Happy Sunday to you all!
We woke up to a beautiful morning as the rainstorm yesterday had cleared the air and there was no humidity. From the roof of the visitor house you could see for a long way across the fields of sugar cane and the surrounding countryside.
After breakfast, which is always cooked for us in the visitor house by some of the pequeños who work here at the home, we got into our church clothes and walked to the chapel which is at the entrance to the home. Mass is for the whole of the community and the children sit with the children who live in their house along with their Tias.
We were asked to lead the music for the Mass which we were honored to do. Our NPH friends were very happy to join in with enthusiasm and already knew some of the songs we sang.
The sign of peace was wonderful with many of the smaller children running to the group to hug them.
After Mass we were able to get back to the visitor house to change and then we were invited to go in pairs and have lunch in the children’s houses. The houses each have around 12 children living there with a Tia (house mother) who helps to care for them. The younger children have some houses which are mixed sex, otherwise there are separate houses for boys and girls with brothers and sisters living together wherever possible. Breakfast is cooked by the Tias in the houses, lunch is the main meal of the day and is cooked in a large kitchen and then carried to individual houses where it is shared.
After lunch we sat in the park and talked with Kieran who is the director of NPH Dominican Republic. Kieran and his wife began the home in the Dominican Republic 15 years ago with the blessing of Fr. Wasson. In those 15 years the home has expanded to include many facilities including the clinic, the schools and the special needs houses. Kieran explained to us that much of the expansion has taken place due to people passing on the word about the important work which NPH does and then generous people wanting to help the effort. Many volunteers come and give a year of service to the home and he encouraged our young people to think about doing that. Very soon the home is going to break ground for a new surgical center staffed by One World Surgery. This will serve the children of NPH and the poorest communities who live nearby who have no access to healthcare.
Later in the afternoon today we did some work and helped to pick up trash along the roadside of the entrance to the NPH property.
We cleaned the roadside all the way to the batay which is the name for the gathering of huts which houses many of the workers in the local farms. We will be able to tell you more about the batays when we visit later in the week.
Kendy and Joel are doing a years of service and are have special responsibilities for helping groups in the visitor house. They have taken great care of us.
Before dinner we got to play in the park with the children again.
After dinner tonight we had our evening reflection and prayer session on the roof of the building. This was a great chance to reflect on all the things we experienced today and share some of our experiences and feelings. We offered all these thoughts to God and asked him to continue the work he has started in us through this experience.
We continue to pray for you. Please keep all of us, and all the children who are under the care of NPH in your prayers.