We are boarding our flight to Milwaukee pretty soon and are excited to be coming home tonight.
For an update on today…
Today was our last day in Honduras, and it was a great ending to a trip such as this. Today we went to the botanical gardens and to the beach with some of the OYE scholars. We got some awesome nature pics, and some of us should have put more sunblock on this week.. We ended the day with a dinner amongst friends.
It’s going to be an adjustment to not wake up to car horns, truck exhausts, and reggaeton. But as I reflect on the ASB Honduras trip, I know it’s time to return home. We must now share what impact we had on Honduras, what impact we had on our group, and the impact made and what will be made at home.
The impact we made on Honduras really starts with the El Progreso community and youth. Yes, we painted an amazing (and large) mural on the outside of a local school, but it’s so much more than appearance. This school is expressing compassion for all youth and their need for a quality education. It’s giving the students something to look forward to as they walk in their schools front gate. It shows the students that their voice matters, and gives them the ability to use their voice to create change in their community and their country.
The mural and the work we did with OYE allowed our ASB group to bond as well. We were shown a reality different from our own, and discussed the need for education of youth and how that need impacts a society. The presentations taught each of us something powerful that we will take back home with us, and we were asked to reflect on issues or questions we never really thought about prior to this trip. The smell of paint thinner will forever take us back to that school in Honduras, and the next time we pick up a paintbrush, we will be taken back to our experience here.
Our letters from home and the comments left on the blog has shown me the impact we have back in the US. This is just the beginning of how our experience will be shared back home. Their are many parallels that can be drawn of the issues facing Hondurans, to the issues that Americans are experiencing today. I am excited to share our experience with the Oshkosh community and UWO through our re orientation project.
This was an amazing trip, and I could not have predicted the lasting friendships that were made with the Honduran OYE scholars, or with my fellow ASB participants. We learned some pretty heavy life lessons, and even some Spanish. Overall, I learned the power of people. It starts with one voice- one story to create a movement.
Hasta luego, Honduras.
Technically it’s Saturday morning as I’m typing this up since we’ve been running around the city all day. My day started off with a morning run with Chase to the Williams borough bridge. He agreed to come only if we could make a stop to the donut shop : ) he got a vanilla bean donut.
For our last day of service, we all volunteered at God’s Love We Deliver. We broke into two groups and delivered food on foot. Our first delivery was my favorite client because she got really excited when she saw all five of us delivering her meal. The client’s face lit up as she thanked all multiple times for bringing her food. I loved doing deliveries because you’re delivering food to someone who might not have had a meal otherwise. Though the conversations were due to time, in many cases, we were the only people that the client might have seen for that whole day, which was heartbreaking. Everyone was super grateful as we delivered and we got to see a real Pablo Picasso piece and Sandra Bullocks house!
The rest of the afternoon was spent riding the Staten Island Ferry to see lady liberty and walking around the city. Most of us ventured to FAO Schwarz, a famous toy store where all of our inner children were unleashed. Nicole, Tiffany and Ashley danced on the piano and we hugged and pet all the stuff animals before we ventured off to the Metropolitan museum. The Met was definitely my favorite part of the afternoon.
It’s hard to believe that it is Saturday already. We all agreed the beginning of the week dragged on but the rest raced by in a flash. While we’re looking forward to the luxury of our own beds, were not ready to return to school or the cold.
I wish I could elaborate more on our last day but its 2 a.m. And I have yet to pack my suitcase!
Tonight is our last night in Washington D.C. and tomorrow we will be back in Oshkosh. So much has happened in the last week since our arrival and we have been forever impacted by what we experienced while volunteering. In addition, we have all formed so many new friendships that I hope last a lifetime. Each and every one of us has been touched by the men we have met and the staff at the Father McKenna Center. They generously shared their stories with us and took the time to get to know us as well. Their encouraging words have made us want to continue our volunteer work and hopefully we can use what we learned here to better our own community. Today it was hard saying goodbye to the people we met and many of us had tears in our eyes. I know without a doubt that we have made a difference here and are much wealthier because of our experience. It is my hope that we are able to inspire others to volunteer, continue our own volunteering work in our community and never forget about those in need. Today we have realized that the most important thing is to let people know they are not invisible, that someone cares about them and that a simple “Hello, how are you?” can change someones day.
Until next time,
P.S We would also like to give a big thanks to all the moms and dads that have been faithfully following our blog, also to everyone else who had been reading about our trip, and all the people that sent us letters of encouragement. Your support means a lot.
Here are some pictures from today.
Today we had a great free day at the Jardin Botanico Lancetilla and the beautiful beaches of Tela.
It was another great day, but I want to focus on this week instead. As I was gearing up to go on this trip, I was a little nervous. I have been abroad before and I think that it is normal to feel that. Less than 24 hours after we landed in Honduras, that feeling went away and was replaced by the excitement I had been feeling since I was accepted to be a part of this team.
I don’t want to repeat what has been better-said by my other teammates, except to say that this week has been amazing. Our work and our interactions have been spectacular. This team came together to paint a mural, with the help and leadership of the OYE staff and scholars. I can’t say for sure about others on the trip, but my major requires NO art component. Yet we still got it done. And it looked great. I’m so proud of it and the contribution we made for it. I’m just as proud of our work this week, as I am to be graduating in a short seven weeks from the wonderful university that gave me the opportunity to be a part of this.
Did we solve every single problem that is facing Honduras? Of course not. But through our interactions, our work, and, most importantly, our experiences, we leave Honduras tomorrow morning knowing that it’s better than when we first arrived. Through our tireless effort and our willingness to spend our break doing something worthwhile, we get to carry and share our experience with others, that we may inspire others to do the same.
From our interactions with the fantastic kids and teachers at the school, who were so eager to meet and talk with us, to our meaningful relationships with the great OYE scholars and staff, to the awesome food and music, and the heat, OH THE HEAT…these are the memories we keep. To add to that, today we got to share our host country’s drama of World Cup qualifying with their fierce Mexican rivals. What are the chances of us being here when something so awesome is talking place? To see the Hondurans cheer when they tied the game up and played to the draw was sublime. We may not have been able to be at the game, but we got to be apart of it all, even if it was just for a day. Even if the lingering thought of our departure started to become ever present.
But we’re not done, Honduras. We never can be. We’ve all been changed by your wonderful country and the people we met along the way. This has been a life-changing experience.
In my wildest dreams I can see Honduras playing the US in a knock-out round of next summer’s World Cup and while I wait to see that, I can continue seeking out new service opportunities and take the small steps forward that make this world better.
Best wishes to everyone who followed our blog this week. We hope that you have been able to appreciate everything we did. We look forward to seeing all of you upon our return.