Saturday, 14 May 2016

Since we have been back...

It has been several weeks since we arrived home from our week in Honduras.  We miss so much about the place - the sounds of the city just on the other side of the campus wall, living and working together, and the laughter and play and hugs of the children.  This trip affirms that what we give in time and prayer, efforts and support is repaid many times over.  We have witnessed and seen the devastation of poverty and because of this place, have seen the lives of children transformed out of that poverty.  Indeed, we have witnessed the hand of God at work here.

  We are well protected on this campus and life changes as we go through the big gates onto the world "outside".


In spite of being the dry season waiting for the rains to start soon to refresh the land, we drove through interesting aspects of the area. Like through the parts of Tegucigalpa (of over a million people) where the city sprawls up onto the hills around.
The countryside can be breathtaking and the area up to Santa Lucia where the teenage girls live is particularly so!

The view from the girl's residence. 

There is nothing like viewing a papaya grove as we see at the Agricultural School.  

It was amazing to be part of such a giving team and we enjoyed our evenings of sharing and devotions and preparing the next days crafts.  
As well as sharing meals together - dying for a little breeze through those open windows.

We had a number of handmade dolls lovingly made by a group of ladies in Burlington that we left with Erika who would make sure that they would be distributed - perhaps as companions for homesick girls or as a reward for hard work or with the teachers.  This would be left up to the staff as to how they would be used.  We also left the 'finger puppets' made by another group of ladies.  The kids loved them and we used them in our 'one-on-one' times with the children, but also left them with Erika to give to the teachers to use as teaching aids or any way that would work for them.

It is a blessing to witness the encounters of our team with their sponsored children.  Jorge, the first child we sponsored at St Luke's is now in his last year at the agricultural school.  Rony is at the technical school and Nelsin, his sister, is at the girl's campus at Santa Lucia.  And as well, there are those  relationships of team members with their children -transformative relationships for both sponsor and child. It is important for a child to have a special person or family in their life who is specifically “theirs” reminding them that they are important and loved. This is more significant than we can imagine for a child who has no one else in their lives to provide that.

The boys at the agricultural school share some game time with their fellow students in a game of "Connect 4".
Taking a little break in the middle of the soccer game between the Technical school and the Agricultural school. 

The younger children who had come to watch the game, enjoyed their own half-time activity. 

The memories of each day embedded in our hearts and prayers for ever.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Our Last Day

 Departure Day.   It is combined with a mixture of rushing to get packed and the Volunteer house cleaned up as well as saying our goodbyes and having a debriefing session with Matt Engleby. 

The children were scheduled to go to Villa Olimpia again today to participate in many sports.  Not only do they love this opportunity, but the sports give them new opportunities and self confidence.

But before they go, it is time to brush their teeth.

There are plenty of photo opportunities, for the children love to have their picture taken.
It was finally time to pile into the bus and the overflow went into the smaller van which we use during the week.  Just when we had finished counting 21 children who climbed into the van, two more big boys from the Technical Institute, who would help out, got in as well!

 The campus was now empty and so it gave us a chance to chat with Matt the Director - our impressions and comments.  It was affirmation that as changes are being made over the years, that this place is an amazing ministry to the poorest of the poor in Honduras.   The images of this visit this week will leave imprints on our minds forever.  The poverty in Honduras we saw this week is raw and stark and present everywhere.  We witnessed that in the home visits we made, seeing a sample of the situations that the children come from.  Yet in our travels we see that Honduras is a beautiful country with Tegucigalpa especially in a beautiful mountainous setting.  We witnessed God's love everywhere - in the love that the inspiring directors and teachers give to these kids to give them a loving, safe home and education.  And hope for their county.  We witnessed the love that the children give to us and of the team that we became, all the parts of us moving together as one to give as much as we could in the 7 days we were here.  This week in our meditations we discussed how we are a people of privilege and how we can use that privilege to make sure it never blinds us from what needs to be done in this world.

And we laughed and we enjoyed each other and many moments in this environment- living a simple life in the heat and the dust of the dry season, rejoicing in the torrential tropical rainstorm when it came.

We couldn't have manged anything this week, without out the support staff.  Jefferson who now works at El Hogar was a student here and at the Technical School.  He is always around and joyfully does any job where he is needed.  He is very experienced at tying down luggage on the top of the van.  And the work of the cooks who have to feed 140 people each meal.  And what about the evening teachers who keep the kids occupied in all sorts of activities and get them all into bed at night. To watch how well this place is run is inspiring. 

 Our driver was Gustavo and we enjoyed his humour and his smile and keeping us safe on the roads all week.

Erika who is full time on staff as the team host and coordinator of the mission teams, coordinated so much for us, answering our questions and helping us have a full and fulfilling week.

Our suitcases seem a little lighter on the way home, but they still need to be loaded on top of the van.

Winds were not favourable to take off on the one runway (with a mountain at the end of it), so some passengers had to be unloaded as well as fuel.  We therefore had to stop over in the northern part of Honduras at San Pedro Sula to refuel the plane.  Not so bad as it gave us a chance to see another part of Honduras - the flat plains where many of the crops are grown.  Pineapple fields and palm trees for palm oil.  Banana groves and corn fields.  

It got a little busy and harried in the Atlanta airport as we tried to move through to get our connecting flight going through the lineups of immigration and security with the thousands and thousands of others who seemed to arrive at the same time due to the storm outside.  But we arrived home after midnight exhausted and our lives touched by experiences that have changed us forever.

Stay tuned when we will add more pictures of the children.  We all love pictures of the children and they love having them taken!