Saturday, March 28, 2009
We managed to depart from Bethesda by 1030am just as planned. AT the Miami airport we went through the usual dance of checking 30 pieces of luggage for 15 people. We found ourselves holding the proverbial bag, with bag number 31. Luck was with us and it turned out being a bag of donated clothes. Everyone took one handful and fit it into their carry-on avoiding the $100 fee for an extra piece of luggage. Bonnie was our angel paying the $50 fee for one piece that was over weight. After clearing the security checks we stopped for a bite to eat in the food court and then it was on to our gate with time to spare. We boarded the plane, rolled away from our gate and just when we thought we were heading out the plane was towed back to the terminal for a repair to the auxilary power unit. That only made us slightly nervous. About a 1 hour delay and we were in the air. We arrived in San Pedro Sula about 90 minutes late. After we retrieved our luggage, Mayra and Danilo met us
and we were off to Our Little Roses.
We arrived about 2 hours late which paced us under just a little pressure to unload the bags and arrive for dinner Miriam, the cook, could head home to see her family. After dinner we had time to play some soccer, talk and introduce everyone to the girls. The rest of us had to get re-acquainted with the girls because they have grown so much. We were back in our apartment by 900pm and Cecie held an evening prayer giving thanks for the guiding hand of God having delivered us safely to our destination.
There is a 2hr time difference because Honduras does not reset for daylight saving time. It is 1135pm now and everyone but Cordella and Rick have gone to bed.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
The got off to a slow start. Everyone was downstairs and ready for breakfast by 800am. One of the buses is being repaired so the girls left for church at 900am and then Danilo returned to pick us up at 1000am. We made it to the Episcopal Cathedral for 1030am service. Waldy served as crucifer. We were surprised to find out it was a special service to honor the retirement of Honduran Bishop Molina as he surrendered his position. We were also present for a baby christening. After the service the girls stayed for Sunday school and our group departed for La Cebollina restaurant. Maria Jose, Tania and Mayra were the lucky girls allowed to join us. There was an extra special celebration for Maria Jose because it was her birthday. We returned to the home and as it was the last Sunday of the month it was family visitation day. We arrived back in time to meet brothers, sisters and family members of some of the girls. The majority did not have visitors so we helped them with homework, handed out the play-dough and made soap. Laura did great hand making tortillas with the girls in the kitchen and Julia was busy helping make the soap. It all went better than planned. Dinner time really came quicker than expected and by the time the sun went down we were setting up for movie night. She's The Man. The girls loved it and we loved sitting still for 90 minutes watching them laugh and enjoy the movie. We're back in the room sharing stories about the day. Things we saw, experienced and When we return, try to corner one of the mission team members and ask them about the group discussion on Sunday night. hmmmm
View our Pictures
Monday, March 30, 2009
The day began with an interesting mix of music coming from the sound system we use for showing movies. Rick says that is how the NASA astronauts are awoken each day. After a quick breakfast Cecie held a morning prayer session. There are so many things to remind us to give thanks. Rick met with Mayra and then Jim, Sean and Rick went shopping for paint and a few items from the local market. When they returned painting got underway in a hurry and the craft projects were well underway. The morning went by quickly as everyone worked. After lunch and a brief rest the groups were off and running again to finish what had been started. By 5pm 3 bedrooms had been painted and banners for the chapel were near completion. Bonnie had a special visit from Jasmin who was allowed to come onto the property and sit in the gazeebo so they could talk. Jasmin's plans fell through along with the economy. Against Diana's wishes she stepped out on her own to claim her independence. With the job she had she planned to continue her education paying for it herself. When she lost her job she lost the ability to pay for her classes and since she had emancipated herself she is outside the home and responsible for herself. Bonnie's and Rick tried to council her, assuring her that she is loved. She was in need of advice which Bonnnie and Rick tried to give her along with words of encouragement. While Bonnie spent some one-on-one time with Jasmin Rick managed to fly one of his kites with Jasmin's nephew and some of the smaller girls. After a delicious dinner of grilled chicken all the girls turned out for movie night. Movies on the basketball court are a favorite activity for our group and the girls. After the movie we said good night and gave hugs to all the girls as we returned to our apartment. Cecie and Rick held a brief group meeting to reflect on the things that went well and things that could have gone better. Everyone agreed there isn't enough time in the day to complete all the things we want to do. Some of the group watched went to sleep early while the others watched another movie in the room. Our plans are set for tomorrow.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
