My 11-year-old daughter, Anna, and I traveled to Honduras with an Unbound Awareness Trip to meet our sponsored child, Jaeli, and her mother, Lorenza. It was wonderful to meet the little girl whom we had come to know through letters for the past two years. We knew a few things about her family and her life, but we were completely unprepared to learn what a huge difference our sponsorship makes in their daily lives.
The thing about Honduras that stayed with me is that despite the extreme poverty and poor living conditions, Hondurans do many things better than us! They are joyful, they hug, they dance, they smile and they celebrate. They are confident and are happy to speak up in front of a group. They are willing to express their love and gratitude. They are giving and are eager to share what they have. They are supportive and help others when needed.
I was so struck by the difference between our group of sponsors and the Honduran people. We were hesitant to speak to the group, and we were nervous about dancing (we quickly warmed up though!) We were initially shy about hugging strangers, but we learned from our sponsored friends. By the end of the trip, our hearts had been changed for the better. It was good to be reminded of what it looks like to live simply and wholeheartedly.
My favorite experience from the trip was visiting Casa Hogar, a children’s home built and managed by Unbound. Many of the children who live there have families in the area who are unable to support them financially. The children live in the home while their families work to improve their situation.
For the children, living in this home is a gift and an opportunity to live healthy lives and attend school. It was easy to see that the house parents love the children very much. The children attend school, learn a trade, play sports and have chores and responsibilities. The kids were thrilled to have Anna as a playmate.
The first order of business for several of the girls living in the home was to braid Anna’s long blonde hair and put flowers in it. They also proudly showed us their pets, three new puppies, and later they played soccer and tag. We taught them our American game of duck, duck, goose, and they taught Anna a dance. The children loved pointing to items around the house and hearing Anna speak the words in English.
I am so grateful to Nelsy, Natalia and Roxanna, three of the girls living at Casa Hogar, for reminding Anna and me of the simple joys that we leave on the table, unclaimed, too many days of our lives. We will never forget these precious girls.
Since we’ve been home, it really does seem to be easier to focus on the things that really matter. We are more loving and less impatient with each other and our family and more willing to go a little bit out of our way for someone. We’re more likely to hug instead of being standoffish. It’s harder to get upset when our electricity goes off for a few hours in a storm, when we know our Honduran friends don’t have electricity at all.
We’re looking for more ways to become involved with Unbound and have begun sponsoring two additional little girls in Honduras. (I’m even writing a blog post, which I’ve never done in my life!) I am so grateful to Unbound for helping Anna and I open our minds and our hearts. We can and will be better people because of Unbound!