Sunday, July 8, 2007

Padrinos Around the World

Maribel searches for the perfect sandals

One way that NPH raises money to support its kids is through a program called Padrinos. Translated to English, padrino means godparent. Each child has a few godparents, some more than others depending on how recently they arrived to the house.

Each month, the godparent sends $25 to help pay for all the needs of the child, food, clothing, etc. Some of the money is also given to the child on their birthday as a special present. Letters are sent back and forth and (if needed) translated by the offices in the country. It establishes a relationship that the kids treasure, especially if the godparent is able to visit them even once. It’s also one of the most important sources of income NPH uses in raising the kids.

While I was in Bolivia, we went to the market with six of the kids so they could buy what they wanted with the money they had received on their birthdays. First we stopped for breakfast and had saltenas, a traditional sour/sweet empanada (like a small calzone) with chicken. It was good, but one of the strangest breakfasts I’ve had (but pizza, that’s completely normal for breakfast!).
Tia Judith and Tia Scarlet at breakfast

Once we got to the market, we took turns looking for each person. One girl was excited to buy sandals, another wanted a CD. One boy bought a pair of jeans and another got a couple DVDs. They were so thrilled!

Controlled chaos with a giddy shopper in the middle

It was incredible to me that they waited so patiently during each others searches. Granted, there was a lot of stuff for them to look at while they waited, but I remember throwing a fit while waiting for my mom to help just my sister (and I think she remembers too, I promise, it was a long time ago!).

On our way back to the house, everyone wore (or ate) what they had bought. Tia Scarlett reminded them as we drove that everyone needed to write thank you notes to their godparents.

Tia Scarlet helps them sort things out during this very rare experience

The whole morning hardly seems interesting enough to write about, but utter normalcy is special and infrequent for these kids. I know it sounds like an infomercial, but it really is amazing what $25 a month can do.

The new belt wraps around twice! He'll grow into it.

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