The day started just like yesterday at 7:00am being woken up by the sounds of Peter Frampton, Jimmy Buffet and Black Eyed Peas. Cecie held service and communion in the chapel. Reverend Valerie, from Ft. Myers joined us, who has been volunteering at the home for the past 6 months. After the service Rick made a run to the store for more paint and electrical outlet covers while the work projects and craft projects got under way. Rick also stopped by the transition house to visit Lillian and Tirza. With more paint we were able to finish painting the girls bedroom and bathroom. There was a brief pause as everyone stopped to eat lunch and rest, but they were right back to work by 2:00. Craft projects included the canvas bags, more play-dough, making greeting cards and assembling the adirondack chairs. Waldy really enjoyed helping assemble the chairs with Rick. The girls have exams all week so there was a big demand for tutoring help. Cecie, Bonnie and Trish traveled one hour north to visit the Retreat Center. They said it looked fantastic and it was almost ready to open. As the sun started to set it was time to clean-up and prepare to go for our off-site dinner. Mayra rewarded ten of the girls by selecting them to join our group for dinner at Don Udos restaurant. There are so many reasons why we enjoy having an off-site dinner each time we visit the home: the food is great, it gives us quality time with the girls, we see how the successful Honduran families dine out, and it's a great time for the mission team to unwind and relax after working so hard. We didn't return to the the home until 9:00pm just like tia Belky predicted. Most everyone was tired and went straight to bed after arriving back to the home but a few members of the team still had energy to burn. Allison V. painted greeting cards, Elizabeth read, Jim read, Laura colored, Cordella cut paper and Rick updated the website. And, we can't forget Sean's show of machismo as he replaced the 5gal. bottle of water on the water cooler. It will be an early day tomorrow as we prepare to go on our field trip taking 39 of the girls to the Ocote forest and lagoon.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Rick started the wake-up call at 7:00am by playing his assorted collection of music. Cecie requested classical but Rick played Cajun Zydeco. He took requests from the people who got out of bed first so Trish requested the Eagles and Allison requested "Allison" by Elvis Costello. We had just enough time for breakfast and to get ready to leave. Rick wore a t-shirt which he had all the girls autograph for him. It was a one hour ride to Ocote during which we passed factories (sweat shops), banana plantations, sugar cane fields and mountains. Later tonight there is a big soccer game between Honduras and Mexico so there where street vendors everywhere were selling Honduran banners and flags. We bought some and flew them from the bus as we drove which excited all the girls and several people beeped their horns in support. Ocote turned out to be a fantastic field trip. It was a family owned park on 180 acres where they constructed 4 swimming pools in a cascading terrace. The pools are fed by a natural spring which also fills two ponds. The girls from OLR had a great time swimming and playing with the beach toys Allison J. bought for the trip. The men carried the girls on their shoulders for chicken fights tried to divided their time among all the girls who competed for their attention. After a fantastic barbeque chicken lunch several from our group felt adventurous enough to try the zip-line. The zip-line is a cable stretched across the two ponds that you zip down while hanging from a rope. The owner of the park signaled when to let go and the person would drop into the pond. After Troy and Rick gave it a test zip, the line formed and there wasn't enough time for everyone who wanted to try it. We'll post some videos of the zip-line soon. After a full day of water and fun it was time to drive back to the home. Along the way excitement was building for the big soccer game and we saw more people with decorated cars and flying their flags.
When we arrived back at OLR, and we had a delicious dinner prepared by Mariam. She changes the menu each night and tonight we had barbeque beef. Rick setup his video equipment and we looked at photos and videos from the day. There wasn't much time to look at all the pictures because the soccer game started at 7:30. We moved to the TV room in the girls home and we watched as Honduras beat Mexico 3 to 1. The girls went absolutely crazy every time Honduras scored a goal. At the end of the game you could hear fireworks form the surrounding neighborhood. Everyone returned to the apartment after the game and we held a group meeting. Rick and Cecie handed out envelopes from our prayer partners which lifted everyone hearts reading the words of support from everyone who were praying for us. Prayer partner letters bring our minds back to the main reason we are on the trip and remind us of the gifts we sometimes take for granted, such as family and friends. The meeting was followed by a movie in the room for the people who still had energy to stay awake. It was the last night for Cecie and Clint, as they would be leaving the next day, so they had to pack their bags.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
The wake-up call was much more mellow today. Rick started with jazz and eased his way into rap-music for the stragglers who were slow getting out of bed. Cecie held a morning prayer session and team prayed for a safe flight. After having breakfast everyone boarded the bus to take Cicie and Clint to the airport. As it turns out, the flight was delayed and they ended up being delayed almost 4 hours in the airport before they took off. The rest of the team continued on to La Guamilito Market. The market was an indoor collection of stalls where vendors sell everything from fresh tortillas, paintings, carved wood and hand woven blankets. Everyone enjoyed bargain hunting and searching for the perfect souvenirs to bring home. It tool a little longer than expected to find Elizabeth and Troy as they were enjoying some of the fresh food in the food court area. Trish, Bonnie and Rick picked up a pinata and 2 cakes for the birthday party that we were going to celebrate later tonight.
