and the friendliness of its people. Anyone who has traveled there knows, however, that the beauty of the country serves as a mask for rampant poverty, social inequality, and a general lack of safety and stability. Guatemala has one of the higher homicide rates in the world, and when combined with extreme poverty and a lack of opportunity for quality healthcare and education, this makes the country an extremely unstable place for children.
So there could hardly be a more striking contrast with the country at large than the oasis that is NPH Guatemala. It’s clear from the minute one arrives, that it’s called a “home” and the children are called “family” for a very good reason. These are brothers and sisters, aunt and uncles, mothers and fathers, caring for one another and providing a warm, nurturing environment in every way. This is a place that feels safe. It’s a place where a staggering level of opportunity is afforded to some of the most disadvantaged children in the world. It’s a place where women and girls are valued, the disabled are treated with kindness and respect, and where life is not measured by what you have, but who you are.
I met scores of pequenos and staff at the home, and the most honest thing I can say to summarize my experience with them is that they are genuinely happy people. Life has not given these children much by way of what we see as material possessions or social opportunity, but these children are rich. They have love, family, and safety. Most of all, they have one another.
I couldn’t be prouder to come back to Minneapolis and work to support these children here in our Upper Midwest Office. I’m more convinced than ever that the work we are doing together in this region is some of the most important work in the world. Through our efforts, real children—with hopes, fears, dreams, uncertainties—are being given opportunity, love, and security. What could be more inspiring?
We are so thankful for each one of you. It’s not a cliché to say that we couldn’t do this important work without you! Thank you for sponsoring these children, for writing them letters, for visiting the homes, for attending fundraising events, for donating to needs, for spreading the word. You are a key part of these pequenos family, and we value you more than we can express.
With gratitude from the entire UPM staff,
UPM Development Officer