Held Together by NPH
On March 12th, NPH Honduras welcomed eight new members to the family.
Reported by Stefan Feuerstein
National Director, NPH Honduras
March 14, 2018
It is a sometimes confusing and upside-down world, where joy and sadness, love and indifference, plenty and terrible limitation, are all so intertwined in the fabric that we know as life and community. So confusing and upside down, in fact, that at times we lose our bearings and find ourselves on one side or the other, momentarily forgetting that the one doesn’t necessarily imply the elimination of the other, and that without community, responsibility and service, we are nothing.
Yesterday was one of those days where we were reminded of it all. And we were reminded yet again of the strength of our NPH family, the strength of our community and the power of our daily work.
We found sadness in finding out that there was a home for disabled children in Catacamas, near our transition home, that was being closed down for failing to comply with government regulations. We have been in talks for the past few days about how we could help, but there was nothing concrete. Early Monday morning the authorities went to pick up the children, expecting resistance and a longer legal process, but the expected resistance never came, and the children started their journey here to the Ranch, to NPH Honduras.
We had asked over the past few days if we could have any information to prepare ourselves for their arrival, but the answer was clear and empty: “We have none.”
Honduran Childcare Services, under observation of the National Commission on Human Rights, rolled into the Ranch with three ambulances from the fire brigade, bringing eight severely disabled children to us. We asked the authorities if they had the children’s names, and they shook their heads. Medical history? Nothing. Any kind of papers to give us an indication of the families where they started their immensely challenging lives? Nothing.
But in this terrible situation that should never have been allowed to come to be, there was beauty, comfort, inspiration and renewed hope in watching our team take responsibility. Our Coordinators, Doctor, Nurses, Therapists and Volunteers calmly brought their knowledge, their skills and their smiles. Our childcare staff came with hugs and welcoming words. Our younger children came with teddy-bears and curiosity. Our older children came to help.
Only one child can speak. Oneyda, a hilarious nine-year-old, is the sole source of all of our information. Names, ages, medical history and even behavioral issues – she comfortably eased into her new and important role of Everyone’s Assistant.
As our clinic is currently dealing with chicken pox, our medical team set up their work station on the back terrace of the home that the children moved in to. Everywhere, there was bathing, combing, eating, playing, making harnesses for wheelchairs and labeling toothbrushes. Everywhere, there were smiles, laughter, hugs and reassuring words.
There is tremendous sadness, limitation and indifference in the story that brought these children to us. But the joy, the plenty and the love is equally if not more evident. And what holds everything together and makes it all work is a bunch of people who care. A bunch of people held together by family, by commitment, by hard work and a lot of caring.
Photo above: Youth arriving at the Ranch on March 12, 2018; Photos below: Youth being welcomed into the NPH Family by Stefan Feuerstein, National Director; Steve O’Mahony, Assistant National Director; and other youth and caregiving staff.