To express in writing how much my first trip to Honduras has meant to me is nearly impossible… but I am willing to try. While in Honduras I was with a mission team that ran a day camp for Special needs children in the area. I learned a lot of things while I was in Honduras and all of them turned out to be life lessons.
The first lesson I learned is that ‘the essentials’, the things I thought I couldn’t live without, were actually unimportant in the scheme of things. Before I left the states I thought I needed all kinds of things to be comfortable every day. I thought I needed air conditioning when it’s hot out, a hot shower after a long day and a power strip for my various electronic accessories. Turns out I discovered that ‘the essentials’ are good people, a place to rest my head and a bar of soap (deodorant too maybe). The children and house parents at the Children’s home are so happy. Their happiness with simplicity was infectious and by the end of the week I was disappointed to go back to the world of surplus.
The second lesson I learned is that laughter does not have language barriers. Laughing with people is a great way to break down any barriers there are. Working with the special needs children could be taxing at times but the BEST parts were the moments when their faces would light up and they would laugh at something they had discovered. It was great to hear the genuine laughter coming from the playground and see the smiles. We might not have been able to understand one another, but there was no misinterpretation in the smiles and laughter. Laughter is also a great way to get to know the children at the home as well. It was fun to spend some of the afternoon time coloring or swinging in a hammock and giggling together.
The third lesson I learned is that God is great, all the time. The moments that seemed impossible, like when the power was out and it was sooooo hot. Or when the craft I had planned was too difficult and the kids were aggravated with it and consequently so was I, or when I was smelly and sweaty and felt gross. These were the moments that turned out to be the best. When the power was out the mission team ended up singing camp songs by candle light, when the craft wasn’t working we did beading which turned out to be one of the special needs kids’ favorite things! The times I felt gross and smelly were the times I would suddenly be surrounded by kids that did not notice or care and would give me hugs.
Working with the special needs children was, and is, something that I am very passionate about. The kids in Honduras were so incredibly inspiring. They did not have the resources that we have in the United States, but they worked incredibly hard and were an encouragement.