Although I’ve visited the home twice before, I knew going into this trip that there were parts of the ranch I hadn’t yet discovered. There are simply some things that you don’t notice at nine or even twelve years old, and three years is a long time to learn a lot. In that time, for one, I’ve taken two years of Spanish. Ask any of the travelers and they will tell you how useful it is, or how they wished they knew more. To be clear, I am far from fluent and I rely on hand gestures like most everyone else – but there are finally some things I can say and understand.
During the previous two trips, I enjoyed playing with the five and six-year-old pequeños almost exclusively. I was able to use my very limited Spanish as an excuse for how much I didn’t want to interact with older pequeños and potentially embarrass myself in front of people who were my age. I told myself, and others, I shouldn’t even try and that way I didn’t have to do anything that made me uncomfortable. This time, I had no such excuse, and I’ve learned that was for the better.
On the first night, there was a dance night held in a play shelter by the workshops, which are known as talleres. A couple of guys dragged down the speakers and played music from what they set up on the small corner stage. At San Cristobal – the visitor’s house – Amber and I were debating whether to go dance or to rest for the night, and decided we had to at least see what it was about because we could always leave early.
As I gathered with the group at the airport on Friday night to drop Molly off I thought how much I would like to go with them. It felt familiar: this excitement, sense of adventure, curiosity, camaraderie. Twice before, I traveled to Honduras on trips like with this one, and with folks from this current group. We have a shared appreciation of what it’s like and I wanted to be part of it again.
On Saturday, I checked in with a couple of other previous travelers and we planned an after-worship meal for the next day at St Andrew. It helped to think about cooking some food that I knew the group in Honduras would be eating – black beans, rice and that beautifully salty cotija cheese. We planned to host a conversation over this meal on Sunday around why this trip to Honduras has become so important to St Andrew, what others might be wondering about it, and whether there are any specific questions for the current travelers.
On the other side of our time together on Sunday I am equally glad I get to experience being with the community that waits at home offering support and love to the travelers and to the home they are visiting
Day two, and……WOW! How interesting and what an experience already. Several other visitors here with us from Washington as well, and Donna, Ross, Glory & Anna are awesome leaders.
Yesterday I played basketball, football and soccer with the kids at what I’ll call the “court yard.” Wore me out until I chilled by just stopping to take photos and simply look around some more and take in all that happiness 😊. I chose to visit the elderly today. Enlightening. Helped make a hammock and fixed Pedro’s phone charging cord. Pedro has muscular dystrophy and is in a wheel chair. He wants me to come back soon to wheel him around outside, to which I said I would!
Gotta run……in the middle of a meeting! So long 4 now!
Hola from Honduras!
We had a very interesting day. Met several University students who came to Honduras as babies or small children. Their experiences are so inspiring and wonderful to know how far they have come in their studies. Their excitement about life and the future is genuine.
Many are studying biology, psychology, social work, and teaching.
I have bug bites and I stepped in a cow pie. Tomorrow I will work in the garden with my grandson. He will be my translator.
This is a warm wonderful place. The children are blessed to be here and I am blessed to be a visitor and experience all this has to offer.
Pictures by Marie West-Johnson
A quiet, gentle flight allowed for a few hours of sleep—at least for some of us—while the horizon burned orange and red out of the plane’s eastern windows. We awoke as the plane stepped us down out of the clouds and Houston, already awake, sprawled out almost endlessly beneath us. A morning walk from E16 to C30 took us past one gate after another with their announcements of “adventure” and “home” and who knows what: Las Vegas, Mexico City, Chicago, Tegucigalpa.
There is something about travel that reminds one of how big and rich the world is.
We pass a Latino family waiting to go somewhere. I am heartened by the reminder that they could be from anywhere. They could be going anywhere. Their toddler has discovered what I have, in his own way. Standing on two legs leads quickly to running on them and seeing how far he can go, and how quickly. Mom and dad are an admirable and joyful tag-team, letting him run, reining him in. Rinse, and repeat.
A big world, full of possibility.
But we know this, or at least we have known in the past. Contemporary pressures seem to try to squeeze us back into some kind of tribal identity, but this trip is a reminder of the family that we all are. Of the sprawling world, full of possibility and connection and adventure that we share.
I think I’m sticking with the first idiom as we ready ourselves for our trip to NPH Honduras, although the variety of sentiment does raise some questions that have me engaged this, my third time around. More on that in a later blog.
NPH, or Nuestro Pequeños Hermanos (literally, “our little brothers and sisters”) is an ecumenical Catholic ministry that provides homes, health, and education for at risk children, youth, and adults in Latin America and the Caribbean. You can read much more about this remarkable non-profit on the website linked above. While you’re at it, you can read about our previous trips on the St. Andrew website where we posted about our experiences from 2012 and 2015.