Thursday, July 20, 2017

One month back in the US

A month has already passed since I arrived in the US. This is exactly what I needed. God's plan is always perfect.

On the day I arrived I walked into my friend's house and found a photo which almost matches the image my friend made of me floating on the river, only of course my raft and I are not in the photo. More confirmation that I'm right where God wants me to be.




Not only do I have a free place to stay, I was also given a bike and a car to use while I'm here. I started out biking every day, despite lots of rain. That was how I first realized how jumpy and anxious, even scared, I am. While riding on dirt roads I traveled as a child, if a car pulled up behind me I feared they would kidnap me. Rationally I knew that was not likely. But the fear was still powerful. Then I started to notice that small things started me and noises made me jump. Twice I turned on the tv, then turn around and walk to the couch. When a woman's voice came from the tv behind me I jumped into the air, and my heart felt like I was having a heart attack. That's not normal. Especially twice in one day.

I am not more stressed out or scared to be here. I think it's because I am quiet and able to let down my guard that these things become more evident.

One day I stopped at a convenience store. It was full of men in military uniforms. In Honduras when there are that many people in military uniforms, something bad is happening or about to happen. I managed to remain calm outwardly, but inside I was extremely anxious being around that many men in military uniforms. At least they weren't carrying huge weapons like they do in Honduras.

Time after time a loud noise startles me and I jump. Then everyone else looks at me like I'm nuts. It happened yesterday at the fair when the man behind me swung the hammer to try to make the bell ring. The day before a man at the gym dropped his weights on the mats. A lady realized how started I was and reminded me that they are allowed to drop their weights like that. I know, but it doesn't startle me any less.

On the other hand, I am blessed to be in a house which felt like home the moment I walked in. There is a beautiful outside patio and huge green fields (which I mow every Saturday morning).

For most of my life I've woken up in the morning and wondered where in the world I am. It always takes me a minute to look around and figure out, okay, they are speaking Spanish. I am in Honduras and I am in my bed.

Here, I wake up in the morning and for the first time since I left my childhood home, I instantly know exactly where I am! I feel safe and secure and at peace, despite all of the outward anxiety. So, I am in the perfect place to process all of this stuff.

I sent out my monthly update explaining that I decided to seek counseling. People were so supportive! I got lots of emails saying they were glad I am taking care of myself.

I started the process before the 4th of July. Today is the big day. Psychologists will review my case and decide if they are able to treat me. I will hear from them sometime today with the answer.

I felt like God was telling me to go big in my prayers for this matter. While I don't believe I am entitled to free things, I believe He is asking me to pray that the counseling will be free. I am also praying that the therapist is Christian.

I saw my physical therapist who moved my ankle all around and told me that structurally my ankle is okay. The tape I was using in Honduras was not the right tape, which is why we did not see the improvement he expected. He is sending me another tape which will align my ankle correctly. Then I can work on strengthening while it is in correct alignment. Meanwhile I am working on balance and range of motion exercises. I overdid it this week and was more sore last night than I've been since February. I had to skip the gym yesterday. But I should be better once I get the right tape. I have another appointment with him next week.

Jetty is loving it here. She isn't used to having such a big house. At first she mostly stayed by my side. Now she is wandering off and exploring. She handled the 14 hour trip here like a pro and seems happy and relaxed. ♥



Leaving Tegucigalpa


I am connecting with old friends and developing relationships with a few new people too. It's nice to relive old times with high school friends and also to see be a part of their lives now, with spouses and kids and careers. I never thought I'd be back here, in this place, with these people. But I love it! I came screaming and kicking, but now I know it's exactly where God wants me to be.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Gotta try!

My heart hurts as I think about not being here for three whole months. Laura and Fany, my church, my home, my work and my coworkers, even my gym, the sights, the smells, the food! I'm going to miss it all. But I know this is a blessing and I will be grateful for this time to rest. A part of me already can't wait to come back home.

Sunday Laura and I baked cookies and spoke in English. Fany is amazed how much Laura can do when given the opportunity. Besides the hot stuff and getting out some of the lumps, Laura did it all on her own!

After the first pan came out of the oven, we grabbed a cup of milk and sat on the floor, eating cookies and watching the second pan bake. It was heaven! Not many people here drink milk. Laura didn't like it. She's accustomed to this weird milk that comes in a box with lots of chemicals so it will last forever. But real milk is still my favorite to accompany cookies.

