Sorry for the delay in writing about our adventure. With family in town, washing clothes of bedbugs, catching up with family, Christmas preparations, everyday obligations etc… Its my first opportunity to carve out a chunk of time and tell you all of what we experienced while visiting.
First, I need to thank all of you who donated items and money to Heart4Honduras for missions on this trip. I posted the items on Facebook prior to leaving, but I want to list them again because it was truly impressive how much we were blessed to bring with us!
96 pairs of socks
28 bars of soap
12 men’s dress shirts
sneakers, boxers, pants, shirts & treats
We raised $375 and were able to bring an extra suitcase with us, purchase adult diapers & Ensure for the special needs at Senderos, purchase food and bottled waters for the homes, sponsored a soccer game between Senderos and CREA orphanages and held a pizza party for all.
I wish I could express to you all how absolutely grateful they all were for every bit of what we all gave. They were so appreciative. And, so I say Thank you, Thank you for showering 70+ Hondurans with blessings. Muchas Gracias from
Senderos de Amor and CREA Hogar.
We also visited a community of people who were displaced after Hurricane Mitch in 1998. The Red Cross and the government of Honduras moved these families into the hills and built them homes about 30 miles from their original village. Unfortunately, they are situated so remote, it makes it difficult for this community to find work, so their struggles continue. It was a long drive up a very bumpy road resulting in a flat tire on one car and bottomed out in our rental leaving a very large dent on its underside. We were there with Ernesto’s father, a medical doctor, and his wife who volunteer their time with Compassion International. They annually give physicals to the children, monitor their growth and treat many common illnesses such as bronchitis, parasites, dysentery and anemia. Any ongoing issues are noted and they follow-up with those cases regularly. Hannah was able to observe, plot growth charts and help wherever needed. All were very welcoming, gave us gifts: a hand-painted bottle, bracelets with our names on them. One thing that made a lasting impression was meeting a local artist whose drawing skills were better than I’ve seen in my career as an artist. He was proud to show us his other creations: he makes furniture out of recycled materials as well. For example, he made a chair out of plastic liter soda bottles! Quite impressive and comfortable… As poor as the community is, they are grateful for what they have and are not afraid to share with others. We spent two days with there, played soccer with the kids, had some laughs, worshipped our Lord singing and playing music and enjoyed the fresh mountain air.
Saturday, Hannah had a full day shadowing medical doctors in two different hospitals. She was able to see cancer patients, a man with a severely infected liver and ended her day delivering a baby! Many thanks to Ernesto’s brother Juan for this opportunity: a dream come true for Hannah. Meanwhile, Ernesto, Alex and I searched for houses to rent for our plan to open a transition home for boys. There was a lot of driving around, stopping at security entrances and peaking through windows, but all in all it was a good start to knowing what is available and what to realistically expect for rent expenses. Buy or Rent? At the moment, renting is the best option. A 6 bedroom house, 3 bathrooms, laundry, with security situated within walking distance the University costs about $750/mo. Onward to find funding!
Our final full day was Election Day, so we took a couple boys with us, Ivan from Senderos and Alex from CREA, and left the city. We took a boat to a remote island off the coast of Tela about an hour and half outside of San Pedro Sula. The scene was as if we stepped onto a movie set. We took a hike through the woods, learned that a handful of termites rubbed onto your skin can act as a natural bug repellant. According to Ernesto it works and according to Alex, they taste minty. Hannah was not a fan of our walk through the jungle because it was muddy and buggy, but she made it through with the howler monkeys keeping us company. We took a boat back out around the island, swam through a cave, listened to a history lesson by our guide about how the island was used for practicing bombing by the U.S. during the Honduran/Nicaraguan conflict. We had the best meal of the trip on that island with fresh fried fish, rice and beans and fried plantains. Ivan didn’t know how to swim but was brave enough to go out and snorkel among the coral reef with me. The rain was rolling in, so we had to return. It was a rough ride back but so super fun… Coffee and treats at the local convenient store kept us awake for the long drive back to the city. And although it was such a big day for this country, the streets were unusually quiet. We ordered in, packed up, watched Miss Universe, and waited for the results until midnight. They never came.
It was a rough last night. At 2 in the morning, Hannah woke up being bitten by bedbugs. She came to my bed and eventually fell asleep. At 4am, Ernesto’s alarm on his tablet went off. I waited a good 5 minutes hoping someone would get up and shut it off, but no luck, so I did. No sooner was I back to sleep than Ernesto began speaking in his outside voice to the boys at 5am, good morning!!… I couldn’t help but growl, “be quiet.” You’re being too loud.” I’m not sure if I went back to sleep. I don’t think I did so by 6am, I was up to travel for the day.
The atmosphere and streets continued to be eerily quite. We returned Ivan, said our last farewells to our boys at Senderos, then went to CREA to retrieve our suitcases, said good bye to our CREA boys and leaders Yony and Bonilla, then had our last hurrah at Cinnabon with coffee. We got to airport returned the rental car, got our bags checked, and then, it was time to go through security and say our good byes to the one who keeps me going back: Alex. Every time I have leave that kid, my heart sinks….
The days following our trip were filled with turmoil and strife for Honduras and as I write here in the states 13 days later, they have yet to declare a winner in the presidency. Continued prayers needed for this country. My hope is that someday, it will see a new tomorrow.
As we look into 2018, we’ll be focusing our efforts on opening a transition home for orphaned adolescents. At 18, many youth living in residential homes are released to their own fate without much preparation with little or no family. With Honduras’ high crime and unemployment, these teens can often find themselves without a job, homeless or lured into a gang continuing the destructive cycle. Our home would help to bridge the gap. With a safe place to live, they can continue their education, obtain a part-time job, learn necessary life-skills, enhance their faith journey, and participate in serving their community.
Please consider partnering with us on this venture. With a monthly donation of $50 and we’ll send you a free bag of fresh Honduran coffee. However, any and all financial help is need and are welcome. It’s a big dream, but its something I’ve been called to and with your help we can make this happen. Thanks for all that you do to provide a little hope that can make a world of difference.