We were back at OLR by noon. At lunch we delivered the pots and pans to the OLR kitchen. We used part of our work budget to purchase new pans, knives and utensils for the kitchen. After lunch it was a mad dash to finish any remaining projects but we soon ran out of time trying to finish installing electrical covers, making banners for the chapel and making paper chains for party decorations. Rick setup the video equipment as everyone hung decorations on the basketball court (al concha). We ate dinner in the girls dining hall. It was fun watching how they manage to feed 75 girls and clean-up so quickly. Everyone from our group intermixed with the girls as we ate our last meal in the home together. After dinner everyone moved to the basketball court for videos and music. Rick showed a combination of photos from the week with photos of past trips. The girls requested to see photos from our home so Rick managed to show some pictures he had taken at Bethesda along with some recent vacation pictures. It was school night and the girls had exams so we had to cut the videos short so we would have time for the pinata, cake and the confetti eggs. Almost all the girls had a turn to whack the pinata before the candy spilled to the ground where it was a mad scrabble as the girls filled their pockets with treats. The confetti eggs were hollowed chicken eggs filled with confetti which they smashed on everyone's heads. It was a lot of fun, but it made a horrible mess, which we helped clean up. The party ended by 8:30 so the girls wouldn't be to tired for school but several people on our team still had energy enough to watch a movie back in the apartment. Everyone else packed their bags and went to sleep early planning to wake by 5:30 so they could see the girls one more time before they left for school at 6:00am.
Friday, April 3, 2009
Cordella stayed up late packing an inventorying craft supplies. Rick was up by 4:00am packing the tools and writing letters for the girls. With a flashlight and a poke everyone was woken early so they could go downstairs to say goodbye. As the girls were ready for school they came out to share one last hug and say goodbye. It's so hard to leave when it seems our friendships are just starting to take hold, but that's also what brings us back each year. One-by-one the girls said goodbye and boarded the bus for school. There was one empty seat so Rick jumped on-board with his video camera and rode to school with the girls. They attend different middle and high schools depending on their abilities. By 8:00 everyone met in the kitchen for one last breakfast prepared by Mariam. We loaded the bus in preparation for leaving for the airport by 9:00am. The last few minutes were sad as we said goodbye to the few girls who didn't have school that morning. Trish and Rick took care of the last administration items and we were on our way.
At the airport we had enough time to check-in, do some last minute gift shopping and board the plane. BUT, THERE WAS ONE PROBLEM! Jim couldn't find the green piece of paper that should have been stapled to his passport which was his entrance visa. As a result he was delayed and missed the flight. Luckily he was able to make the next flight which left just minutes later and brought him into Miami at almost the exact same time as the original flight. Julia had a slight problem when she realized she hadn't filled out the customs form that was handed out on the plane so she and Rick ran to get one before her turn in line. After a few more gray hairs on Rick's head everyone was accounted for, they made it thought immigration, our luggage was waiting at the baggage area and everyone made it through customs without any issues. The last detail was locating our rides home. After a few phone calls John, Thorne, Joseph and Ricks Dad were located and everyone was heading north on I-95 for home.
It was a great trip. Everyone had a turn to interact with the girls, do some work, participate on a craft project and enjoy an off-site trip. The girls enjoyed every minute of our visit as several of them mentioned in the letters and cards we received before we left OLR. We are already thinking of our trip next year and how we can make it even better. As we unpack our souvenirs and are greeted by our families there is always a strong pull on our hearts to want to return and share the love and gifts we realize we are so blessed to have. God bless all of the girls at Our Little Roses, the staff that care for them, the mission teams that visit each year and the family and friends that support the mission teams each year.