Summer 2019 Trip to NPH Dominican Republic

On August 15, 2019, a group of our high school students, along with the St. John-St. Paul Youth Ministry team, Fr. Jim, and a representative from NPH USA, travelled to the NPH home in the Dominican Republic for a week-long service and immersion trip.  This trip provided a firsthand experience of how NPH USA transforms the lives of children!  While there, the group provided daily updates and photos so we could follow along on their journey!

(Most recent posts at the top – scroll down to start at the beginning! When reading a post, you can click on any photo to see a larger version.)

Please Join Us for a Youth Ministry NPH Trip Presentation

Our high school students who traveled to the NPH home in the Dominican Republic this summer with Fr. Jim and our Youth Ministry Team would like to invite you to a presentation about their experience.  Please join us on Sunday, September 29 at 6:00pm (immediately following the Sunday 5pm Mass) at St. John Powers Hall ...
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Day Six : Tuesday, August 20

Hello from our last day in the Dominican Republic! After breakfast this morning we got straight to work again. Some of us carried on with more work in the farm after getting to hold some of the piglets. Another group went to spend the morning helping in San Marco which is the special needs house. After spending time together inside, the group helped to take the children into the park where we played together. The children loved playing with beanbags and musical toys and enjoyed physical contact and individual attention. The Tias were wonderful with these children and everyone who came by came over and interacted with the group. One of the workers told us that one of the boys who is looked after in San Marco has only lived here for 5 months and prior to that had lived at home but because of his home circumstances was confined to a bed every day. His father brought him to NPH and comes very regularly to visit him. His son's life is so different now with more stimulation and beautiful surroundings. It really is a wonderful gift of the transformation of lives that NPH can give to the community. After the time in the park we were able to help the children with their therapy as they lay on big mats which allowed them to stretch out their limbs. Lunch today was in the multiuso which is a large building next door to the school where ...
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Day Five : Monday, August 19

There were storms throughout the night last night and we woke up to rain and clouds which finally cleared in the afternoon. Today was the first day of school for the children here. They have a large building called the multiuso and started with an assembly in that space followed by lessons in the morning. While the children were in their classes we briefly visited the special needs house and the farm and then went to various workstations to help with jobs in the kitchen and on the farm. The special needs house looks after around 20 children who have various needs and some of whom use wheelchairs for mobility. The house is fairly new and was built in memory of an Italian Racing Driver (Marco Simoncelli) whose family wanted to donate something to do good in his name. The house includes therapy rooms and a small therapy pool which is staffed by volunteer therapists. The inside of the house is very nicely built and quite new but we were most impressed by the atmosphere of joy in the house and the beautiful way that the children were being cared for. After our visit we were taken on a tour of the farm. The farm provides most of the food for the children in the home and employs local workers.  The farm grows vegetables and has fruit trees and houses a small pig farm. Some of the pigs were very cute! Some less cute.......but looking very happy !! ...
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Day Four: Sunday, August 18

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 ...
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Day Three: Saturday, August 17

After breakfast today we had a trip to the beach and eight lucky pequeños got to come with us. The little ones were so excited and literally jumped into our arms before getting on the bus for the ride to the ocean. As we left the home the children prayed the prayer that they say every time they leave the home asking God to look after them. They then sang all the way to the ocean. We got to swim and play on the beach with the pequeños ... and to share some delicious unsweetened thin fried dough (yaniqueca) with ketchup on!!!! We returned to the visitor home in time for lunch. Lunch is the main meal of the day here and usually includes rice and beans and a meat dish, followed by delicious fruit. The weather broke this afternoon and there was a huge tropical storm.  Some of us watched from the balcony of the visitor house while others accepted an invitation from some pequeños to join them in a game of soccer, which actually ended up as a huge water fight in the street. There is a trench on the side of the road which filled with fast flowing water and the pequeños floated and raced our flip flops in the water! Once the rain cleared up we joined the children outside as they played. We got to use many of the toys and games we had brought with us to share with the ...
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Day Two: Friday, August 16

We woke up after a great  night's sleep and gathered for breakfast. We are staying in the visitor's house in the grounds of NPH and are on the second floor where we catch a little welcome breeze. The grounds of the NPH property are about 50 acres and around 150 children live here with their "Tias" (house mothers) and many volunteers and staff members. Today was a very special day at NPH Dominican Republic as NPH  is celebrating its 65th birthday and today is "Father Wasson " day.  Fr. Wasson began the whole organization which is now in 9 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. The day began with Mass with all the children. At the Mass certain NPH staff were honored including one of the Tia's who has worked here for many years. It was very moving to see the great love that the children had for her. The university aged young men who had been with her as young children were in tears as she came forward to be honored. It is so beautiful to witness the love of family here and to see the face of God so visible in the children and their carers. After Mass we had a quick tour of the home. The children live in family groups in houses with their Tias. The houses include siblings so the ages are mixed. One of the many great things about NPH is that they make every effort to keep siblings together when they ...
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Day One: Thursday, August 15

Hello from the DR.  This is going to be a quick post to let you know that we all arrived safely and are just going to bed after a long day of traveling and excitement. Everyone is doing well and are happy to be here. We were greeted so warmly by NPH staff and the children who were excited to meet us. We have had Mass and a great meal and are getting some sleep before an exciting day which we will share with you tomorrow. Check back in with us tomorrow evening ...
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Welcome to our blog. We are excited to be traveling to the Dominican Republic next week to begin our service and immersion trip with NPH and we hope you will enjoy traveling with us via this blog. We are hoping to be able to update every day once we are in the Dominican Republic, as long as we have good internet access. We are so grateful for the support of the St. John-St. Paul Collaborative for this trip. Thank you for all the donations which you so generously left in the suitcases at the back of the Churches over the last couple of weeks. Members of the group met together yesterday evening to talk about the trip and to pack your donations so that we can deliver them to the home. We received all the items on our wishlist and will be delivering 10 suitcases/bags of much needed supplies for the clinic and the school. We filled donated suitcases and bags which the children of NPH (Pequenos) will use when they leave for university. Thank you so much! ...
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