2016 Mission Trip to Our Little Roses
We met at Bethesda-by-the-Sea at 8pm. We weighed everyone´s luggage and distributed everything to 40lbs per bag. Mother Kimberly took our group picture and said a prayer over us for safe travels. Then, we departed for the airport at 8:30pm, right on time. There was light traffic on our drive to the FLL airport and we arrived at 9:30pm. After dropping off our 26 bags, Ross, Rick, and Mike parked the cars. The check-in line looked long but it went by quickly. It may have been our smoothest check-in ever. We gathered at the gate and Greg led us in a brief group prayer and then we boarded the plane. Some of the group got lucky and were bumped up to¨"big, comfy seats".
The new driver, Ruben, picked us up at the San Pedro Sula airport. We loaded our 26 bags and 13 team members and drove to OLR. It was now 2:00am, so we pitched our bags into the aprtment, assigned beds, and went to sleep as quickly as possible.
After 3 hours sleep, the day was starting. Ross and Rick set their alarms so they could go downstairs and ride in the van that takes the girls to school. It was the earliest time to see the girls who we´ve missed since our last visit over á year ago. They grow and change so much from year to year. A girl who may have been quiet and shy the previous year may now be a ýoung leader and be the first to come up and greet you. One who was troubled and questioning life´s cruelty may be well adjusted and the most outgoing on the next visit. We also change and bring renewed spirits on every visit. The ride to school is about 30 minutes. By 8am, the group gathered for a breakfast of eggs, coffee, toast, and fresh fruit. After breakfast, Mayra came to the apartment and welcomed our group. Carrie, Marty, Kaylee and Maribel are first-time visitors. Mayra updated us on the changes at the home, the girls and discussed our schedule. We took a tour of the property and saw the school, the chapel where they now have a Daughters of the King junior group. We walked through the girls home and were amazed to see the construction of the second floor. The woodshop is now a craft room, the sewing room is a computer lab, and the library is now the expanded woodshop. So much has changed, just like the rest of the world.
We were surprised to find that the paint for our first work project had already been purchased so we were ready to get started. We painted one of the girls bedrooms. We moved the beds, dusted, cut-in, rolled and brushed on the paint. The room transformed from a worn mint green to white within 2 hours. Everyone took a brush and a corner and got to work. Having only slept a few hours, we took breaks, and still mananged to finished most of the painting by lunchtime. After lunch, we took a breather and then got back to work putting the room back together in time for the girls to arrive home from school. First job completed on our first day.
After the painting Project, some of the group took a well earned nap, the pace slowed and Cordella took out a couple craft projects so we could sit with the girls and enjoy time together. Marty brought a very cute sandal project which involved tying colorful ribbon to the sandal straps. At 6pm we ate dinner and prepared to watch some videos in the girls TV room. We usually show movies on one of the playground walls but so much construction has taken place that there is no longer an open wall big enough to show a move. NOTE: we need a movie screen.
While the movies were being shown, Carrie, Marty, Cordella, and Katherine enjoyed watching the Junior Daughters of the King rehearse for their performace at the Retreat Center during Holy Week. At the request of Diana, they will perform the first three Stations of the Cross. The Junior Daughters are very active at OLR and meet once a week.
After a double feature of The Good Dinosaur and Daddy´s Home, the girls wanted a 3rd movie but our group slowly dissolved and turned in for a full night´s sleep.
Short note. We are preparing to go off property at 1pm. We´re taking 15 girls along with our group to the Retreat Center in Santa Barbara. The bus ride was one of the most lively parts of our trip so far. If you´ve never heard 30 people singing along to Justin Bieber and Drake songs, you should put it on your bucket list. There were girls braiding each other´s hair, taking pictures, and at one point the boombox was being passed through the bus. When we arrived at the Retreat Center, Sandra and Romel (who manage the property)greeted us. We set up our rooms and then set up crafts, music, and games for the girls. There were soccer balls soaring, frisbees flying, and an energetic zumba class led by the older girls. We also took a walk into the town of Santa Barbara, a small hillside community near the retreat center. We hiked up to their local church, enjoyed bagged wáter, and visited the home of some residents who had a beautiful fish pond with a small bridge built over it. That night all of us had dinner together, featuring a group prayer and homemade tortillas. We ended the evening by watching old home videos of previous mission trips. It´s always amazing to see how much the girls have grown over the years. We also had a doublé feature movie night of "Alvin and the Chipmunks" and "Ouija" (after the younger kids went to bed of course.)
