Our Little Roses, 2017updated: 2017-03-19
Journal of Our Trip

April 28

We leave for our trip at 8:30pm tonight. The day was off to an exciting start. Kaylee was successful in getting to Miami to renew her passport in person, but Mary called to tell us her flight from Colorado was cancelled. BAM! Luckily Mary was able to re-book and arrive by 8:15pm to meet up with our group at the FLL airport. Meanwhile, the rest of our group met at Bethesda at 8:00pm as planned. We arranged our donated items making sure all 14 bags weighed in at 40lbs exactly. We have clothes, dental supplies, office supplies, a popcorn machine, 3 WhirleyPop popcorn poppers, a wooden Adirondack chair, a garbage disposal and a weather station. Amazingly, it all fit and all our bags fit into two cars. We were off to the airport by 8:30pm. The ride was relaxing and there was no traffic. BAM! Next surprise, there were over 200 people waiting in line outside Terminal 4 at the FLL airport. After we dropped off the bags and 6 team members, Ross and Rick parked the cars, made it back to Terminal 4 and then nervously inched along in line with the rest of the group. After about 20 minutes, an attendant shouted, "SAN PEDRO SULA!" and we were taken inside to check-in 90 minutes before our flight was scheduled to leave. What a relief. We used the kiosks to buy more checked bags and then we checked in. BAM! We had to pay for 3 extra bags. We rushed over to TSA security and it was another hurry-up-and-wait moment. We had 15 minutes until boarding. We made it to the gate with a few minutes to spare, so we quickly stocked up on drinks and snacks for the flight. The flight was full, but it was our first chance to relax leaving the stress of the airport behind us. We now turned our attention to what lie in front of us: the girls at OLR, the home and the work. For 1hr 55min we relaxed and enjoyed the flight. We landed in Honduras at 1:00am local time. All the sleepy travelers were herded through Immigration, and BAM! they narrowly escaped a log jam of people on the escalator. FUN! We gathered our bags, suffered through a brief security check of a few bags and then we were outside the airport being greeted by Danilo, our driver from OLR. Finally, we were on the bus zipping along the deserted streets, making it to OLR by 2:00am. We hauled the bags up to the room, voted on room assignments and then it was lights out by 2:30am. BAM!

March 1

Ross, Kaylee, and Rick were downstairs by 6:30am to join the girls on the bus ride to school. The streets of San Pedro Sula were crowded with buses, cars, and trucks as everyone hurried to start the day. We dropped off 8 girls at the middle school, 6 girls at the technical school, and then we dropped off Vanessa who is attending a special needs school. It was fun sitting with the girls on the bus and looking over their homework from last night. Suyapa showed us her biology homework - she is learning about cells and cell division. We drove back to OLR and gathered up the rest of the group for breakfast at 8:30am. Shortly after, Diana and Mayra came up to the apartment to welcome us and tell us about all the new things at OLR. She is with us for just one day and then she is going to the Miami Film Festival to participate on a panel following the premiere of BEYOND THE WALL, a documentary that takes place at OLR. Quick summary of the first day: we met with Diana, toured the new transition apartments on the 2nd floor of the girls' home (fantastic!), and had lunch in the girls' dining room now that the volunteer dining room has been converted into a music room. Rick, Kimberly, and Cordella went grocery shopping at Comisariato Los Andes. Returning to OLR, we met all the new girls, played jacks, and just took it easy for our first day in Honduras. At 4:00pm we had an Ash Wednesday service in the chapel. Mother Kimberly served on the altar with Father Gustavo. After service we had dinner, walked around the campus and turned in early. We were all very tired having only slept for a few hours the night before. Rick advised everyone to get some rest because the work begins tomorrow.
Our meals:
Breakfast - pancakes, toast, butter, honey, grape jelly, bananas, watermelon, cantaloupe, oj, coffee, milk.
Lunch - Fettuccine Alfredo with broccoli, "Italian" bread, soda; no meat because it was Ash Wednesday.
Dinner - rice & red beans, shredded queso fresco, crema, fried eggs, plantains, bananas, soda, water

