Birthday Bash in the Park
A party for the youngest pequeños of Rancho Santa Fe
March 26, 2012 - Honduras
Everyone has birthday party memories from when he or she was growing up. The friends, the presents, the food—it’s a big deal. Children look forward to their special day for the whole year and will talk about it for weeks afterward. Here at Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos, our kids are just like any others. They want to celebrate their individual growth with a day of fun with their friends. They want to eat, they want to laugh, and they want to play. And every month here at NPH Honduras, they get to do just that.
Each month the sponsorship department at the Ranch celebrates the birthdays of pequeños in an event called compras, which translates to shopping. The children who have birthdays in that particular month get to collectively enjoy a day of pizza and cake in nearby Tegucigalpa. They are also each allotted some money to buy a special gift from the store of their choice. While this is the activity for the birthdays of most of our kids, the littlest ones on the Ranch (under eleven years old) are too young to walk freely in the center of a large city. Hence, their special day is celebrated a bit differently.
At eight o’clock in the morning one day this month, eleven of our youngest kids climbed into a van for an animated ride to Picacho Park in Tegucigalpa. There is where they began their day of fun activities. Although the morning started with a light rain, it soon cleared up just in time for the kids to enjoy their watermelon, pizza, cake, and free range over a giant playground. The picnic hit its culmination when the kids took turns swinging away at a large Minnie Mouse piñata, stuffed to the brim with all types of delicious candy. Soon after, the kids exchanged excited hugs as they passed out their birthday gifts to each other, consisting mostly of colorful new clothes and shoes. “I loved playing in the park with my friends and eating the pizza,” 5-year-old Damiana says.
Glenda Garcia works in the sponsorship department at NPH Honduras and is one of the people who are responsible for making these birthday celebrations happen. To Glenda, this event is more than just pure amusement—it’s also very important for the children’s self confidence and personal identity. “Coming from very difficult backgrounds, many of our kids never celebrated their birthdays before. Some weren’t even sure of their age before coming to NPH. We really want the kids to have a day where they can feel special—a day that reminds them of who they are,” Glenda says.
After the few hours at the park, the kids headed to the zoo. For a lot of the children, this was their first trip to a zoo. Crocodiles, monkeys, jaguars, and snakes—there was never a dull moment as the kids moved from habitat to habitat.
Yeni Garcia, also from the sponsorship department, sees the day not only as celebratory, but also as educational. “The children get to pass the day in a new environment with new experiences. I love to answer their questions and help them understand things they’ve never seen before,” Yeni says. After leaving the zoo the kids finished off the day with taking turns riding on rented scooters down an enclosed racing course.
The van ride back was certainly more tranquil. Many of the children slept as they held their bags full of candy, treats that they were excited to share with their friends back at the Ranch. As the children here get older they take on new, more challenging responsibilities in work and school. However, as a family at NPH, it’s important to make sure they feel special and continue to celebrate their growth year by year.
Communication Officer - NPH Honduras