Marlene* is an eight-year-old girl who never celebrated Christmas before NPH. December 8, 2017 - El Salvador
Marlene* when she first came to live with us in 2015.
Most kids in El Salvador adore Christmastime for its beautiful and fun moments - eating delicious food, breaking piñatas during Las Posadas, giving and receiving gifts, and playing!
Unfortunately, for many children in the country, the reality is different. Too many children live in poor communities and some do not get to celebrate the holidays or other special traditions.
This is the case for Marlene*, a girl who was born into a poor home where she lived with her mother. Out of necessity and a lack of options, her mother gathered plastic bottles and cans from the garbage so she could sell them. Marlene was with her all the time, and as she grew up, she started to help her mother do her work and also some things at home, like washing the dishes. Marlene never attended school before arriving at our NPH home. She also did not celebrate Christmas.
At NPH, there are many activities that kids love to be part of; Marlene was not the exception. In 2015, when she first came to live with us, she was shy and more reserved but interested in participating in all of the activities of the home. She started school, and little by little, began to feel comfortable in her new home.
Time passed, Christmas time came. Marlene was excited about the decorations and the way this family celebrated Christmas. Marlene says her favorite part of Christmastime is with her friends during the Posadas. Last year, they presented a dance when it was their home’s turn for the Posadas. She adds, “I also like to break the piñatas and eat the candies.”
In addition to enjoying candies, gifts, and games, she is also learning about the importance of this season. “This is a beautiful time because baby Jesus was born and we celebrate his birthday.” And this is the real meaning of Christmas for Marlene. While looking at pictures from this season from last year, Marlene grew excited about the coming season. It was amazing to see how she has already begun to collect memories with her NPH family. She commented on every picture she saw, and it was noticeable how meaningful these moments were for her.
Many young girls like Marlene pass through tough situations outside of our home. At NPH, we are aware that in spite of the great effort that some of their biological families make, they are still not able to provide them with the basic necessities and many times, with special celebrations.
The story of each child who arrives at NPH is unique, and all are unfortunate and ridden with hardship; but when they arrive at the NPH home, they are assured safety, security, and love, and get to look forward to celebrating special moments and traditions every year with their NPH family. It is our goal that they have fun in the activities during the holidays, and get the chance to enjoy their childhood and to play!
We hope that all the children, just like Marlene, collect beautiful memories from the Christmas season and feel that they are loved, and an essential part of this big family.
*Name changed for privacy reasons
Carmina Salazar Communication and Project Coordinator
You may be only one person in the world, but you may be all the world to one child.
—Fr. William Wasson