I learned today that there will be no more swimming. I thought they'd go to the pool once more so I pushed them hard, trying to cram as much as possible into their last real class on Saturday. But they are having the final party at their community groups, not at the pool.

The important thing is that they did learn to swim. All but three are very competent. One boy was very scared. He did his best but never conquered his fears. Two girls chose to walk through the classes, rather than swim. It was interesting because their peers realized they were falling behind and encouraged them to try to swim. If nothing else, the peers learned a lesson. You can't learn if you don't try!

I started packing last night. It's hard to pack for Northern NY. I can't remember how to dress there. Even in the hottest weather, people here wear jeans. I'm sure I'll get rid of that habit much more quickly than I acquired it.

Today I went to immigration. They started the process for my residency card, but are sticking firm to the new law that you can't renew more than seven days in advance. The good part is, now that I've started the process I don't have to pay the big fine. The bad news is, they took my old residency card. The other good news is, a person can be in Honduras for 90 days as a "tourist". When I leave on Wednesday I'll have been here for 86 days since I traveled to Jamaica! God is looking over every single detail of this crazy trip.

Now I need to take a lesson from the two girls who walked instead of swimming. I need to dive in head first and learn everything that God has for me in this trip to New York.









Saturday, June 10, 2017

No more loose ends

God is shutting things down for me in Honduras. It's pretty crazy.

I asked for prayer because I was really anxious about the idea of leaving several projects here, and this week God took care of every one of them.

Monday I ended up at the airport where I happened to mention to a lady that I may be stuck paying a large fine because the laws changed and I can't renew my residency card. She gave me paperwork to verify that I am leaving the country and will be back, sealed and signed. She says that document will keep me from paying the fine. I'm praying! We'll see on Monday.

Tuesday the psychologist and I finished the manual for our incest survivors group. The plan was for it to start in July, but her schedule is not open until October the support group can't start until after I get back!

Wednesday I got a message from my boss. She said that due to extenuating circumstances which have nothing to do with my leaving, the kids will have their last swimming class with me and a graduation the following week. The class is ending, but it's not because of my absence.

Thursday I tried to get cash from two cash machines, but kept getting a message to call my bank in the US. The bank swore there was nothing wrong with my card. My Mom went to the US bank and they said the funds are there, the card is fine, I should be able to withdraw money. The next day I tried again and couldn't get any money. I called the bank again. The lady was rude (I'll be leaving USBank as soon as I get back to the US) and told me there is nothing she can do for me. My being stranded in Honduras with no money was of no concern to her.

My Pastor offered to lend me cash to pay off my bills before I leave, so I was fine. But that experience was really frustrating. It seemed like a final sign that I should be heading for the US.

All of the loose ends are tied up. My work us finished until I get back. It's time to go to New York and see what God has in store for me there.

Some of you have been asking about my ankle. It is getting better. I've been driving for two weeks now. It does still hurt quite a bit sometimes, especially if I don't do my PT or on the days I teach swimming from the mixture of flutter kicking and jumping around. I'll be meeting with my friend who is a physical therapist when I get to the US to see what else I can do to heal.

A year ago in May was when I got Chikungunya. I still have the symptoms almost every day. They are worst first thing in the morning - especially in my fingers. On random days I have pain in my ankles, knees, elbows, back and shoulders. But that's unpredictable and less often than it used to be. I'm learning to live with it.


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Questioning

My bank account is going down at a record rate because I have to pay all of my bills now through October. It's never been this low before and I always swore I'd never let it get this low. There is no end in sight. I have to admit I'm stressed.

I know the cost of living will be higher during my time in the US than it is here. Here I live on beans, fruit and homemade soups where I throw everything in the kitchen into a crockpot. I'd like to cancel my trip and just stay here. But I can't. I have to believe that God planned this trip for a reason and it's not to leave me broke.

One good thing is that Impacto Juvenil has officially put me on staff as a volunteer and volunteers get paid $55.31 per month. I appreciate every penny! Just got my second payment. Every bit helps. I also have to fill out a schedule now, which is good because I don't think my boss realized exactly how much I am working.

Today one of my coworkers thanked me for all I do. I told her thank you, casually. She stopped me and said, "No. Really. I want you to listen and hear this. You always offer to help us, all of us. You ask us what we need and you are willing to help in any way that we need you. I am grateful for you and your work." The woman next to her said she agreed. I thanked them very sincerely. I am glad they know they can count on me!

