My Day to Day at NPH

Read about how juggling two distinct jobs at NPH Honduras gives a volunteer an experience she'll never forget.
March 12, 2019 - Honduras

Meet Mareen Raff, a volunteer from Albsadt, Germany, who works at NPH as an assistant for the special education program and a caregiver in Casa Suyapa, our home for the youngest children.

I work in the school’s Special Education department. The department has four different classes. Two classes are for children with learning disabilities, where each child receives special attention and the time they need to successfully complete their exercises. One class is for children who have more severe disabilities. In this class, a special education teacher works in small groups or even one-on-one with the children, so that each child receives specialized attention with a focus on fine motor and social skills.

I work in the fourth classroom: el taller de condimentos (the spices workshop). The class has 14 students, ages 14 through 36, with various disabilities.

A typical day in the taller de condimentos starts with a prayer, followed by cleaning the aula (classroom). Each student completes his or her assigned chore. For example, Enrique sweeps the hallway in front of the classroom and Emmanuel waters the plants. This kind of activity creates responsibility, because without each student’s efforts, the task as a whole would not be completed. After we finish cleaning, we work in recycling, make piñatas, or roast and pack spices.

During the recycling activity, we help recycle NPH Honduras’ paper and cardboard. We pack all the recycled paper in huge bags and sell it to a local business in order to earn money for special activities with the kids. At the end of this school term, for example, we used this money to buy a huge cake for the children to celebrate their hard work.

The piñatas we make are used for special days at NPH, such as Día del Niño (Day of the Child) or the Día de Visitas (Family Visit Day). It’s so nice for the kids to see how much joy the work they put in the piñatas brings to the other children at NPH.

We also pack different kinds of common Honduran spices into little bags. The spices include aichote and saborina mixed with different flavors like salt, garlic, and onion. We make the bags on our own, roast the spices, pack the spices, weigh them and put labels on them. This kind of activity is really effective in teaching fine motor skills.

Also, the children learn how to manage money when they go to sell the spices. I love watching their excitement as they set off to sell the products of their hard work.

In addition to working in the workshops, I work as a part-time caregiver in the afternoons in Casa Suyapa, the house for our littlest children. Currently, we have eight little kids in this home. Most afternoons we go for a walk or play outside on the playground. I love spending time outside with the children.

Being with the youngest ones can be stressful sometimes, but mostly it’s just fun hanging around and playing with them. It’s amazing how much they give you. Every time I have a bad or stressful day in school, I come to my hogar (home) and the day suddenly gets better.

My favorite part of the day is nighttime, after dinner, when we get the children ready for bed and tuck them in. We always rub their backs to help them fall asleep; it is a peaceful moment that I really love.

I really like the two different jobs I do here in the home. It’s injects variety in my day. I learned so much throughout the year. I wouldn't trade this experience for anything. I really think that coming to Honduras is one of the best decisions that I've made in my entire life.

Children’s names have been changed to protect their privacy.

Mareen Raff   
Special Education Teaching Assistant and Caregiver




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