Hipólito,* a 3rd-grade boy, tells us how his lifes has been since the earthquake in Mexico. Februar 26, 2018 - Mexiko
Hipólito* taking classes under the tents in the patio.
Hipólito* is a 9-year-old boy studying 3rd grade. September 19, 2017, will be a day he will never forget.
"That afternoon we were all very still, we already knew that something serious had happened. My friends and I only heard that the old chapel was badly damaged, and also the schools and the dining hall. Our caregivers explained to us what had just happened and tried to make sure everyone was calm, because there were some children who were crying. They were nervous or maybe scared, I guess. I remember there was no electricity that night and the whole hacienda (home) was very dark. Since our dormitories weren’t safe to sleep in, we all slept together outside so we would not be afraid, and some of us had candles."
Starting that day, school was suspended for a few weeks. The teachers were at the home to carry out activities with the children to distract them. The psychologists gave support workshops to all the kids so that they could express their feelings, and they gave them reading materials and did relaxation exercises.
The dining hall and kitchen became unsafe places and we had to move to the main courtyard to feed our family of more than 400 children for all future meals. The temporary kitchen was placed under a large roof where there was everything the chefs needed to work freely.
The home’s courtyard was filled with large white tents that different people donated, concerned about the well-being of the children. They became temporary dining halls. After a few weeks, Hipólito and his classmates returned to school, but not to their classroom. Now they had improvised classrooms under the tarps with blackboards hanging on the sides.
"At the beginning, we liked having classes there, it was something different. But after a while we got bored, it was hot even under the tarps. Besides, since everyone passed by, it was easier to be distracted and to start chatting with friends," says Hipólito of his experience in outdoors classes.
Fortunately, the schools have already been repaired and our children returned to their classrooms on January 31. "I am happy because we can have 'normal' classes now. We spent several months like that, and we thought it would take much longer to go back to our classrooms because they were very damaged."
NPH Mexico has taken big steps since the earthquake—thanks to generous donors—to help the children return to their classrooms. There is still a great need to repair the dinning hall and kitchen as more than 400 children continue to eat outside, some of the children’s dormitories still need repairs, and many other structural issues to our home still need to be addressed. For the time being, we will continue rebuilding our facilities so that our children enjoy their days with dignity, and above all, in safe spaces.
*Name changed for privacy purposes.
Vanessa Cruz Communication Officer
You may be only one person in the world, but you may be all the world to one child.
—Fr. William Wasson