I'm disappointed the swimming class is going to end when I leave. The lady who started it only came one and 1/2 times out of the 8 scheduled classes. We were supposed to have 20 classes but my boss said in two weeks we will celebrate with a cake and end  the class until I return. That swimming class and the pilot project for sexually abused women make me wish I weren't going back to the US right now. Plus my bank account...

It looks like the donor who donated all of the books for one community library may help us with a library in Los Pinos! I sent her video of the kids all reading. Last night she said she will need more information but I am very hopeful. Praying! Last time she sent a HUGE box of awesome books. They were books I never would have chosen, but they were exactly what the kids needed. Thus, she is in library ministry and I am not - Hahaha!

Being in Los Pinos Saturday was great! I had been so worried about Misael looking scrawny, but he is growing and looks healthy. His sister is gorgeous and super healthy too. The most surprising part was Lorenzo, his brothers and cousins. They have all been in tutoring with my coworker and their families are working hard in therapy with our psychologist. For the first time, they have clean clothes and clean bodies.

I told Tania that I am happy to see the way she is taking care of her clothes and her body. Her sandals were new and pretty. She wiped the dirt off them as she played. Her physical boundaries seem to be better too. I asked how she has changed so much and she told me, "Talking with (my coworker who is a psychologist)." She sees the changes too!

But there is still a lot more work to do. About a year ago the psychologist assessed that her younger brother would be best off in a residential treatment program. He was tiny and spending too much time on the streets. He used to be completely wild. But they see great changes in him because of the treatment he has received. Now he is studious and calm. Even his physical features have changed and there is a light is his eyes that was absent before. The change in him has been incredible. It's almost time for him to move back home.

I am afraid that he will regress when he comes back to Los Pinos and is introduced to the same environment. But the therapist has been working hard with his family to teach them how to put structure and limits in place. They said personal hygiene suffered for lack of water, but they worked that out too! I am happy and very pleased to see the huge steps those families have taken. They are still a work in progress, but it is extremely satisfying to know that they are finally receiving the help and support they always needed and deserved.

Working on the community project
in the shop of a man who agreed to donate his time

Clean Lorenzo with his hair cut and combed!

David hard at work. His hands were pure black.

I got lots of hugs



There is a small library in the office
The kids who weren't working were reading

And writing

And reading and writing

♥♥♥

Look at this tall, healthy girl! So beautiful.
And Ana serving the food for the clubs.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Quick Catch Up

Lots of good stuff going on. So much that I have no time to write. I'm working seven days each week and when I get home at night I'm editing photos and writing articles until 10 pm.

On Monday the full-time staff and I went to a local water park for a work retreat. Sometimes I feel a little guilty when I'm included in things like that because the other volunteers and even the part time employees can't go. But they recognize that I work as much as the full time employees and this is one way they can compensate me. I make sure they know that I appreciate it!

In the morning we did team building stuff. Then we swam all afternoon. It was a huge, beautiful place and we had it all to ourselves! Nobody else was there. It rained for a while, but that didn't dampen anyone's spirits. We had a great time!

I was the only person who wore a bathing suit to swim. The other ladies all wore tight shorts. How uncomfortable. But they said they would be more uncomfortable showing their legs. Cultural differences.



I taught three of my coworkers to swim. They were so excited and proud of themselves! The one I call "Star" in this blog didn't want to get out of the pool when it was time to leave. Hahaha! She's usually big for following rules but everyone else was changing their clothes and there is Star, floating on her back with a big smile on her face.

The swimming class for the kids is going well. My boss went last week to observe. She left "enchanted", she said, with what I am doing. She finally understands that I really need another instructor to help out.

Some of the kids are already swimming freestyle and some still haven't mastered the flutter kick. If I help the slower kids, then the more advanced kids are bored. But if I work at the advanced kids' pace, the others are totally lost. With such a large (19 kids) and diverse group, we would all be better off with at least one more instructor.

Out of 8 weeks of class, the lady who was supposed to be in charge has only been there 1 & 1/2 times. I'm not counting on her help at all at this point. But the kids are learning, they are safe, and they are having a great time. That is what's important!

