Maribel prepares for university
Christmas is a special time of year for our kids, especially for 20-year-old Maribel*, who arrived at NPH Bolivia when she was just four years old. Maribel is now finishing her ‘year of service’ and looking forward to starting her university studies next year.
Before arriving at NPH, Maribel and her family lived in a small town on the eastern edge of the Andes mountain range. Sadly, her mother passed away when she was just a baby and her father struggled to look after his two children. Maribel and her brother were often left alone for long periods.
“I do not remember much of my life before NPH, but I do remember being alone at my home with my brother while my father was away working,” Maribel recalls. “At times I was completely alone.”
The authorities stepped in to provide the children with a more stable upbringing. Maribel and her brother joined our NPH family in 2005, while remaining in close contact with their dad.
Now, 15 years later, Maribel can see how she’s been given the chance to change the course of her life.
“Through my experiences here I’ve improved my studies, learned how to work hard, and strengthened my faith,” she says. “I am so thankful to be able to use what I’ve learned to improve my life, my family and to help others in need.”
Maribel says that one special thing about NPH is that everyone feels like they are part of one big family. This bond is felt strongest at Christmas time.
On Christmas day, the children wake up to presents under a big Christmas tree. Santa arrives and helps hand out the gifts to every child, one at a time. In the evening, the younger children act out scenes of the nativity play during Christmas mass. Everyone eats a special dinner, followed by dancing, games and fireworks.
“My favourite part is Christmas dinner because we can all be together like a family and share a meal on this special day,” she says. “We are all like brothers and sisters to each other and everyone is smiling and having a great time.”
Christmas will be different this year because of the pandemic. Social distancing, masks and smaller bubbles will all play their part in keeping the kids healthy. Covid19 is rampant in all the communities where we work, so we need to remain vigilant to ensure our children, staff and volunteers can stay safe. Maribel admits that they’re all in need of something to celebrate because it’s been a tough year.
Nevertheless Maribel feels optimistic about 2021. She’ll be starting her university studies in the city of Santa Cruz. She hopes to study either accounting or architecture.
“In the coming years, I hope to be able to finish my studies with good grades, find a job, travel by myself or with my father. I hope to spend time with all the people who have become my family,” Maribel says.
With her eyes on the future she will never forget the impact that NPH has had in her life.
“At NPH we are united together as a family. We are given the opportunities to achieve our hopes and dreams,” Maribel says. “I would like to thank all of NPH’s supporters and wish them a Merry Christmas.”
Thank you for helping us bring the joy of Christmas to many vulnerable children and families in Bolivia at this challenging time.
If you’re in the position to help our children, please give a NPH Christmas Gift.