A Meal With My Family
Dinner time is always special at NPH.
October 23, 2017 - El Salvador
It was a warm Saturday evening; it was a little after 6:00 pm and we were all having a good time talking about different topics and getting ready for dinner.
All of the kids were wearing nice clothes because we had just finished mass. I was walking around when Jimmy* started to call my name so that I could join him and some of his friends for dinner. I sat down with them at the table, and they started to ask me questions about how I was and what was new with me. I was surprised because it is usually my role as NPH El Salvador staff to ask them how they are doing! But they were so curious and interested to know more about me.
Our group was Jimmy who is 20 years old, Edin* who is 16, Santiago* who is 14, and Marcial* who is 13. I instantly noticed how close they all were. We prayed together, and then began our dinner of beans, sausage, and tortillas; we drank milk, which is Jimmy's favorite, so all the boys shared their milk with him. Sharing is something the kids do at NPH all the time. It is so natural that it is impressive to me because it is something that I do not usually see outside of NPH.
Little by little our conversation turned really interesting. At some point, they started to tell me about their struggles at school -
Santiago, for example, shared that he had problems understanding something in math and Edin offered to help him with that; it turned out that Edin understood that topic quite well in his studies. Jimmy is the oldest and is currently in his year of service, so his stories were different than the other boys; he told me about his activities and how tired he ended up each day, but how much he likes to do it.
Santiago talked with me about his choir classes; he is part of the group along with Marcial, and they are usually invited to sing during different masses outside our home. He told me how he felt in the group, how much he likes to sing and how happy it makes him when they do a good job. He was so engaged in the conversation, I could easily see that his love for music runs strong!
I noticed that Marcial was a little quiet, and so I asked how he was. He said he was ok, but he was worried about his homework. So I asked more specific questions to understand what that was about; the rest of them were talking about other things, so it was just me and Marcial, but all of a sudden the rest joined our conversation and started encouraging him. I felt really good that they chimed in like that; Marcial is the youngest and he really needed support from his oldest brothers at that moment.
We finished our meal after sharing jokes and laughter. As an NPH tradition, we all prayed together after finishing our meals. They did not let me help with dishes, they took care of everything. I hugged them to say goodnight and then walked away.
That night, I learned a lot from each of them. It made me feel like we really are a family even though each of them has a different story and a different background; there is a strong connection among them now and that makes us a family.
*Names changed for privacy purposes.
Communication and Project Coordinator