Monthly Archives: January 2012

To the People Who Taught Me to Love


Today we finished at the work site. It’s amazing how much we’ve accomplished as a group. It truly makes my soul happy to be part of a team, and our team worked so hard.

This whole week we have done the backbreaking work of shoveling, lifting gallon buckets of dirt across the site, hauling cinderblocks, mixing cement, laying blocks, and leveling the floors of classrooms.

Now, the walls of four classrooms are already rising…and we started with a ditch-outline 5 days ago.

After finishing at the site, we went to Villa Soleada for the final time to say goodbye.

On the way there, I wrote a note in Spanish that I later read to my host family from this summer, Ramon and Natalia.

It went like this:

Ramon y Natalia:

  I want to tell you how you have changed my life.

Together you give so much love to me, and that has taught me how to love.

You are not only like my family, you ARE my real family.

You give me strength.

I want to give thanks for all, and I want you to know that I am your daughter forever.

I want to return to Villa Soleada but I don’t know when I can.

I want you to know that you are in my dreams and heart when I am in the United States.

I love you.

It is very hard to say goodbye, so I will say, “See you later.”

                                                                                    -Lari

 

The words in the letter were the things I had always wanted to say, and now they are finally shared. We cried together, and my parting words to Natalia were: “Hasta Luego,”

See you later.

And I will.

my host home

my host home

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Confessions and Tears


Tonight’s group reflection was the most emotional.

When we were asked to share our highs and lows, many people shared the low of not having been able to visit IHNFA, the government orphanage system (See previous entries).

I hadn’t been sure of what my low was, but as I heard person after person claim that their low was not visiting there, I started to realize mine was as well.

But it was more complicated than that.

I’m actually terrified of IHNFA.

So I did something that I’ve never done before: I admitted my fear.

I realized however, and explained to the group, that although the place literally gives me nightmares, by visiting it I was broadening my perspective on life, and having something work hard to prevent. That although the place is unpleasant and terrifying, it gives us all the more motivation to change it. My group leader even confessed that to this day, if she comes across a smell similar to that of IHNFA, it catches her off guard– something I’ve run in to as well.

Other people shared stories that made the speaker–and the rest of the group– emotional. Stories of children with disabilities and no medical access, and stories of how Honduras has changed them, and how somehow…they are almost a different person when they are here.

That struck a chord with me.

Eventually, our advisor and chaperone Dr. Reitman took his turn. He shared his low, and then his high. I wasn’t ready for what came next.

He shared how he had been sitting with a child named Dani who spoke very good English. When he asked the boy where he had learned such “good English,” I had happened to walk by. Dani pointed at me and said “That’s my teacher.”

When I heard this, I burst into tears.

I had constantly worried about whether I had made much of an impact on the children, and now I truly know. I feel such pride, but mostly I feel love for my students, and the connection I feel with them.

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Honduras Trip 3: Goals and Expectations

 As I sit here on this plane on my third trip to Honduras, I find myself stuck in my own brain, amidst worries and expectations.

I desperately want my students and the villagers of Villa Soleada to remember me…maybe that makes me selfish, I don’t know.

It’s just that I really care about the kids I met last summer–especially my students–and I want them to remember me…

Because I remember them.

This trip I have a new goal to accomplish.

Other than throwing myself into whatever construction project we are given, I want to learn some more.

This is a very vague thing to say, I know. But let me explain.

Recently, I finished reading a book called “Half the Sky.” It was originally assigned to me for my internship, but I just finished it this week.

The book, which mainly focuses on the oppression of women and its societal outcomes, opened my eyes in a way no text has before.

Sure, I’ve seen poverty and worked with the poor–and first hand experiences are extremely important. However, this book opened the door to all sorts of sociological studies and a world of academia that doesn’t just sit on bookshelves.

This academia went out into the world, took its findings, and made the world better.

I have always been fascinated by the way society works, and I have always wanted to make the global community better.

I feel as though going back to grad school while volunteering would maybe be an option, but I don’t really know what’s out there for this fusion of interests.

But…

If I had to make a “mission statement” for my desired future career, it would be this:

”I want to study social problems in order to better solve them, using the vehicle of education.”

Why education?

Because I’ve seen underprivileged children with incredible intelligence not be able to move forward in society because they simply do not have the resources.

Because I was fortunate enough to be a student for many years, and have reaped the benefits both in growth and knowledge, and I feel others should have the same opportunity.

These reasons, combined with my readings, have taught me the importance of education, and it’s crucial role in fighting poverty.

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