This coming Friday, ( July 18th) it will be one year that we moved to Honduras. One year ago that we stepped off the plane with our lives packed into 15 hockey bags knowing that there was no turning back.
Since that moment one year ago, much has happened. Much has changed. Life has been a bit of an adventure with its ups and downs which I have been blogging about since the beginning of our journey. This past year has been the most challenging year ever. We have been stretched beyond what we ever imagined. It hasn’t always been easy. There have been struggles. Laughter and joy. Frustrations and tears.
Our first year is complete. Forever changed! We made it! Onward to year two!
Here are just a few of the highlights ( or not) of the past year.
1. House hunting
2. The kids starting and completing their first year in an International school
3. Christmas eve sleeping outside on our balcony under the stars, watching the amazing display of Fireworks
4.Trip to Panama for the retreat with other missionaries who work in Latin America and Brazil
5. The woman’s retreat
6. Working in the schools…teaching the gospel to all the amazing kids. We added a new school to the program, ( Jose Cecilio), and also added kínder….and it goes without saying the FUN days we just completed. The feeding program.
7. Learning a new language
8. Our house was broken into….while my family visited from Canada. Dislike
9. Adding a new addition to our family…(Our puppy Reuben)
10. Interns Taylor,Kathy and now Breanne….and all the teams that have come and gone.
There are a few things that when we first arrived took some getting used to, but now these are things that I no longer think twice about.
1. Not flushing toilet paper down the toilet
2.Not drinking water from the tap
3. Going to the grocery store thinking you are going to pick something up but discovering it is no longer there. It mysteriously has disappeared and most likely will not reappear for quite some time.
4.The process in which we wash our produce before we can eat it. Two words for this….time consuming.
5. Guns everywhere….Freaked me out at first but now is the norm and actually makes me feel a little safer. You will see them outside gas stations, grocery stores, malls, Baskin Robbins ( ect). In the commmunity I live across from there are often up to twenty armed police lined up on either side of the street infront of a certain house. A year ago I would have been afraid to walk past them….now I do so freely and you know, they are actually very friendly and nice.
6. Driving with our windows up at traffic lights. ( Almost unbearable with no a/c)
7. People selling street food and other ítems at the traffic lights. Mangos ,nances, plantian chips…and our favorite…candied peanuts! Other items would include back scratchers, cell phone covers and chargers, Honduras flags.
8. BIG bugs. Giant cockroaches….
9. Geckos in my house. …so cute.
10. People who whistle at you to get your attention.
Below are some things about life here on Honduras that I honeslty don’t think I will ever get used to. These are things I struggle with accepting. Life IS hard here. There are things that I see everyday that kill me…they break my heart and make me want to weep each time I see them. These same things also make me angry. Why angry? Because they ought not to be so. I see a lot of injustice, a lot of things that are simply not fair….They are sad things. Things that I can’t change, can’t help with or make things “right”
1. CHILDREN begging on the street corners. There is one girl in particular that I am thinking of. She stands on the same corner day in and day out, barefoot, her long hair unkempt. I don’t know how old she is…perhaps 6 or 7. Alone. It is totally possible there is a parent near by, but he or she is no where to be seen .
In my perfect “sheltered” world, she should be in school, having fun with friends… not spending her hours and days on a busy street, begging.
2. PEOPLE standing in dumpsters sorting through the rubbage for something to eat or sell.
There is an area on the way up to the schools that is the dump for that commumity. There sits a dumpster and it is full and surrounded by refuse. Recently on the way up to the schools, I have noticed something new…..a makeshift shelter or house or some sort made of sticks and tarps sitting beside the dumpster. Someone has made their home there. It is something hard to fathom, hard to wrap my mind around….who would want to live among the garbage, among the rotting stentch?
My heart broke a new the other day… Standing in the dumpster I saw a young boy that I know. We teach him bible classes in his school. He knows who we are, recognizes our vehicle and he waved as we passed by. I know his name….and the tears silently fell.
3. THE ELDERLY who beg on the streets. There is very old and frail lady who sits in a wheel chair not far from one of the grocery stores day after day. She is always there with a younger woman, presumably her daughter. It’s pathetic and I want to scream when I see this. I want to scream that it isn’t right. This poor old woman should not be used in this way…as a means to make money, as a means to make a living or glean pity from people who pass by.
4. BABIES. There are woman on the streets here who carry sleeping babies in their arms, and approach people who are in their cars, looking for money. I have heard that these babies are drugged so they will be lethargic and sleep. I have also heard that more often than not, the babies are not even their own, but woman will take turns holding the baby and asking for money with the baby in their arms.
Being the animal lover that I am , it is upsetting to see so many dogs literally everywhere. Dogs without a home or if they have a home, thier owners cannot afford to feed them. So skinny you can see every bone in their bodies. Emaciated with open sores. Fear in their eyes when you look at them.
6.CHILDREN filling the pot holes on the road to make a little money. Again, this breaks my heart because they should be in school…not working. And where are the parents? Do they send them off to work on their own? Are they not afraid of them being kidnapped?
7. ONE ARMED men who also beg on the busy streets for money.
8. LIVING CONDITIONS in which many live. The area near Danli comes to mind. I think of the homes with no electricity or running water, with their unlit stoves in the kitchen…..meaning there will be no food that day.
These things are achingly sad, and the harsh reality is there is really nothing that I can do to change them or make a difference . In most cases the people are begging for a living…not actually trying to get a job and earn a living that way..
All of these people… the children, the elderly, the one armed men, the women carrying drugged babies; they all have a story. They all have a name. He knows their name! All of them are precious in God’s eyes and of great value to Him. To God, they are not invisible. He is the God who sees. And yet so often we drive by with our tinted windows closed, pretending they are not there. While inside I am crying.
He will rescue the poor when they cry to Him,; He will help the oppressed, who have no one to defend them. He feels pity for the weak and the needy and He will rescue them. He will redeem them from oppression and violence, for their lives are precious to Him.