A group of students from U.S. Universities came to Honduras for a week to donate their time, money and work in a community called El Cantón, near Teupacenti , specifically to work in the construction of what will be the Health Center. They were all Architect students, some of whom had participated in the making of the plans for this project with their ages averaging 23 years old. They left behind all their comfort and stayed at a compound where they had to wake up at 5am, take a cold shower, have our beans and tortillas for breakfast to then drive 2 hours in muddy roads through rivers and abysms so they could spend the day moving rocks, making grout and laying bricks. My job was to be a translator.
Everyday, after returning to the Compound and having dinner, we would get together to make a reflexion about the day, and at the end of the last day, we got to hear each of the 24 students express their final reflexion about the trip and their experience. Even though everyone had his own way of telling their story, as if it was a contest of eloquent words, they all had one thing in common: the word “appreciate”.
They all explained how coming to see the conditions under which the people from the community lived made them appreciate more what they had back home and sometimes take for granted.
This group of students came here to change some lives, but their lives were changed as well in the process.
As for me, I am short of words to explain all I learned. Starting for the fact that I also left behind my comfort and daily routine, internet, phone, my kids, etc I also left behind my worries, my debts, my doubts and the complains and although I was their working, I could easily return as a volunteer.
I am sure they all return to their home a different person, each one with a different story. I came back with a lot more appreciation for the blessings I got and very impressed with all the beauty we have in Honduras. I was able to get some real “semitas de yema” with fresh grounded coffee from the mountains and Lps 2.00 next to a site that seemed taken from the Bible. I was able to see the kindness that can come straight from the heart. I was able to see tears of joy and thankfulness in a humble person and in the cheerful giver. I was able to talk to God away from all the noise and the worries because the only word that came to my mind while praying was “Thank You”.
Definitely we all need to get away sometimes to be able to appreciate more.