By Kaitlyn B.
In early October, Duxbury High School, specifically the Duxbury High School Spanish National Honor Society, had the pleasure of hosting a large group of children from countries in South America, including Guatemala and Honduras. These students are a part of an organization called NPH, which stands for “Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos” or, “Our Little Brothers and Sisters.”
“Pequeño” means little in Spanish. The people who are involved as students and children that are helped by NPH are regarded as pequeños no matter their age.
At Duxbury High, something new has emerged. There is now a club, started by three students at Duxbury High School, Emerson Lloyd, Mackenzie Prokou, and Thomas Donnelly, that specifically surrounds the organization these Latin American students are from.
A woman named Elizabeth Caletka is NPH’s Development manager at the mid-atlantic, northeast office, which is the local fundraising office. Caletka explained, “NPH is an organization that provides three main things; homes, healthcare, and education, to orphaned, abandoned, and disadvantaged children in Latin America and the Caribbean in nine different countries.”
These countries are México, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Pèru, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic
After Caletka’s work in 2012 as an international volunteer at NPH México, she began working for NPH and has helped the pequeños throughout their trip in the Boston Area.
“We’ve been here for almost a three week tour, and we visit schools throughout the greater Boston area the whole time, but Duxbury, it was a connection with a lot of the youth at Duxbury High and Middle School, and Holy Family Parish.” She said, “There was just a fundraiser, the youth have their own youth council, and [the students] just started an NPH club at Duxbury High. A lot of them also went and travelled to the NPH México home last June. There’s a lot of Duxbury residents who are involved in different ways”
While the pequeños are here, they stay with host families who volunteer to be involved. During this trip, three boys stayed with the Lloyd family in town.
Emerson Lloyd, a freshman at Duxbury High School, spent one week getting to know them. She said, “I think it is an amazing experience to host, or even go visit one of the homes, for any kid to have, so that they can experience the world outside of our town.”
After hosting their first few pequeños a few years ago, her family actually visited one of the NPH homes in México. She feels that these experiences, “help you realize the world is so much bigger than you think, and makes you put your problems in perspective when you hear some of the struggles and tragedies these kids have overcome.
Juan, who just graduated university about three weeks ago with the help of NPH, is a pequeño from Honduras. After graduating in human resources management, he has begun work in NPH as the manager of their athletic program.
Throughout the time he’s been in Duxbury staying with the Lloyd family, Juan has noticed “One of the big differences between the schools is the technology. We don’t have the technology that you guys have here in your schools.” He says, “I feel like it is impressive, because I think it is a big part of the development of the country, and the development in the school too. The education is high here, so we want to learn from you, and how you guys do things, and try to implement some of the methods you use for kids.”
Juan said, “We really like to come here to represent Guatemala in our dances and music and its kind of a cultural interchange, so we can learn about you and the schools can learn about us.”
“A lot of that is to build awareness and make connections with local students.” Caletka says, “A lot of the schools, we have annual trips with them, so it’s just about building connections that we hope can turn into something greater. Students recognize our pequeños like they’re recognizing friends, and it’s a really fun connection to have.”
NPH gives children the resources they need to be successful. Juan said “NPH helped me in every process to accomplish what I have, especially in university. They provided me a scholarship, including the food and transportation, and psychological attention when I needed. Most importantly, they encouraged me to achieve my goals.”
Caletka says, “It’s hard hearing some of the stories where these children come from and had they been here, they might’ve been fine, but in their home countries, if it weren’t for NPH some of these children could have had to join gangs for safety or would not get an education. She feels, “It’s a very heartwarming organization to be a part of. It’s not just about donations and numbers. It’s something that you can feel more than any other organization. For me, it’s definitely rewarding, but at the same time NPH is very different as they do promote a strong family.”
“This big family means a second opportunity for many kids in our countries.” Juan explained, “Many of the kids came to NPH without any education, without any healthcare, or family. Once a person came and got involved in the NPH family, it’s difficult for that person to say goodbye.”
As Emerson said, “I think it is so important for everyone in Duxbury to be aware of the world around them and understand the poverty that goes on in these Latin American countries. It’s really hard to understand it when we live in such a beautiful place with so many opportunities.”
She says, “Getting involved with NPH, going to visit one of the homes, and hearing their stories first hand is such an important way for us to realize we have to do so much to fight the inequality in the world. My family and I feel so blessed to be part of NPH and it is really an amazing experience!”
The pequeños of NPH admire the kindness Duxbury residents have shown them since they’ve been here.
“For me, the best part of being here is when we can share with the host families, because they have a very big heart for the people who they don’t know, so that is very special coming from them.” Juan continued, “I want to express my gratitude to the people here in Duxbury because they don’t know us, but they are very open minded to our different cultures. We can be part of their families too.
NPH is a world community, and it will continue to bring all people together, fortunate and less fortunate.