They are finally comfortable in their bathing suits too. That was probably the biggest challenge of all. And they are wearing their swim caps. I need to come up with money to buy them goggles. I told them I couldn't look into googles until they can use their swim caps correctly and they've fulfilled their end of the deal. This pool hurts my eyes more than any other pool I've ever set foot in. It doesn't seem to have too much chlorine because I don't smell chlorine, but for some reason it burns your eyes to the point that you absolutely cannot open them without goggles. I'd like to figure out how to fix the ph of the water because the bottom of the pool is slippery with some sort of slime. But in the meantime, the kids need goggles.

They made me super proud when my boss visited. They counted out loud for our warm up exercises, they waited to get into the water until they had permission, they only went into the areas we are allowed to use, and they all participated for the whole class. I was extra grateful for their good behavior this week!









Last week was the start of construction projects in the communities. On Monday my community began the first round of projects. Everyone was a little cautious because the area where we started has had a lot of deaths lately. Here, if more than one person dies, it is called a "massacre", which in English sounds very dramatic. But Hondurans tend to be dramatic. Anyway, there have been several massacres lately right where we were building three water pilas and one latrine.

I was supposed to get photos of before and after. I knew not to bring my camera, because that would make me a mark in the future if people think I walk around with a camera. I brought my cell phone and everyone was taking pictures, so I didn't stand out anymore than usual. But they wouldn't even let me go to two of the four houses because it was too "ugly" (dangerous). My boss is going to be disappointed, but all of the families and coworkers agreed. My coworkers didn't go down there either. In fact they had a fit that I went to two of the four houses. But I felt safe surrounded by all of the workers.

This is one of the girls in the club.
She was wearing flip flops, so she kicked them off
to haul heavy bags of cement.
Her house is far and down a steep path.

This part is paved, but the rest is not

Heading down the path to two of the homes

It's steep and rocky!

The whole community got involved


Enough procrastinating. Time to get to work on the manual for the group for incest survivors. Soon I'll be hopping on a plane bound for the US for three months. I don't want to go with so many cool things going on here. But I'm making the most of every minute in the meantime and there's a lot to look forward to when I come back.

Friday, May 12, 2017

The Latest

Today is supposed to be my day off, but I've been sitting at my computer all day working on an interview for work. Tomorrow transportation is picking me up at 7:30 a.m. for a special campaign, so I'll have a busy day tomorrow too!

Here are some of the interviews I've done so far:


This is *Eddie. Four days a week Eddie wakes at 4 a.m. He dresses in the dark and heads out before sunrise. He walks down a steep dirt path below his house, passes through the valley floor, and climbs up another mountain to a neighboring community. There Eddie, age 15, has established a business.

It all started five years ago when Eddie was only ten. "I was walking through (the wealthier community), looking for ways to work, and the people talked to me." He noticed they threw away things which could be recycled for money.

"First one lady agreed to set aside her plastic soda bottles. Now many people save their recyclables for me. Some days it's a lot to carry. Especially when they give me car batteries. Those are heavy," Eddie said. "But I always manage."

The people of the neighborhood have come to know and look out for him. "There are two families who always ask how I'm doing," he said. "They want to know that I am still studying."

About five hours later, Eddie climbs back down the mountain and up the other side to his home, carrying his bounty for the day. He stores his recyclables behind the house and prepares for school.

Through recycling, Eddie contributes approximately $10 each week to the household. The additional income is greatly appreciated and necessary.

Eddie is not sure what he career he'll pursue. In ninth grade, he still has time to decide. His family and his mentor at Impacto Juvenil agree that Eddie's entrepreneurial mindset and exceptional work ethic will bring him a successful future!

* Name changed for confidentiality








Since the day her bus broke down on the way home from school, 14 year old *Amy* (name changed for confidentiality) knew she wanted to become a mechanic.

"We were stranded in a dangerous area. I was scared," she recalls.

In that moment Amy received inspiration. "A man on a motorcycle stopped to help. He pulled out his tools and looked over the engine. He explained what was wrong and then he fixed it!"

"My friends think I should choose a career for women. They tell me the job of a mechanic is too masculine. Some say that I am bisexual. But I don't pay attention to them because I want to be a mechanic. I will apply myself and I'll do it."

Amy, who is raised solely by her grandfather since the age of three, receives encouragement at home as well. "My Papi (she calls her grandfather "Dad") says I shouldn't pay attention to those people. He knows I want to be a mechanic and he is very supportive."









This is *Oneida.

Oneida is the mother of five children who range in age from three months to 12 years old. Her oldest is a member of Impacto Juvenil.

