Esther Rogers from Feilding has been sponsoring a young boy, Max* from NPH Peru since 2015. She saw his photo on a facebook post and knew that she wanted to sponsor him. In 2017 Esther visited Max at the NPH home, in Canete, 2 hours South of Lima. This trip opened up her eyes to the good work that NPH is doing with vulnerable children, and made her curious about the possibility of volunteering with NPH one day.
The pandemic delayed Esther’s ability to join our volunteer abroad programme, but fortunately in December 2021 she was able to head to Bolivia. During her service year at NPH Bolivia, Esther is helping the children as an English and music tutor. She has even been able to put her early childhood experience to use by helping our caregivers develop care plans for the youngest children. For Esther it has been a wonderful experience so far with plenty of challenges along the way.
The biggest challenge has been adapting to the language and culture. While Esther has made incredible progress with her Spanish, there have been days which have felt difficult. “Some days it’s really hard to communicate in Spanish. But this difficulty has made me more compassionate and understanding. I feel know that I have a lot more empathy for migrants around the world.”
When NPH Peru contacted Esther about Godparents’ Day in May, Esther decided that it was the perfect opportunity to meet her Godchild Max. Max is now a part of the NPH OneFamily Programme, which means that he was reintegrated with his biological family and is now living with his mum, stepfather and step siblings. NPH helped Max’s family visit the NPH home in Canete for Godparents Day, so that Max could be reunited with friends and madrina** once again.
Esther will cherish the time she spent with Max as they were able to talk about his life at home in a small town called Lechemayo. “I spent time with my Godson. It was so special and with my level of Spanish, I had a reasonably good conversation with him and his family (much better than last time).” Esther says.
During her time at NPH Peru, Esther received a warm welcome from the children and staff. They even made a sign for her which said, “Welcome Esther” with the New Zealand Flag.
Esther says, “I got such a warm reception from the twins that lived in the San Martin home because these were the same boys, I met on my first visit. They remembered me giving them gifts from their Godparents in New Zealand. What hugs I got!! We looked at photos of that day and one of the boys quickly went and grabbed the same sweater he wore in the photo. We laughed, and it was decided that I was going to have dinner at their house that night.”
Godparents Day was a fun event at the home where the children were put into teams and played different games such as soccer, basketball and even a game with flour which got quite messy! Esther enjoyed taking photos of the kids for social media. Esther had a wonderful time at NPH Peru being able to reconnect with the children and staff that she met five years ago. She even helped the Director of NPH Peru make a video of the neighbouring community for a community programme that NPH Peru hopes to start in the next year. Esther hopes to come back to NPH Peru in a few years and see the progress that has been made on the community centre, which aims to help strengthen low-income families in the community.
For now Esther is happy to return to NPH Bolivia where she will dive straight back into her busy schedule of teaching the children and planning different activities.
If you would like to sponsor a child or volunteer abroad with NPH New Zealand you can find more details below.
*name changed for privacy reasons
**madrina means Godmother in Spanish.