After a good night´s rest, and even having had air conditioning, our group woke very slowly...one-by-one. Some gathered on the 2nd floor balcony with a cup of coffee, while others helped in the kitchen as Tia Sandra prepared breakfast. The morning was cool and the air was full of birds singing and dogs barking. We enjoyed a breakfast of eggs, refried black beans, tortillas, and juice. After breakfast Greg led us in a prayer service in the chapel and Rick handed out prayer partner letters. Then, we took a walk down to the field beside the river. Some in our group played Ultimate Frisbee with the girls, and others helped the girls catch tadpoles along the riverbank. After an energetic game of Ultimate Frisbee, with a score of 5-4, we returned to the Retreat Center for some much needed water. We packed our bags, ate lunch and then departed for San Pedro Sula.
At 2pm we arrived back at the home, just in time for a special service with Bishop Leo Frade. The Junior Daughters of The King participated in all aspects of the church service from acolytes, lectors, audio/video and even alter guild.
After worship, we all changed back into our t-shirts and shorts and did various crafts and games with the girls. We made more soap, did some drawing and coloring, and even played an old-school game of jacks. The girls have a new foosball table as well which the younger children love to play.
Following a wonderful dinner of tortillas, flank steak, pico de gallo, and refried beans, we stopped in for a quick break in the apartment before going back for another movie night with the girls. Sincé it was a school night, we were limited to just one movie, "Inside Out". Some of our group continued to make crafts with the girls who did not watch the movie. After Evening Prayer back in the apartment, the group went to sleep looking forward to the following day.
Monday morning was a "day around town". After breakfast, the entire group piled into the OLR bus to visit with Dr. Jensy at her brand new dental clinic. Dr. Jensy designed the office to be bright and cheery and welcoming! She rents one of the exam rooms to another dentist. Dr. Jensy is also a university instructor in the afternoon. She feels blessed to have been given the opportunity to grow up at Our Little Roses where she was nurtured and encouraged to "reach for the stars". After our brief visit with Dr. Jensy, we went to the Guamilito arts and crafts market where the group found gifts to bring home. In addition to the arts and crafts, the market has a corridor where women make tortillas. Some of our group had a conversation with one of the women where we learned that they work in the heat making tortillas from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm each day. Usually mothers and daughters will work together doing this job. The woman we talked to graciously offered us some tortillas to take with us. We then dropped off most of the group for lunch back at the home, where they were joined by Diana and Bishop Frade. Cordella, Ross, and Idalmis continued shopping with a trip to PriceSmart. PriceSmart is the Costco of Central America, Colombia, and the Caribbean. We purchased a large coffeemaker and a microwave for the home, and all the supplies for the March birthday party (cake, ice cream, soda, plates, cups, napkins, spoons). After lunch we took our donations to the ofiice. Carrie, Marty, Brittany, Mary, Katherine, Idalmis, and Ross arranged everything neatly in the conference room. WOW - we were suprised that our donations piles filled the top of the table and all of the chairs! And a wonderful, surpise donation was made by a friend of Maribel and Kaylee - 13 beautiful Quinceañera and graduation gowns!Monday evening, on the cancha, we celebrated the "March" birthday girls - Sharol (18) and Cindy (17) (a.k.a. Maria Jose). We also celebrated Rosenda´s Quiceañera a Little early - her 15th birthday is in June. The cancha is a large, covered, outdoor play area used for assemblies, presentations, gym class, recess, and fiestas. Everyone in the group sure looked like they were having fun interacting and playing with the girls!