The End, "Before we are a race, a gender, a sexuality, a personality, short, or tall...we are human."--Lauren
It's hard to choose one part of the trip that truly stuck out to me. I wish I could share with you every, single, moment that made me smile...that made me cry. In person, I have yet been able to communicate how I have truly felt. I never have been gifted with the ability to be well spoken or say exactly what I mean but here I will try my best.
Going into this project I had the typical American missionary mindset-I was the American who had come to do something great and was teaching these kids something so valuable. Coming out, I couldn't have been more wrong. Any person in the world could do what I do, if they have the means...it takes a special type of person to teach the type of lessons that the people of Honduras taught me. I learned to trust with all my heart, love is blind, do not hang onto the past, keep your faith, and family doesn't end with blood.
Most of the boys in Flor Azul have no family and rely solely on each other for any type of support-something that each and every boy is willing to give 100%. One boy said a line that I will never forget, "There is Mama Karen...she is my mother." Though this boy has not known her his entire life, he will forever look to her as his mother. When I watched the boys interact with each other they were so protective and helpful, constantly checking up on one another and making sure everyone stood equal and together.
In the village of Campo we met a little boy named Kevin who had down-syndrome. Kids in America with disabilities are often ridiculed and lead a life with very little friendships. Kevin had more friends than anyone else in the village. Every child there treated him as if he was Just Kevin and had no disability. Love to them is absolutely blind. They loved without caring who you were, no matter your gender, no matter your race, no matter your fault or disability. This is something that every person should take with them and live by everyday.
Finally, the past is the past. That is something that I will always remember that the people of Honduras taught me. No matter how bad their lives were before, they got up smiling each day and thanked God that they are here. They thank God that they have food-no matter how little it is. The fact that they don't let what has happened to them reflect on their day-to-day lives shows what kind of people they really are.
In the end, I have to say that in my heart I know it is not truly 'the end'. I will be back to Honduras as soon as I can-returning to the boys, "sitting right there on the front porch." I have learned more than I could ever hope to know and want to spread the love that grew inside me across America and across the world. I thank God that I met so many people who could give me so many great things. Most of all, I thank God for meeting Arturo-who is my godson now. When I left Flor Azul I found that I couldn't cry-we had been having so much fun at the fiesta that it didn't seem real. I remember Arturo telling me that I was a strong person for not crying...and I couldn't help but think that I was never going to be half as strong as he was.
So here is to the friendships that will last a lifetime, the memories that will never fade, to the boy who will forever live (at least in my heart), and to God for giving us the opportunity of a lifetime.
The students and faculty who traveled together to Honduras for a service-learning course wrote about our adventures on this blog, both during and after our travels.