Our Voices: Francis from NPH Guatemala
Francis is a mature student studying Clinical Psychology at university. He tells us how he arrived at NPH Guatemala, his early memories at Casa San Andres, and how much the NPH family means to him.
March 5, 2021 - Guatemala
Dear the World,
I am so proud to be part of the NPH family. You see, I am a big family man; therefore, my brother and my sisters mean so much to me, and so does my NPH family.
For a little over seven years of my life, my mom raised us in a small town in Guatemala. I have three sisters - Miriam, Gladys, Johanna - and one brother - Rudy. I am the youngest. My mom and I have always been very close. As with all working moms, she did the best she could for us - making sure we got an education, that we had three meals a day and hope of a future. Cleaning houses and taking care of other children was her job, but the time it took her to do this job took her away from us. Miriam, my older sister, ended up taking care of us most of the time. I have always seen her as my second mom.
As we got older, it became too much for my mom to manage it all on her own, especially as a single mother, and also give us the quality life that she wanted us to have.
It is clear to me that if I had continued to live with my mom, I would have only have made it to 6th grade, and I would not have had all the opportunities to study and be where I am today. And she wanted me to have those opportunities.
You might be asking, why did she raise us alone? Well, my father left us when my mom was five months pregnant with me. I have never met him, or any of his family.
I remember when I arrived at NPH Guatemala with my brother and sisters. I was very small, just seven years old. It was 9 February, 2000. Yes, the transition was hard, but I adapted over the time. I had no idea that we would be given everything – delicious food like chicken, rice and tortillas. I always looked forward to Wednesdays, because we ate my favorite food – hamburgers! And we were given an education, something that I would learn to greatly appreciate as I got older. A dream I have already accomplished was to study abroad, two years ago I was so lucky to get a scholarship, I moved to the states (Seattle) to study English and improve leadership – The Seattle Institute. That is something that I will never forget, this opportunity like many more has changed my life and the way to see society. Now I can say that I am a different person and I want to give back to the NPH family that support me in many ways.
Now I want to talk a little bit about the situation that the whole world is going through. At the very beginning of 2020, I did not expect that something like this pandemic was going to change our lives so dramatically. Our way of living and our society changed completely. School was canceled for all the kids; we are still in quarantine. It is difficult to see our relatives. We cannot go outside and do outdoors activities with friends; basically, we are not living as usual. We don’t have face-to-face classes, but we have all the support from our professors and teachers online. We also have some different activities in the home; of course, we do all this to avoid the COVID-19. But this pandemic has taught us to value everything we have: value our friends, family and beyond.
The pandemic affected Guatemala; we have seen much declination in our society, with more people suffering in different ways. Fortunately, at NPH Guatemala, we are safe living in the home. Yes, we are coping with the quarantine as well, but we have good health. Thanks to all of our donors, godparents and sponsors, we have our basic needs covered every day.
I want to give a huge shout out to all the caregivers. We are receiving so much support from them, and they have been living with us since the beginning of the quarantine. They are doing the best for the children. We know that they have their own families outside NPH, but they still stay with us during these tough times.
Thank you to all the wonderful people who make the dreams of thousands and thousands children come true in my great NPH family.
Francis is in his fifth year at the University of Mariano Galvez where he studies Clinical Psychology, which he hopes to graduate from in 2021. Francis hopes to specialize in identifying and diagnosing emotional and behavior disorders, and become an active member of his community.
Names have been changed to protect the privacy of the youth.
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University Student and Godchild at NPH Guatemala