March 2

Rick, Mary, and Brittany were downstairs by 6:15am to ride on the bus to school with the girls.BAM! Rick almost missed the bus. At the middle school, Rick stepped into a classroom full of students waiting for their teacher. He greeted everyone, introduced himself, got a good vibe from the room and then switched into high gear. He took a few questions and then began speaking Spanish, teaching them about the Amish in the USA. Brittany has most of it on video. We returned by 7:30am, gathered the rest of the group and painting supplies, and went downstairs for breakfast. After breakfast, we scraped the walls then painted the dining room. With all that new found energy, we finished in just 2 hours. All the girls go to school in the morning so we earned some time to rest and cool off. After a brief rest, we hauled all the donations to the office. The pile was enormous, as if it exploded from our duffel bags. We had office supplies, a mountain of clothes, 300 tubes of toothpaste donated by Dr. Lam DDS, shoes, handbags, socks, undergarments, and toys. With the extra room in the apartment we started to organize the birthday presents and popcorn. By then it was time for lunch. The paint had dried and the dining room was ready for use. After lunch, we popped two batches of popcorn on the stove using one of the WhirleyPop poppers. It was a hit! You load it with a cup of popcorn, a little bit of oil, set it on the stove and turn the crank. Genesis popped the first batch and she had fun! Everyone gave it a good review and we have a short video of the results. Kimberly and Kaylee sat on the floor and played jacks with the girls, Brittany and several of the older girls painted their nails, and some helped with homework while Mary and Rick went to install the weather station. A BloomSky weather station was installed outside the office at the top of the stairs. You can check this first weather station in Honduras online and view a live picture of the sky H ERE (89deg.F 92%humidity).
It was time again to relax and escape from the heat while we get ready for the Holy Family Bilingual School's senior class fund raiser at Pizza Hut tonight at 5:00pm.
Our meals:
Breakfast - cereal Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds, cereal Ralston Foods Oats & More with Almonds, toast, grape jelly, peanut butter, bananas, cantaloupe, pineapple, oj, coffee, milk
Lunch - beef soup (beef with bones, potatoes, small green plantains, yuca, carrots, green bell pepper, baby corn), rice, lime wedges, tortillas, papaya, pineapple, soda
Dinner - Holy Family Bilingual School Senior Class Fund Raiser at Pizza Hut - sausage pizza, ham pizza, pepperoni pizza, meat & veggies pizza, wings/chicken nuggets/carrots/celery/ranch dipping sauce, breadsticks with thick salsa-like dip, potato wedges, soda, water

March 3

We awoke to the sound of rain. A small shower passed over the home which cooled off the air and washed all the plants. Rick was the only one with enough energy to go on the bus with the girls this morning. After dropping off the girls, they stopped by the medical clinic for Diana, Ricci, and Yuber who wern't feeling well. Back at OLR, the group was getting ready for breakfast. After breakfast we prepared to paint the kitchen. Timing is important because we wanted to minimize the disruption for the cooks, Miriam and Bernarda, who had to prepare lunch for when the girls got back from school. We prepped for painting by moving the freezer, removing items from the counter, taping the edges of the cabinets, windows, and light switches, and scrubbing the walls. The plan was to start painting behind the big commercial stove and work our way around clockwise. But, after a few minutes, everyone had a brush or a roller and we we were painting all surfaces at once. Some walls needed two coats - it was difficult moving the ladder to get the high spots. We finished in just under 2 hours. We put everything back and lunch was on-time and ready when the girls got home. After painting, we cleaned the brushes. There was enough time to walk upstairs to the Holy Family Bilingual School where Cordella, Ross, Kimberly, and Rick read to the Pre-K, Kindergarten, and Second Grade classrooms. They read stories in English. The assistant teachers in the Pre-K and Kinder classrooms were transition-home girls from OLR - Katherine and Yasmin (formerly Marta) who are both in university now. In the Pre-K classroom we saw Ashley, daughter of the older Jasmine, "the artist". We judged a "crazy dress-up" competition in which the Pre-K students came to school dressed as Dr. Seuss' Cat in the Hat, a scientist, a fireman, and ballerinas. Some were dressed in their pajamas, and some had mismatching shoes. Afterwards, Rick went with Danilo to the store to buy ClearCoat to seal The Last Supper mural in the dining room - maybe this will be a project for Sunday afternoon. They went to several stores until they found what they needed. Very shortly after returning, Rick and Mary went back out with Danilo to pick up the girls from ballet class and to pick up Kathy from technical school. It was interesting going out during Friday rush hour traffic after a rainstorm. Lots and lots of traffic. Back at the home, the group was resting and cleaning up for dinner. Right after dinner it was movie time, but because it had rained, we opted to watch 2 movies in the TV room instead of going outside and setting up the projector on the cancha (large, covered play area). We watched The Secret Life of Pets, then the little ones went to bed. With the older girls we watched La La Land. The TV room was stiflingly hot because most of the windows were closed and it rained several times during the movies. We had lots of fun watching the movies and eating popcorn we had popped. The popcorn poppers worked out really well. The electric popper made a batch in under 4-minutes, after it warmed up. The 3 stovetop WhirleyPop poppers popped large quantities, filling 6 large bowls which we took to the TV room. By 11:00pm, everyone was exhausted. The girls went back to their rooms and our group went back to the apartment to cool off, reflect on the day, shower, and get some well-earned rest.
Our meals:
Breakfast - tortillas, refried beans, fried eggs, cantaloupe, watermelon, oj, coffee
Lunch - fried fish (tilapia?), rice with mixed veggies (carrots, peas, green beans, corn), mixed veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, onion), soda, water
Dinner - tortillas, refried beans, farmer's cheese, scrambled eggs, watermelon, cantaloupe, soda, water

