Honduras is an incredibly poor country, with little to no garbage system, water is full of parasites and the people live in shacks with very little else.
Might I also add that God perfected DIRT and DUST there! However, the people are beautiful, full of joy, so loving and accepting and are proud of their country. They always carry their heads up high, say ‘hola’ and have the best smiles on their faces (despite the lack of teeth). The country side is incredibly gorgeous and has lots of Buena vistas. Some of the places we visited were just breathtaking. I’m sure the Hondurans were laughing…’we may be poor, but look at the view we get to see everyday’. I joined 53 others from NY, DC, OH, and WA with 6 of us being in our late 20s early 30s. We were the youngest by 20 years, but I’ll tell ya, those folks were a blast. I have an extended family now that’s just amazing….and FUN. We stayed at Nuevo Paraiso… a compound/orphanage 1 ½ hours NE of Tegucigalpa. My roommates were my bff, Lila, and 3 of her friends. The rooms had cots, a bathroom with running water (mind you if you ingested it or got it in your eyes, you’d ‘die’…so they warned us) and electricity that would periodically shut off b/c of generator malfunction. We awoke every morning to roosters and the sun beaming in. One of the roosters sounded like he was a chain smoker…and had a cough every other crow. LOL. The food was served cafeteria style and was always quite yummy. The coffee was by far the best I’ve ever had! I brought home quite a bit too.
The first two days were spent getting all of our supplies organized (medicines, clothes, eye glasses, toiletries, toys, school supplies, etc.). We had to sort and label EVERYTHING for our 4 brigades. We were up til the wee night hours getting it all done. The facility that we stayed at was next to an orphanage….11-12 kids per house (shack) with 1-2 Tias (aunts) that took care of them. When there was free time, we’d go over and play with them. They just wanted so much love, hugs, being carried around and took us by the hands, wouldn’t let go, as if we were theirs! Most of the children had sponsors (Madrinas---godmother) which help fund their food, clothing and housing. I ended up sponsoring a little girl, Maryuri, who is 7, sweet and just so adorable. There were two other orphanages that we visited that were in connection to each other, Flor Azul (all boys) and Padro Atalas. All of the children had such sad stories, but the fact that they were in these facilities, they now had a chance at a good life. We spent two days being able to visit the children, give them toys, clothes and play games with them. One day we even got to go to a little town to do some shopping, drink a beer and watch the local teenagers perform dances in the town square. I was quite the treat. The remainder of the days were spent on the brigades.
After a 2 hour journey of being crammed together on two buses, driving over extremely uneven dirt roads up the sides of mountains, we would arrive to these ‘towns’ (a couple shacks in a row) in the middle of nowhere. Getting there was a journey, being there was a blessing. When we arrived, 100s (500+) of people would be waiting in line…some of them traveling on foot for hours while carrying their children. It was such the site to see. Overwhelmed, we set up the triage area, got the pharmacy put together and the doctors started seeing people right away. I was blessed that one lady on our brigade brought two printers and instead of having to pull medications, I got to do what I love most…take pictures. I took a picture of almost every kid there and when they were handed their photos, the smiles on their faces was priceless. Most of the kids have never seen a photo of themselves…hard to believe. After a full day of photography, I also helped distribute clothes and toys as well as assisting with a craft table for the kids. It was hard to leave after the day was over, but very rewarding.
I could go on and on about the stories with the kids and their enthusiasm, the elder’s smiles and appreciation, and the tears and thoughts that were shared amongst all of us on the brigade. We all felt blessed and long to go back. If you want to check out more you can go to http://www.hopeforhonduranchildren.org/
You can also check out all my photos at: