Daily Journal:,January 10, 2006
Day 1 (Tue):
We gathered at church by 8:00 a.m., loaded our luggage and boarded a bus for Miami International Airport by 8:30 a.m. Our group, from both Bethesda-by-the-Sea and St. Edward's includes Cecie, Trish, Cordella, Bonnie, Paige, Ann, Brittany, Lolly, Julie, Lexci, Cynthia, Pat, Holly, Kelly, Mary Katherine, Francesca, Madeleine, John, Troy, Eric, and Rick. There are 21 people in our group and we managed to pack 42 duffel bags and 21 carry-ons into the bus with an inch to spare. Though traffic was very heavy going to the airport, our driver took some back roads and was able to get us to Miami on time, even with a stop at the Pompano rest area for snacks and a restroom break. Sounds fairly standard, but it was actually a planned stop designed to expedite check-in at Miami International Airport. The reasoning behind this was that we wouldn't need to use the restrooms as soon as we arrived at the airport - the group wouldn't become scattered and we could 'breeze' through check-in. Well, as easy as a group of 21 can expect to 'breeze' through an international airport!
The flight was fairly routine - pretzels, something to drink, and an in-flight movie. Not bad, considering the entire flight was just a bit over 2 hours. Honduras appeared on the horizon and all eyes were glued to the view of the green countryside as the landscape unfolded beneath us. We managed to keep everyone together, retrieved our 42 pieces of luggage, carry-ons not included, and stuffed the bags into and onto the bus for the 20-minute ride to Our Little Roses. Half the group are returning missionaries and half are here for the first time. Katie, a Peace Corps volunteer in Honduras, as well as Julie's niece, met us at the home and we are now a group of 22. When we arrived, the girls in the home immediately surrounded us and we began the dance of greeting, meeting, and renewing friendships. With one more exhausted effort we moved our bags up the flight of stairs to our apartment and finally, we were settled....for a few minutes.
Next, was the welcoming reception in the chapel by Xiomara and Mayra, followed by a tour of the home by Violet - a volunteer from The Netherlands. Dinner prepared by Miriam, the cook in the little girl's home, was marinated chicken breasts, mixed fresh vegetables, huge baked potatoes, and Italian bread (well, it was more like the Honduran version of Italian, French, or Cuban bread). The rest of the evening was spent exploring the home and playing soccer on the playground. John and Rick managed to help Francis with her physics homework despite the language barrier compounded by the subject matter. She was grateful and may have even enjoyed the unusual lesson on Sir Issac Newton's 2nd Law.
As night set in, one by one, everyone started showing signs of exhaustion and by 10 p.m. local time, after Compline, led by Cecie, it was lights out.
Day 2 (Wed):
Breakfast consisting of pancakes and fresh fruit - bananas, papaya, and watermelon was followed by Morning Prayer in the same room - the Little Girl's dining room. Because the chapel was in use, Cecie had to improvise at the last minute. A quick rearranging of tables and chairs transformed the area into a makeshift chapel. Next, we held the organizing meeting with the staff, set our schedule, and then set out to locate the craft boxes we left behind from the March 2005 mission trip. Lunch was subs brought in from Subway. We were better prepared this trip as Paige and Lexci took everyone's order, Cordella translated it to Spanish, and the 4-page order was handed to the person making the subs. The afternoon was spent doing crafts and playing soccer with the girls. Troy and Eric got a workout because these girls really know how to play soccer! Meanwhile, the sewing room was buzzing with Ann, Katie, Cordella, and the girls making belts. Cordella, Bonnie, Ann, Brittany, and Lexci instructed the girls on creating laminated woven, paper place-mats. Holly, Pat, Francesca, Brittany, and Lexci crafted colorful bouquets of paper flowers with the girls. Rick, John, Lexci, Brittany, Troy, Eric, Francesca, Kelly, Mary Katherine, Madeleine and a group of girls from the home as well as a couple of kids from the on-site Holy Family Bilingual School painted a section of the perimeter wall on the playground (la cancha) so we could use it as a movie screen. Julie, Ann, and Pat instructed the girls on knitting and crocheting. It's very addicting as Katie, Madeleine, Brittany, Lexci, and Francesa continued knitting well into the evening. We also helped with homework and sharing some personal time talking with the girls.
Wednesday evening we enjoyed dinner at Applebee's, but by the time we returned, it was too late to show a movie. We tried out the video projector using the speakers from the school and both the sound and picture clarity were amazing! We are so excited to show a movie tomorrow night. The evening ended with Cecie leading Compline and finalizing the next day's plans.