Through Impacto Juvenil, Oneida was able to attend the Strong Families program.

"I learned the importance of communication," Oneida said. "My children confide in me now. We talk a lot more. I never realized the importance of communication. When I understand how my kids are feeling, I am more patient and more tolerant as a mother."

"Implementing what I learned in the Strong Families program has made my home a happier place."









Mike, surrounded by his three sisters and his mother (far left). His father was working out of town on this day.


For most people a haircut is not a matter of life and death. However, in some communities of Honduras men risk being beaten or killed for the way they wear their hair.

Fifteen year old *Mike, a member of Impacto Juvenil, recently faced this situation. His mother, *Ana, and her husband realized their son's hair was attracting attention from the wrong people.

“He just wants to look like the other boys his age,” Ana said. “I understand. I wish he could have a haircut he likes.”

Mike's father noticed his son's hairstyle was attracting attention from local gang members about a month ago. The gang in his neighborhood adopted this hairstyle (longer on top, shaved short on the sides) as their identifying feature. They want it to be unique to them.

“If he kept his hair like that, they will grab him. At that point he will either have to join the gang, or he'll be killed. These are the times in which we live,” said the boy's father.

In an effort to keep their son safe, they sent Mike to get a haircut. Twice. Both times he came back with his hair still dangerously long on top. His parents were frustrated.

“Mike's always been obedient. He's never challenged us like this before. It's the first time we've had to deal with this (misbehavior),” Ana said.

Ana and her husband are grateful for training they received through Impacto Juvenil's Strong Families program.

“In Strong Families we learned to work together and never to undermine one another as parents,” Ana said.

Both Ana and her husband accompanied their son for his third trip to the barbershop. Ana felt bad as her son began to cry. He told them he feels self conscious with shorter hair because he believes it makes his ears look too big.

“I think my son is handsome. It hurt to see him cry. I was ready to give in. But my husband stood up and reached for the barber's shears. He was going to shave Mike's head. I knew I had to support my husband.”

They talked to the barber about options that might please Mike, yet still keep him safe. Suddenly Mike became disrespectful, saying the adults didn't know what they were talking about.

“I was shocked and embarrassed. I've never seen Mike behave that way. He is always respectful.”

Mike's hair was cut, but nobody was happy. “My first instinct was to hit him when we got home,” Ana admitted. Instead she went outside and used relaxation techniques she learned in the Strong Families program until she was calm.

“I used to believe hitting was the best way to teach my kids. My husband doesn't believe in physical punishment. We used to get into arguments about it.”

“In Strong Families I learned that physical punishment is not effective or healthy. Now we punish according to the gravity of the behavior and try to reward our kids when they are good.”

Communication and stress management are also skills the family learned in Strong Families classes. She and her husband sat down with Mike. They explained they really didn't want to force Mike to cut his hair, but it was necessary for his well being. Mike was still angry.

The next week a gang member followed Mike and two friends home from school. When Mike told his mother, he was clearly frightened. “Imagine if he still had his hair,” she said. “He understands now why he needed his haircut.”

“Every day when they go to school I pray,” Ana said. “I pray until they get home safe.”



Mike and his mother on laundry day, washing clothes together. “I used to do everything myself. Through Strong Families classes I realized my kids can't learn if I do everything for them. So I taught Mike to wash his own clothes. It gives him a sense of independence and teaches him responsibility. I know most boys his age don't wash their own clothes, but for him it's empowering!”











*Lilly and her son *Alan are graduates of Impacto Juvenil's Strong Families program. Every six weeks they reunite with other graduates in their community to review skills they learned in previous classes and work on new techniques. Last week one topic they reviewed was positive communication.

“You are very special to me,” Alex tells his mother.

“Awwww. Thank you,” Lilly responds with a grin. “You are a wonderful son.”

According to Lilly, Alan is already a master of positive communication. “He makes me feel special every day. He loves to make me laugh.”



* All names changed for confidentiality



So, there's a little taste of what I've been working on lately. My boss is super pleased. They are various lengths to use as Facebook posts and in the newsletter for the organization where I serve. Some will be blurbs. Others full articles.

Plus I've got swimming lessons, photo coverage of every special event, group therapy in Las Minitas, and development of the new pilot program for incest survivors. All good stuff!

