Where do I start? When we first decided to go volunteer and got in touch with Emily, it seemed like the time would never come to actually go. We arrived in Roatan towards the end of June with the hot tarmac greeting us on one side and the blue sea on the other. I was scared; WHAT IF the kids didn’t like me or WHAT IF if it was hard to live in a compound with 8 other people or WHAT ABOUT the money we’d be spending living in Roatan but still paying rent and all the bills back home too? I was excited; I get to love 60 children who have so little and it’s an island and also I’m with my favorite Morgan on another adventure. I felt like we were doing what we were supposed to do.
So with all these thoughts, we started school and it was amazing. Little (and not so little) grubby hands reached for us every morning and sweaty heads of black hair rested on our necks every lunch hour. Our arms were pulled to go play memory and swing and play Bingo, Spanish of course. We were gifted with beautiful white smiles and pouts and kisses and “will you please stay here” every day. On the tough days, we hugged more and loved more and tried to make the “Miss Chey, mom beat me this morning” seem far away from the safety of us and the school. We learned how to play the steel drums and how to sing the Honduras national anthem and how to eat weird fruits the kids brought.
Home became our Mango Tree House with our compound family. The nights we didn’t have power we would lament the loss of our little fan but those nights were the best to hear cicadas outside our window and see the bats swooping by our supper table and listen to the geckos talking to each other on the wall. We had the joy of washing clothes in a bucket outside and sponge showering with a gallon pitcher and never tiring of the stories Miss Valerie would tell us as we sat around the table after supper. She’s amazing, by the way. She had so much good advice for us on lots of different topics and without knowing it, she helped me see sides of situations from her own experiences.
And suddenly it was over and we had to say goodbyes to the dearest children and leave them in the hands of God. We think life is uncertain here in our little worlds and it is. But it seems so much more uncertain there in Honduras where drugs are everywhere and morals and values have disappeared and food and a bed are rare things. The week before we left, the municipal had taken a bulldozer and literally pushed illegal “squatters” houses into a pile leaving the families homeless and with nothing. There are very few laws enforced but those people had lived on the municipal’s land for years and now they decided to enforce it. One of my darling children’s house had been there and the look in their eyes when they returned to school after missing several days was just so sad. Even their houses can disappear.
So now I am back in my air-conditioned house in a first-world country where I can buy anything I desire. My house will not be bulldozed while I’m at Target. My pantry is full of food (Note: don’t leave potatoes in your pantry while you’re gone for several months) and when our car gives out we can get another one. Don’t lose perspective, friends.
After being home 15 hours, Morgan left last night with Dad Kevin for the week to go work with Uncle Galen hauling the 747 plane away from the Burning Man festival in Nevada again. So I am having coffee and eating fresh peaches and looking at the mess that is my house and being sad that I am not starting another week at school on the edge of the Swamp in Honduras. I am, however, an officially certified scuba diver so if you need me, I will be in a pool pretending I’m still in that beautiful ocean. Have a good Labor Day everyone♡