There are so many emotions that I feel having just returned from Honduras. This trip was absolutely amazing. As we drove through Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras, we saw so much poverty every where we looked. Children walking by their selves on the streets, shacks on top of shacks, trash all over, it was just a sad situation unlike anything I had ever seen. We drove for about 45 minutes to the orphanage where we would be serving and this is what we saw. A true oasis in the middle of poverty.
The Good Shephard Childrens Home is ran by Baptist Medical and Dental Mission International. It is located on this beautiful farm away from the city. This is one of over 50 orphanages that "Rice Bowls" supports. Below is how the orphanage is set up. There are 10 casitas with about 10-12 kids in each of them. Each casita has a 2 "Tia's" who serve as the casita mom . As you can see from the picture below the casitas are arranged in a circle and a play center is in the middle. So often times everybody is just outside playing together. It was so fun to play with the kids and see how creative they were with simply making up games with rocks and being content to just sit and swing. It was a refreshing pace of life.
Sweet Christian worked all day on this friendship bracelet. He tied it to his leg and worked on it everywhere he went. When we got ready to leave he gave TR and I both one. His sweet face stays in my mind when I think that we must do more.
On the farm were tons of crops and animals.
The children were responsible for washing their own clothes. They learned to do it the traditional way because most people don't have washing machines. Washing machines are such a luxury that we just often times take for granted. Not anymore.
In the mornings the children run down to where the cows are being milked and get their milk jugs filled. They take them back to their Tia's who then boil it and add sugar and cinammon. They prepared some for us to try. I never thought I would drink milk that I saw come out of the cow.. but I did and it was amazing!
Their is a school on the property that the kids just wake up and walk to in the morning. It was such a fun sight to see them so excited in the mornings as they ran by headed to school.
We only got in a car one day to go into the city. The rest of the time was spend on the farm with the children. Even though we were very busy it still felt peaceful. I am searching for ways to add that tranquility and simplicity into my own life here in the States. I thought I was going to one of the most dangerous places in the world ( that's what the US travel website says) but instead I felt completely at peace. This orphanage truly has God's hand on it.
P'zazz Art Camps in Honduras!
First of all , it was such a joy to see the banners that our P'zazz students made hanging in each of the casitas! They added color and displayed the message of Love. What a joy to be able to do art with children who don't get the luxury of doing art anytime they want to. Teaching art in a different language had it's challenges and I learned a lot. I am so thankful for my wonderful translator Lilian. At the end of the week when I looked to see what the kids created I was so proud of them!
Even the older boys wanted to come make art! I expected them to ditch art for the sports camp so it made me so happy that they were able to do both!
We walked into one of the casitas the day after art camp and the canvases were already hung! The Tia told us that usually when they make crafts they just put it in a drawer or throw it away because they aren't really proud of it. But they were so proud of this art that they wanted to immediately hang it. Now that makes an art teachers heart feel good!
And check out these tiles! The orphanage had lots of roof tiles so we sanded them down and let the older girls paint on them. They turned out fabulous!! They are going to sell these to groups who visit the orphanage to help make money for the orphanage. Plus a portion will be saved for the girls as well! How cool that one art project can lead to generating funds for both the home and the girls! Love that!
And look, the boys had their art proudly displayed as well!
The children often want to give you a gift when you leave, however, they don't have much to give. Kevin gave TR his art piece as a going away gift. You better believe this will be proudly displayed at P'zazz!
Visiting the kids school was a real treat. They have recently started a bilingual program where the kids are learning English and being taught by English teachers. Currently they have 5 volunteer missionary teachers form the US who are teaching. (If you know of anybody who wants to have this awesome experience they are looking for teachers for next year. Your food and housing is provided for. I would have loved this when I was fresh out of college. So pass the word along)
We were able to visit them on club day when they were sharing everything they had learned at their Friday club.
We listened the choir club sing in English.
Checked out the Chess team.
And of course we visited the Art Club ( Club de art).
Check out the cool project the recycling club made!
The students are reading the same story in English and Spanish. The school is also looking for other schools to connect with in the states to have a cultural exchange type program where the kids teach each other about their culture and learn from each other. If any teachers out there want to look into that here is a link to the school.
