Monday, March 22, 2010

Reflections from a Christendom College Student

Our recent trip to Honduras was an incredible, eye-opening experience in many ways.  Although only a four- hour plane ride away, stepping off of the airplane into the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere from the metropolitan DC area was like walking into a different world.  The first thing that hit us while driving from the hills of Tegucigalpa to the flatter region of El Conejo, where we did most of our work, was the abject poverty of the people.  Many were walking from their houses to the towns barefoot, or riding a pony.  The homes themselves were little more than cardboard, with newspaper serving as a covering for the doors and windows.  The children were carrying heavy loads of fruits and vegetables on their backs to sell at little roadside stands to help their families make a living.  All of these things which seemed so commonplace to them were completely different than we in our modern luxurious society had ever witnessed. 

Soon after our arrival, we were able to meet the children we were going to form a pretty tight bond with before our trip was over.  They were the sons and daughters of abused mothers who lived in a home for women established by the APUFRAM founder “Fr. Emil,” as we called this “Mother Theresa” of Honduras.  The home was built on the same site as an all girls’ school, which we were also able to frequently visit and make friends at.  Spending so much time with these simple, yet blissfully happy children was the highlight of our trip.  We did activities with them like making tie-dye shirts, drawing pictures with crayons and markers, and playing soccer and baseball.  One of the boys told us, “We are poor, but our hearts are rich,” which was visibly apparent with all the Hondurans we came across with.  Those who had almost nothing were willing to share with us foreigners even those few things which they had. They had a bigger impact on our lives than we, who came as missionaries, had on theirs.

All in all, it was a life-changing experience.  We are all deeply grateful to have had this unique opportunity, and thankful to Christendom College for providing it for us.  We would go back in a heartbeat if the occasion arose again, and would recommend the trip for anyone who is willing to give a very little bit to receive a hundredfold in return. 

Elizabeth Twaddle
Christendom College

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Yay for Volunteers!

Last week a group of 12 volunteers from Christendom College in Virginia traveled to Honduras to work with our children and APUFRAM. This was Christendom's second year coming to Honduras and it was a very positive experience for everyone. For their work project, the group helped with the irrigation system for 200 new banana plants that were just planted. They all said they wanted to do hard, manual labor so that is what we gave them! They enjoyed learning about agriculture from Emin and Roger, the APUFRAM employees in charge of the project. By the end of the morning, they were tired, but felt good about the work they accomplished.

The group spent their afternoons doing activities with the children at the different sites- the Mother's Project, Guadalupe, and La Villa. They brought materials for every kid to have a chance to tie-dye a shirt. It was a very messy, but fun project that the kids really enjoyed. They loved seeing how they turned out when the rubber bands were taken off. When I went up there this afternoon, nearly half of them were wearing their tie-dye shirts. The volunteers commented on the great joy that they experienced when playing with the children. They said that although they have so little, they were much happier and loving than most of the kids they know in the United States. The last evening they were here, it was very hard for them to say goodbye.

I am so grateful to the Christendom College group for being the first group to come since June. I can't even explain the joy and hope it brought to the kids to have volunteers to play with again. When I got here in September, the kids asked me every day when a group was going to come. About January, they stopped asking, almost resigning to the fact that groups were not coming any more. So imagine their surprise when these volunteers showed up! Now they keep asking me when the next group is coming.

I truly think that this trip changed lives. The kids, especially those new students who have never experienced a volunteer group, were shown that people in the United States truly care about them and love them. I tell them this all the time, but it means so much more when they can actually experience that love and care first-hand. I also think that this trip changed the lives of the volunteers. They all said that they want to come back to Honduras some day, some possibly as a long-term volunteers. We look forward to more volunteer groups and long-term volunteers coming in the future. If you or someone you know wishes to volunteer, please go to for more information.

Peace and Blessings,