Now off to the gym for PT. My ankle's been aching, tingling and swollen since I got stuck in traffic for a half an hour on the way home from church Wednesday night. Then Thursday morning I was in another traffic jam for a half an hour on the way to the office. Working the clutch is still really tough. I'm hoping PT will help, but I could use some prayer. Tomorrow I have to take pictures of a protest march, which means walking a few miles on uneven terrain. I hope it holds up.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Monday Meetings

Every Monday morning the institution where I serve has a time of devotion for all staff. It's really the only time I see the all of people who work on the projects. They make up 4/5th's of the organization, but I only see them in passing.

In our time of devotion we sing Christian songs and sometimes Honduran folk songs, which are fun to learn. Then someone gives a message and we pray together. Finally we share what happened the week before and what is to come.

This week they mentioned that 700 people attended a fund raiser in Chicago for my institution! They raised a lot of money toward building one new office where we could all fit.

They also had a meeting with Chicago city leaders about how to fight the violence in Chicago. Since I lived in Chicago for 15 years, it's close to my heart. It's my favorite big city in the US.

Initially Chicago leaders were adamant that violence in Chicago stems from different causes, so techniques we use in Honduras wouldn't apply. But after a few hours together, they realized that if a tiny organization like us can fight corruption in a government like Honduras, then they could surely handle the city of Chicago.

Between 2013 and 2016 the homicide rate in Chicago tripled, he said. (Other statistics I've read said it doubled.) In the last two years Chicago's homicide rate per population has soared higher than that of Honduras! Most stunning to me was that he said the impunity rate is also approaching that of Honduras, with 80-90% impunity in the worst sections of Chicago. (Honduras is 94-96%.) Wow! Glad I'm not doing social work there anymore. That is sad.

But I digress. Back to the devotional:

Before the devotional began I had a couple of minutes to chat with the leader of my community. She is also becoming one of my closest friends. We are together almost every day through work and we really enjoy working together. For the sake of anonymity, I will call her "Star".

I told Star that yesterday God showed me more clearly what he meant about spending three months "floating on the water". I had told her those words too. She laughed when I explained that it wasn't literal, but that I need to put my time in NY into God's hands and practice "floating" while He takes the lead. We know we should always live like this. That is when God is most powerful. Star and I are expecting big things from this trip!

This week my boss gave the devotional message. It was awesome! I felt like God was talking directly to me.

Her title was "How can we please God?" It was a lot of the same things Pastora Ruth discussed yesterday at church. My boss really got into it and so did the rest of us. At the end everyone clapped, which is unusual.

She talked about pleasing God by sitting in the back seat and letting God take the wheel. She said of all the ways to please God, that is most difficult for her. I poked Star and we both laughed. It is unsettling for me, too. But I'm going with it! Seems like something God is really trying to show me lately.

After the devotional we all separate into our individual projects. Impacto Juvenil is doing community projects right now. I was prepared to jump from community to community, taking photos of work the kids are doing to better their neighborhoods. However, it appears everyone is still getting quotes and figuring out logistics, so my week will be a normal one. Full, but not as crazy as I imagined.

Star and I got the chance to talk to our boss about inconsistency at the swimming class. Our boss immediately said she will take care of it. I love the way she gets things done.

Also, it seems we they may have resolved a problem in one of the communities we serve. The working relationship at that location between the people there and my coworkers (as well as the kids we serve) is strained. For more than six months we've been looking for another meeting place that's safe and still convenient for the kids. We may have found one! That would be a huge blessing.

Lastly, I am super excited to say that the therapist in Los Pinos asked a special favor of me today. He wondered if I would accompany him, Lorenzo, Carlos and Junior on an outing! I said of course!! I was so happy he thought of me! He said he knows how special I am to those boys. He's been looking for a way to reward them for their hard work at school. They have all been studying like crazy and working harder than ever since the meeting with their Mom after Easter. He wants to show them that dedication pays off. Sometime before I visit the US we will all go out together as a reward for their hard work. That will be a great day!

He is also starting a special tutoring project for kids with learning disabilities in Los Pinos based on the needs he sees with Lorenzo. I am so happy to see the kids I fell in love with when I first moved to Honduras get their emotional, psychological, and educational needs met!

Many things have been coming full circle in my life lately. Although I really don't want to leave Honduras for three months, I have peace knowing that the kids will all be in loving and capable hands while I'm gone. I can relax and enjoy my time there. At the same time, with all of these cool projects going on I fully look forward to coming back.