Thursday, June 16, 2011

First Honduras team

Two weeks ago I led my first team to Proniño. And I'm happy to say that it went very well! Thank you to Paula, Randy, Gwen, Katy and Brad for being my guinea pigs. =) I was so impressed and encouraged to see how much the team threw themselves into the work and threw themselves into getting to know the boys. And I'm grateful for the patience shown when we repeatedly heard "The plans have changed..." and "You can get started in just a minute..."

Top 5 moments of the trip for me (in random order):

1. When Jose Luis told Paula to close her eyes and open her mouth, and she actually did it. It ended up being a stick of gum, but it seriously could have been anything...
Jose Luis

2. When Milton whispered to me that he would like to marry Gwen. I blogged a while ago about how your presence, even for a week, really makes an impact on the kids. Case in point.
Milton and Paula

3. Sharing a gigantic meal with various types of meat with the team then finding out that that circular meat with the weird texture that made me gag a little is in fact huevos de toro. I'll let you google that.

4. Seeing how happy the boys were when they each received a stuffed animal donated by my mother-in-law's friend, Alejandra's, children. (That was a mouthful.) Who knew 15 year old boys would like a stuffed animal so much??

Rodolfo and his new friend

5. The moment when we finally received a mini-jackhammer and no longer had to pick ax through the foot and a half of cement we needed to remove. I can still feel the relief wash over me.

Happy Randy

Happy Gwen

And one of my favorite pictures of the week from Nueva Esperanza...

Click here to watch a slideshow of the kids and our work!

I'm hoping that after you watch this you'll be filled with an overwhelming desire to experience this yourself. Never fear! There are 3 more opportunities for you to come!

(This is coming up very, very soon but I thought I'd put it out there anyway...)
July 9-16 (Nueva Esperanza - $550 + the cost of airfare)
July 16-23 (Proniño - $650 + the cost of airfare)

September 10-17 (Nueva Esperanza - $550 + the cost of airfare)

November 5-13 (Proniño - $650 + the cost of airfare)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I love it when 'accidents' happen

I got back from Honduras on Monday and as usual, I have so much to say! I had an incredible team with me working in Proniño and had an incredible day with one of the boys and his family, but I decided to blog about the shortest story first. (I also really need to go to the store. Sean went once in the 15 days I was gone and bought milk, yogurt, buns and orange juice. Our situation is desperate.) But anyway...

There's this kid named Kenneth who I know from Nueva Esperanza. He escaped in October and after worrying about him for a few weeks, my friend Yann happened to bump into on a bus and we've been able to keep in touch ever since. He has a fairly random situation in that he's living with a family that took him in without knowing him at all and he works with the father in the house, driving a little horse and buggy type thing around gathering scraps of metal that they later sell. It's not ideal. He's 13 and in the 2nd grade and not currently going to school. And when he gets sick he's too embarrassed to tell them about it or impose on them by asking for help. But he's not living on the street and he's not using drugs. And it's kind of sad that from other situations I've seen kids in, that means he's doing pretty darn good. But every time I go back, I call the guy he's living with and arrange a time for me to pick Kenneth up for lunch.
Our most recent lunch outing.

This trip was no different and on my first Thursday in Honduras we had plans for lunch at Pizza Hut. We ate and chatted. But for some reason that day, I was really, really tired. And it's hard to understand another language when you're tired. And he doesn't exactly enunciate, which just added to my difficulties. I got to the point where I was just nodding and pretending to understand, telling myself I only had to do it for another 20 minutes or so and then I could take him back home. Out of the blue he suggested that we go to downtown San Pedro and hang out at the square. Now, I had been counting down the minutes for a while and I'm really good at not doing something that I don't want to do, but I sternly told myself that I only get to see him once every 2 months and if the kid wants to hang out at the park, then that's the least I can do for him. So I agreed.

And man am I thankful I did. About 2 blocks from the park I noticed a kid walking down the street with a familiar gait. I did a double take and realized it was Victor. Victor is a kid who has lived in Proniño (40 minutes away by car) for about 4 years. I hadn't been in Proniño for a few days so I had no idea he had run away. I swung my car into a parking spot and quickly got out. I said his name, told him I had no idea he had run away and immediately sat down on the curb to let him know I wasn't planning on physically grabbing him and forcing him back to Proniño. I asked him some questions about why he left, when he left, where he's been and if he's hungry. Yes. So we headed to Pollo Campero. I called Kevin to try to get more info on why he ran and he asked me to pass the phone to Victor. Kevin asked when he was coming back to the foundation (Never). Kevin asked again and he said "I'll probably come back with Jenny." Phew.

Kenneth and Victor on my way back to Progreso

But the thing that gets me and what I just can't shake is how random and coincidental this was. I really, really didn't want to go downtown. But if I hadn't gone, Victor would probably still be on the street. Makes me shiver to think about. Victor is NOT a street smart kid. I'm so, so thankful I stumbled upon him.

A week after he ran away, Victor's back in the foundation and returning to school.

In the 3 trips I've taken to Honduras this year I've 'stumbled upon' 3 kids. I don't know. Maybe it's because it's a 'small' country. Maybe it's because there are so many out there on the street that I'm bound to find a few. But it feels like more than that. I'm so thankful Victor's safe. And I'm so thankful that I'm able to be used in this way.