Thursday, September 24, 2009

My Honduran Mother

Mama Hilda is a 78 year-old Honduran mother who speaks Spanish and not a lick of English. She is so wise and has a heart of gold and has taught me so much on my journey here. In the midst of my fears and feelings of being alone I would just sit with her and we would look out in the distance at the beauty God created and just be still and in awe, together, of what an amazing Father we have. Every morning when I ask her how she is all she can say is “good, thank God for another day.” She has been the only person that I have truly felt comfortable with here. She has been the one person that I can just sit with, just be around and be silent, not have to say a word or prove anything, and know she cares.
One morning Mama Hilda was sitting with me as I was eating breakfast and she was telling me how hard it is for her to eat on her left side. She has had four tumors on her neck and behind her ear. In her second operation the doctors accidentally cut a nerve and so now half of her face is paralyzed. Her left eye droops down, which makes it hard for her to see and the left side of her mouth sags. She has absolutely no feeling on the left side of her face. When the doctors tried to pay for her surgery and ask for an apology, mama Hilda’s response was, “we are all human; I have a son and a daughter who are doctors and at any moment they could just as easily make a mistake like this.” When I heard her response I was literally blow away. She is a saint. I do not know anyone else who would respond to an incident like this in such a way. I think about all the people, including myself, who get their panties in a twist over someone accidentally cutting them off on the freeway. I cannot imagine coming out of surgery with half of my face numb, being told it will be unable to work for the rest of my life and then looking at the doctors in their eyes just be able to say, “It’s okay. Life happens. At least I am alive.” What an incredible woman. How free she must feel; a woman without an ounce of bitterness or hatred in her heart. A woman who is always wanting to give, always wanting to share her blessings with those who do not have as much and someone who cares so deeply for all of God’s children. I want to be like her. I pray that God gives me an attitude towards life like mama Hilda. She has taught me so much.
Watching mama Hilda and the way she lives her life has encouraged me greatly. On the days where I feel down and discouraged, when I feel as if I am doing nothing big with my life, nothing to change Honduras or the lives of the people here, I look at mama Hilda and am reminded; just love. Look at this woman full of love and see the impact she has on others. Small acts of kindness can do a world of greatness in another’s life. I think about those doctors that preformed that surgery for mama Hilda; I wish I could have been there to see their faces, to know how they were feeling and what was going through their minds after hearing mama Hilda’s response. I cannot even begin to fathom. They will never forget her as long as they live. That is how I want to live my life. That is the impression I want to leave people with; to leave a footprint on people’s hearts; one that is genuine and lasts forever.
This is how mama Hilda’s world works. She is a woman who devotes her life to God and her family. She does not concern herself with the worries of the world and leaves people silenced by her actions. To the rest of the world one might not consider her a “hero” or anything special, they might just see a woman who lives in a small town in Honduras as a shopkeeper. I do not know if she has won any awards in her life, if she was the smartest in her class, if she was good at any sports or not. No, she is not an actor or a singer, she may not be on the front cover of a magazine or have written a best seller; but it is by her actions, her attitudes, what she values and how she treats every individual she comes across, that is what makes her a truly incredible woman, one whom I will never forget.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The kids giving Matt one last hug

Surprising Mr. Mateo with a cake

Mateo and Franky crossin the bridge..
Some of my 3rd graders... Glenda, Karla, Eduardo and Elder

Matt giving the kids their science lesson for the day.. the title was "Strange Bugs in Honduras that Always Seem to Land on Mr. Mateo"
A day at the pool... looks pretty good huh?

At the ruins for the second time...

Our door and inside the classroom. Made by Matthew and Jenna (and a little bit of help from Mr. Jose)

Trying to look like I know what Im doing...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

It´s been 3 months.... I think that means Im officially Honduran.

Public Transit..... (sept. 6th)

Today was an overwhelming day. I dropped Matt off at the airport this morning :/ and then oscar, the taxi driver, took me to the bus terminal. He helped me try to find the right bus to go to El Salvador and carried my bag for me as we ran all around the terminal upstairs, downstairs and back up again, trying to figure out the different times and prices of the different buses. And of course, everytime we passed by the different windows the same people would try to “sell” us their bus’s destination, “La Ceiba, La Ceiba, ven aqui, La Ceiba, La Ceiba!”
Finally after buying the tickets to El Salvador I needed to find a bus to Siguatepeque. As usual, as soon as I got on the bus everyone stopped to stare; I went to the back of the bus to find a seat and put my suitcase, uncomfortably on my lap as the wheels jammed into my thighs and tried to look semi-confident in what I was doing/where I was going. Just then my phone rang, it was the woman I had just bought my tickets from, she let me know that I had dumbfoundedly left my tickets in the office! As I felt my face go from hot to on fire, and my body from being wet to now drenched with sweat, I thought I was going to have a panic attack. Oscar had already left me and I was uncomfortably stuck between people and my luggage on a bus that was starting to leave. I didn’t know what to do, should I try and stop the bus to go get my tickets? Are they going to be okay if I leave them there? At this point I just wanted to get to Sigua. “Are you serious?! Can you please just save them for me?? I come back on Thursday.” Gracias a Dios she said the words that could not have given me any more comfort at that time, “yes, I will save them here for you, no te preocupes (don’t worry)”. As soon as I got off the phone the creeper sitting next to me started saying stuff to me. I figured if I just ignored him he would get the hint but apparently he thought grabbing my arm would make things better. Being as flustered as I was at this point, I whipped my head around and quickly snapped, “no me toques!” (Don’t touch me!) I guess that did the trick because he said sorry and then didn’t bother me the rest of the way. I get quite fed up with the men around here... Anyway, as my legs and butt drifted off to sleep the bus slowly trucked on, making several stops along the way. At most stops there were people waiting for the bus’s arrival to run up to the window and try to sell you their goods, once again grabbing your arm through the window to really get your attention and better their chances of making a few lempiras. About half way through the ride the bus pulled over once again and a swarm of people ran up to the bus, this time selling fish. The lady sitting next to me shot her arm across my body, hitting my chest along the way, trying to grab a bag of fish as the lady selling the fish for some reason continued to shove the bag in my face instead. Oh the wonders of public transportation in Honduras. I am going to miss this craziness, there is never a day that goes by that someone or something doesn’t entertain you… or flabbergast or inferiorate you. I did finally get to Siguatepeque and it was so good to see Kristin and meet the family and see the home I will be living in for the last three weeks of my trip. They have two dogs and one reminds me of sadie. :) I am excited to come back and live here. It will be quite the change from Santa Rita, it is a lot bigger; they actually have restaurants here!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Antigua, Guatemala hiking Volcano Pacaya

The "taxi"
Zip linning beautiful...and loud!!