Nothing could have prepared me for this. I knew where we were going and I had even seen pictures. But as we drove up the mountain of trash and the smell set in ( we rubbed vicks vapor rub under our nose to help with the smell) and then the sight of the vultures overhead just swarming. I felt like they were going to dive down on us at any second. The amount of people living and working amongst the animals who were also scrounging for food. It was unlike anything I have ever seen.
We were going with another missionary who has a ministry and goes into the dump once a week to give them a meal of rice and beans and clean water. I honestly expected the people to pounce on the truck like animals trying to get the food. The exact opposite happened. As we drove into the dump the truck was recognized by a few kids. They jumped on it as we rode up the hill.
When we got there, some of us hopped in the back of the truck to begin dispersing food and others passed out water. To my surprise a line started forming. A line? I thought we were going to be attacked. But these people were really kind and patient. They waited in line for food. They said thank you. Two young kids even hopped in the truck to help me as I was seperating bowls. They didn't help and also try to get food first.. they just simply helped me. This all took me by surprise. I saw a lady giving a sip of her water to a dog. Again, it surprised me that she was caring towards animals when she was in such a desperate state her own self.
Slowly my perspective began to change. Instead of viewing these people as animals, I saw them as people. Really kind people who just had a really hard life. Who were born in a really poor county. Who were not given much of a chance. They weren't begging for money. They were working. And they were working HARD. They were gathering paper, plastic, and tin to be recycled. Of course, they didn't have vehicles to take it far. They would make a pile and sell it to a guy with a truck who would pay them about a penny a pound and then that guy would go turn it in and make more money from it. They were doing whatever they had to do to survive.
This man with his back full of cardboard may have had .20 cents worth. He is working this hard and in this condition for .20 cents. But thats more than he had before.
Matthew 25:35 " I was hungry and you gave me something to eat."
And honestly, this may be my favorite picture from the trip. This is my husbands hand feeding a man. Hands touching Hands. Not afraid to reach out and touch and care for the least of these. That is what this trip was about. God has called to serve the poor and needy. To take care of the orphans. All to often our American way of life keeps us to busy to even think about serving others. But now I have seen.. and I can't ignore it. I am so proud to be partnered with an organization like "Rice Bowls". If you aren't familiar with them let me tell you a little more about them.
For those of you who may be unsure of what Rice Bowls does you can check out their website here. They support over 50 orphanages nation wide with their food budget. Trisha and Kelly Lawrence, who run the Good Shepherd Childrens' Home where we stayed said that when Rice Bowls began sponsoring them they were able to provide more fruits and vegetables for the kids. I had someone ask if they only provide Rice Bowls, and NO that is definitely not the case. They provide the money to ensure that children get healthy nutritious food so they can grow properly.
If you are an individual or business who wants to support this amazing ministry you can do so in a variety of ways. They have great T- shirts to buy ( one shirt feeds 40 kids), you can start a rice bowl campaign within your work, church, or whatever your sphere of influence is. Please just check out the website to see how you can get involved!
There are also other products that support Rice Bowls such as Bridgewater Candle Company. They have amazing products that you can order online or if you are local to my area you can find at "Blessings" inside of Laser Copy. They have provided over 3,534,942 meals for orphans. Upward Sports is also a corporate sponsor. So be sure to ask your local Upward program about it.
P'zazz is also a sponsor but we have to do more. I now know and love these kids and there are so many more just like them. Precious kids who are living on the streets if an orphanage doesn't take them in. Sweet kids seeking love. There are so many missionaries like Trisha and Kelly who are doing the hard every day work of running the orphanage, rescuing children from the streets, and showing them Jesus's love. As the body of Christ we all have to do our part though. Orphanages just like this around the world still need money in order to provide food. We must look at our abundance and figure out ways to give. Seriously, it's not that hard. Giving up one or two fast food runs and giving that money to Rice Bowls would provide enough food for over a month for a sweet kid.
At P'zazz we are going to start letting every person who comes to P'zazz be a part of the success story of a child. Instead of just one fundraising night ( which we will still have) we are also pledging that for every paying customer who comes to P'zazz we will feed a child for a day. That means every after school kid, every birthday party attendee, every adult in our adult classes or private parties, every field trip, EVERYBODY is going to help be a part of something so much bigger than ourselves.