Day 3 (Thur):
Ahhh, Day 3 and we've settled into our daily routine - all of the new members of this mission trip have become more comfortable with their surroundings. Breakfast consisted of a variety of cereal, toast, and fresh fruit - bananas, papaya, watermelon, and pineapple. At 8:30 a.m., Cecie held Morning Prayer in the "Capilla" (Chapel) and in closing, she invited the group to consider the possibility that each and every one of us was called to participate in this mission as the answer to someone's prayer. What a wonderful and powerful thought to begin our day!
John and Rick ran errands and purchased cabinets for the sewing room. Pat and Holly were brave souls and gave the 2 resident dogs - we think they're Cocker Spaniels or Poodles, maybe Cockapoos - a much needed BATH! Cecie enjoyed coloring books with the little girls while Lexci, Troy, Paige, Madeleine, Mary Katherine, Kelly, Brittany, Katie, and Francesca made tie dyed t-shirts with the girls. They were joined by Julie after she beautified the compound by picking up litter. Paige & Lolly went grocery shopping - we're a hungry group of 22! After tie dyeing, Cordella, Katie, Madeleine, Brittany, Francesca, Kelly, Mary Katherine, and Troy had fun creating "stained-glass windows" with the girls.
Miriam made us wonderful pulled-pork subs for lunch. Not barbecued like we're used to in South Florida, but rather, marinated, Honduran style topped with slices of cheese, tomatoes, and lettuce, with bananas for dessert. After lunch, we rode the school bus with about 40 of the girls to the movie theater. We treated them to the movie Chronicles of Narnia, complete with soda and popcorn. Although John was looking forward to seeing the movie, he opted to stay behind to patch holes with cement in the "movie wall". He really wanted it to look perfect! Prior to the trip, Ann collected donated medical supplies, and while the rest of the group was at the movies, Cynthia took the time to inventory the supplies. Dinner was burgers, fries, and soda from Burger King - the girls love hamburgers so it was a real treat for them. Following dinner, we all enjoyed watching the Disney movie, Shark Tales, on the "movie wall". But, as with all things having anything to do with audio visual and computer technology, it's practically a requirement to have a glitch, and it's almost never a small glitch! Thank goodness Rick's a certified AV geek. After what seemed like an eternity (to him), and much rigging of wires and general troubleshooting, there was SOUND! The audio was in Spanish and the subtitles were in English.
At 9:30 p.m., Cynthia led the group in Compline. Afterwards, everyone gathered around the laptop to view the day, captured in pictures. It's nice that there are so many who are taking pictures each day, and even better that we all get to view Our Little Roses through someone else's eyes.
Day 4 (Fri) Jan 13th:
A beautiful sunny morning here in San Pedro Sula, Honduras - we
gathered for breakfast at 7:30 a.m. which was a delicious variety of scrambled eggs, sausage, tortillas, cheese and oj. We departed at 8:30 a.m. for our day at the beach with 27 of our little play-pals and a couple of Tias (dorm mothers) in our party. Hotel La Playa was our destination - about an hour's drive to the northeast. The beach was wonderful but the biggest hit with the girls was the pool which had TWO water slides! Everyone swam and played volleyball, and Rick helped with the flying of kites. Midway, a delicious lunch was served - fried chicken, rice and beans and a salad. Then, back in the pool or the ocean for the girls. We watched as a group of ten cows sauntered down the beach. We took a group photo of all of us, which we'll post on this site, so you'll know what a good time we had. It was a very special time for us as well as the girls.
Upon returning from the beach, Rick, John, Brittany, Troy, Eric and a group of girls from the home went next door to the park to play soccer and basketball. Each Thursday and Friday, a soccer coach comes to the home and walks the girls next door to play soccer on a real field (grass and dirt). On the other days of the week, the girls play soccer in the covered play area (la cancha) which is cement - rather hard on the legs and feet and definitely no diving for the ball!
Day 5 (Sat) Jan 14th:
Another early day as part of the group prepared for a drive to the Copan Mayan Ruins. Everyone was busy preparing for the 3 hour bus ride while Rick, Eric, Paige and Lolly laid out the supplies for a day of working around the home. Rick picked up new screens for the sewing room, began painting the sewing room with Tirza. Rick and Tirza ran to the store and he helped her buy some supplies for school and for the transition home.
