Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A Seasoned Volunteer Reflects

Below is a reflection from Twana, a volunteer who has been to Honduras several time and was here again in March.

  It has been just about 6 weeks since I returned from my fourth volunteer trip to APUFRAM’S site in El Conejo Comayagua, Honduras Central America.

     Each time I must leave to return to the states, it gets harder to say good bye. With each departure, I find that I leave a little more of my heart behind with the Hondurans I have grown to love.

    This was my first return to the St. Teressa of Lisieux Volunteer Center since the Honduran coup that occurred June of 2009. I was deeply saddened to learn that at the time of my trip (March 17-March 26, 2010), I had been only the third volunteer to the center since the coup. It is the children and mothers we serve that are hurt as the result of lack of volunteers since the coup. According to current volunteer director, Megan Meyer, the children stopped asking in January when more volunteers were coming. They had, it seemed, given up hope that we would be returning.

   La Villa-San Antonio de Padua is the site of our boarding facility and school for boys ages 5-14 yrs. The school at La Villa has been forced to close since the coup. The boys are now attending classes at Guadalupe, the site of the school for our girl’s school.

    It is my desire that those considering a volunteer trip to Honduras will understand that it is perfectly safe there. I was greeted warmly everywhere I went. I never once felt uncomfortable in any way.
I was truly loved and welcomed by the local Hondurans as well as those whom are served through APUFRAM’S programs. It was as though a long missed family member had returned home to the Hondurans when they saw their “Su amigo, un miembro de la familia percibida, Twana, que pasa por el camino.” (Their Friend, their perceived family member, Twana, walking down the path).
As a student of Journalism at my college, I covered my Honduran experience for my college newspaper. I had the opportunity to interview local business owners in Honduras as to how their lives have been affected since the coup. As part of my journalism work for my college, I am working on a video of my March trip to Honduras.

     The one constant is and remains the Hondurans are a loving, kind people that would willingly assist anyone in need. One of our children at the Guadalupe site, in her broken English said to me: “Twana no go back to America. You stay here, Honduras be your home now.” How do you hear something like this from an innocent child and not be affected by it?

     Those of you considering a volunteer trip to APUFRAUM’S Honduran sites, listen to your heart. You will be enriched in ways you never dreamed.

Twana Pinskey