We flew out of Charlotte on Saturday and spent Sunday-Friday in Honduras, then flew back the following Saturday. I knew NOBODY who was going at the first meeting - not even one person looked familiar. I was shocked to find out that 3 of them actually attend the same campus that I do. We had four from our CVC campus, two from the North Mecklenburg campus, one from the Statesville campus, one former Cove member and his coworker - both who live out of town. It was really fun to get to know that many new people.
I will try to break it down by day - but no promises that I won't get a little out of order.
Sunday - We woke up daily and did devotions with our group right after breakfast. On Sunday we were able to watch the Cove service live on the internet. Ah, technology! We stayed in a local hotel called the Granja Delia in Siquatepeque. It was actually quite nice and served a great buffet for meals. Sunday we met the other group who we were partnering with - a group with River of the World (ROW) from Mississippi. The leaders of their group were actually from the Charlotte area and were super fun to get to know. There group was a lot bigger than ours and was full of really cool people. We started out figuring out how to pack up the goodies into bags that were made by local women. We had tables set up with hygiene supplies, toys, school supplies, clothing/shoes/socks, etc. We perfected a pretty good assembly-line method and got many (with MANY more to come) bags packed before we headed to the closest village to hang out with the kids. We were kind of the go-to people for the goodie bag aspect (along with the CCH folks) and the Mississippi crew did awesome Bible-school type lessons with the kids in each village. They really did an awesome job at this all week. We were also able to go to Pastor Israel's church Sunday night.
Bob and Pat packing bags
Gary rockin' the chip section
the lovebirds, Wayne and Donna, making up candy bags to give to the extra kids that they knew would show up at the first village
Steve, THE MAN, doing an eye exam
goodie bag time
going back to the church to make some more goodie bags in a pinch
Monday was much of the same. We spent the morning packing bags and the evening at a village. This village was fun because we got out the water guns and the kids were just having a total blast. They even showed me where there was a water supply to get more water! I also got my first (and last) kiss of the trip. Most days for lunch we went to the Texaco (usually one of our three daily visits there) and made sandwiches.
Just a sampling of the bags that were filled with smaller goodie bags
Kirsten was seriously a BEAST all week
the building where we worked all week
Don in his element
most hilarious kid I met all week!
Tuesday - Much of the same. I got the pleasure of taking a ride with Drew and Katie from ROW to an orphanage about an hour away from Talube. I wanted to send some information back to a friend back in VA who has a heart for Honduras as well. Children's Impact Network is doing a great work in this area and with this orphanage, which now houses children and house parents. I also got to go over to the clinic that Israel's wife runs. There was another group (also from Charlotte area!) called Finish the Wall there finishing the clinic for them. They have been praying for and working on this clinic for many years, and to be able to be there while it was being finished was amazing. The Mississippi crew was working on a ditch in the back of the clinic so I told them I would take some pictures for them - and also got my hands dirty for awhile that afternoon as well.
view from the orphanage
really, really hard working crew
I cannot take credit - they were out there way longer than I was.
This picture is so cool. Bob was actually baptized by Israel in that water in the background.
I got to try to work on my pedicure skills daily!
I am pretty sure this man was the pastor of the church in this village.
Wednesday was a very different day. It was a day that honestly changed my life. It was challenging, emotionally and physically, and it was the most humbling experience of my life. Our church takes another trip to Honduras each year to help install stoves in homes that are currently using open fires inside their homes. The people in these homes, especially children, are exposed to harmful effects of these fires. The stoves that Israel (and others) put in reduce the amount of debris that these children breathe in significantly. They have run tests and found that their breathing improves incredibly when these stoves are put in use. We got the privilege of installing 5 of these stoves on Wednesday while we were there. These homes are incredibly modest and the people were incredibly thankful. We met one lady, a widow caring for her extended family, whose house was literally falling down. God has since laid it on my heart to build this lady a house. You'll be hearing a lot more about that this month. We then went to one village near the last home where we installed a stove.
one home that received a stove - this is the home that is falling down
laughing because she isn't in the next picture...
the stoves are not light
our main job was to make mud
not really a problem
Greg with CCH - also a BEAST all week
praying with this family for their daughter
sweet family desperately in need of a new home
This community showed their appreciation by climbing to get us coconuts to drink. It was so humbling (and actually really good).
Gary was amazing this day!
Mark from CCH working on the chimney.
the man of the home and Kenneth
We were able to eat lunch with this family and serve them sandwiches in their home. This is Mark explaining to them why we were there and why we were helping them.
success - These stoves use very little wood.
Thursday we packed the last of our bags and tried to get the building clear of all the supplies. We then visited our last village - in the rain!! Dark and rainy is not the ideal way to get supplies out, but it was a chaotic kind of fun.
at the Granja
We had lunch as a team at a local Chinese restaurant. It was actually good!
Mississippi boys apparently don't mind getting ridiculously dirty
the pastor from Mississippi - a really cool guy!
old pros by this point
Kenny giving some really important advice
Doctor Don's hat
This family was so fun! They had ELEVEN kids - their mom was amazingly calm. :)
a school room where we were gathered
Kenny and Drew - perfecting the point
Most of the CCH group left on Friday, so we got to have a team day just relaxing. We actually drove to San Pedro Sula to visit a market, but Israel found out there was crazy traffic so we turned around. We headed for the waterfall that is always part of the trips to Honduras. They have a zipline that goes through the forest and then over the tallest waterfall in Honduras. I'm not a fan of heights, so Bob talked to the guys there and found out I could do all the lines and then get off before the last one. Only Donna and I wanted to do it - some of the others had done it on other trips - so we got all suited up and started. Kirsten had my camera to take pictures for the first couple of legs. When we got to the waterfall I was so nervous but somehow was convinced to just do it. It was scary and amazing and I just cannot believe there are such beautiful places on this earth. After we did some devotion and prayer time there we headed to some local markets and also drove through a dump where we saw people picking through literal garbage - looking for things they could eat, use, or sell. These things go on all over the world (right here in NC included), but to see it with your own eyes will break your heart for these people. There is so much work to be done in Honduras. We finished the night with a trip to a local restaurant with Nikki and Kenneth (two Atlanta based missionaries) for papusas that were out of this world good.
ready to go
Donna was totally not scared.
Saturday was our departure day. We stopped by the clinic to see the work that Finish the Wall had done. It was amazing! I anticipate my next trip being housed there instead of the hotel.
tile work done
I want to cook in this kitchen one day!
The trip was everything I hoped it would be - and more. It was simply fabulous. There were a few things we did that I can't really remember which day it was. We went to a local pizza place that was delicious. One day we went to 2 different villages but I don't remember for sure when. I learned about a new app - Voxer - that allowed me to talk to J and the kids. Jonathan was awesome to take 2 days off of work and then his mom came and stayed one day before taking the kids home with her for a few days. It was just perfectly orchestrated and I will be forever grateful for the opportunity the Lord provided for me to go on this trip.