The group had a wonderful trip to Copan. They toured the entire grounds of the Mayan Ruins, walked the paths, climbed the pyramids, and wondered at the 2000 year old artifacts. They stopped off for lunch at a small town where the waiters delivered items to the table balanced atop their heads. They returned to the home around 9pm, exhausted.
It turns out several people awoke in the morning with knots in their stomach but no one mentioned it. As a result while on the bus ride two people developed upset stomachs. Eric and Rick, back at the home, had the same symptoms. By the end of the day 8 people had a full blown case of upset stomach. Everyone suspects their illness was caught at the beach either from dirty beach water after the tide changed or from ice cream which they ate on the beach. A momentary lowing of their guard. Both cases should give everyone cause to take caution on future trips.
Day 6 (Sun) Jan 15th:
By 8am it was clear several in the group needed to see a doctor so they took a ride to the clinic. Troy was on the verge of dehydration so an IV was in order. Everyone else received a shot of antibiotics and a 3 day prescription. While getting sick was not part of the plan, experiencing the health care first hand was quite interesting. The entire group of 8 were treated by a doctor for what would amount to a co-pay in the U.S.A. The prescription was also far less expensive than anyone expected.
The other part of our group managed to make it to Sunday service at the Episcopal Cathedral. Mass was celebrated in English and Spanish. Even if the words we're foreign, the liturgy was familiar. The hymns and prayers were easily recognizable.
After taking their medicine everyone returned to the apartment for a nap. By 1pm some were feeling slightly better and managed to make the group activity of taking the girls to a new water park in San Pedro Sula. While the park may have resembled Rapids waterpark in WPB it wasn't easy to miss that only the wealthy Hondurans could aford to pay the $15/day fee for their family. It was a very big treat for the girls to enjoy such a treat. The weather was overcast which made it a little chilly but no one noticed running so much from one slide to the other. After 3 hours the group returned to the home where dinner was served and a movie was shown outdoors for the older girls.
Day 7 (Mon) Jan 16th:
The last day is always a mad dash to finish projects, spending some quality time wiht the girls and preparing for the trip home. Almost everyone awoke early to get an early jump on the day. An american breakfast of toast and cereal was quickly eaten and everyone then returned to the chapel for morning prayer several of the girls joined us. Cecie presented holy eucharist and the group offered prayers for the girls and gave thanks for a wonderful week. After chapel everyone was off to work. The sewing room was finished and put back together, the tbale and seats for the room were touched up and final artistic touches were added by Pat and Holly. A large underwater (wallpaper) mural was put up in the TV room, and the final craft projects were offered. The group almost didn't stop for lunch. Every ounce of energy was spent and by the end of the day the sugar induced made pace began to slow.
The girls prepared a traditional dance performance for us which was beautiful. We in turn responded with a 45 minute singing performance in the chapel prepared by Julie and the "Von Trapp Singers". We returned to the concha for a final performance by the girls and then enjoyed birthday cake to celebrate the January birthdays and a Mexican dinner. Our outdoor movie theater had another showing and everyone stumbled back to their rooms around 10pm. No one wanted the last night to end.
Day 8 (Tue) Jan 17th:
Departure day. The girls started calling for us outside our door shortly after sunrise. Rick managed to make it to the gate to see Lilian off as she left for school. An inventory was taken of the supplies we left for our next trip. part of the group managed to prepare their bags early and found time to make it to the craft market. It is difficult to return to the U.S. with picking up some traditional hand carved wood objects, hand embroidered items or pottery. Supporting the local artists also plays a role in helping the local economy. Even after emptying all the donated items and supplies it seemed like we had as many bags going home as we brought down. Bags were packed, labeled, and loaded on the bus by noon. By Shortly after final goodbyes were made between tears, hugs and promises that we will return soon.,
This being the 3rd trip our group has made to Our Little Roses we have gained insight and perspective on the importance of the home. Diana Frade has built an oaisis for these girls who would have no other means to be rescued from horrible poverty and abuse. The home is woven into the local fabric of the community not only as a beacon of hope but also by providing jobs, an educational institution, and contributing to the local economy. The girls accept and bond so quickly with people in the visiting groups as if they were visiting family members. We truly feel like cousins, aunts and uncles to everyone one of the girls. Through every group that visits the home, these girls experience and see the love Christ has taught us to share. They in turn share their extraordinary gifts with each visitor who is healed in their own separate way. While it is sad to say goodbye we are comforted in knowing the next group will pick up where we left off and these girls will continue to grow and develop into a generation that will change the future for Honduras. Keep the girls of Our Little Roses in your prayers and also the groups that are called to help them.