March 4

Today is our field trip to the beach. Everyone had breakfast at 8:00am. Following breakfast, Rick and Danilo went to the bank, and the group prepared their bags for the beach. We were on the road with a busload of 31 (Tia Katty, Herman our driver, Daniel our guard, our group of 8, plus 20 girls from OLR). The drive north-west to the coast took about 1hr 20min. We arrived at Hotel Paraiso in Omoa by 11am. It was so nice to get out of the crowded city and away from all the concrete. The hotel has large covered patio areas, an outside refreshment area, a shallow pool, basketball court, and a beach with a quaint pier. They are expanding to 19 rooms by this Easter so there was some construction underway. Everyone spread out to play volleyball on the beach, swim, fly kites, play Frisbee, and just relax. We had a delicious lunch and the hotel staff did a wonderful job serving 31 lunches in a timely manner. We played some more, then headed back to San Pedro Sula by 4:00pm. The weather was perfect so no one really got a sunburn...although a few were more red than others, and they were so tired they fell asleep on the bus on the way back, even with the music playing.
Back at the home we barely had time to change before it was time to go down to the dining room in time for dinner. After dinner, we assembled the movie screen, set up a table for the projector and the laptop, then watched 2 movies outside on the cancha (Trolls - for the little girls, Collateral Beauty - for the older girls, and some home movies from past trips to OLR). We said goodnight and retired to our rooms by 11:00pm where some in our group stayed up almost until 1:00am talking about the day.
Our meals:
Breakfast - pancakes, butter, honey, watermelon, cantaloupe, oj, milk, coffee
Lunch at Paraiso Hotel - nicely seasoned grilled chicken breast, congri (rice, red beans, coconut milk, cilantro), pickled red onions/beets/carrots, delicious plantain chips, bottled soda, water
Dinner - sauteed chicken breasts, tortillas, refried beans, salsa, farmer's cheese, soda, water

March 5

Time is going by so quickly - just as we knew it would. We went downstairs for breakfast at 8:00am. The younger girls were already dressed for church. They were excited to see us and gave us lots of hugs. As we sat in the dining room eating, we watched the girls braid each other's hair, twirl in their dresses, and every time they walked by the window they waved to us. After a quick meal we sat on the benches and chairs in the courtyard and talked with the girls about what we would do today. Mary entertained them by playing her harmonica. They watched in amazement as she belted out a blues tune and then played a rendition of Happy Birthday. The girls took turns trying to play her harmonica - and laughed at the sound it made.
We attended church in the chapel on property. Ross and Idalmis went to the 9:30am service for the little girls. The rest of us attended the 10:30am service for the older girls. Mother Kimberly did a wonderful job giving the sermon at the 10:30am service, and Katherine, one of the older OLR girls, did an impressive job translating the sermon to Spanish. After church, it started to rain so we cancelled our plans to take the little girls to go swimming at the hospitality house. Instead, we did some work projects and spent time with the girls. Ross and Idalmis applied a coat of varnish to the mural in the dining room, Rick and Mary finished installing the BloomSky weather station, Brittany, Mary,and Cordella prepared the birthday gifts for the girls. Later, there was time to help the girls with homework and write thank you cards. After dinner, we set up for a movie on the cancha (Moana - for the little girls, Arrival - for the older girls).
Our meals:
Breakfast - cereal, toast, grape jelly, strawberry jelly, papaya, cantaloupe, bananas, coffee, milk
Lunch - rice with shredded chicken and mixed veggies, salad (lettuce, tomato, radishes, cucumbers), Vidalia onion creamy salad dressing, soda, water
Dinner - tortillas, refried beans, beef carnitas, farmer's cheese, salsa, avocado, watermelon, cantaloupe, soda, water

March 6

Rick was downstairs by 6:15am for one last ride to school with the girls. Everyone else opted to watch the Holy Family Bilingual School assembly on campus as they recited the (Honduras) Pledge of Allegiance and sang the national anthem at 7:00am. After breakfast, we made a trip to the Guamilito craft market where we bought handmade embroidered bags, carved wooden boxes, t-shirts, and other gifts. Then, we went to PriceSmart which is very similar to Costco. We bought a full-sheet birthday cake, four 5-quart tubs of chocolate vanilla swirl ice cream, soda, plates, forks, cups, napkins, and ice for the birthday party. We also bought a new microwave for the Holy Family Bilingual School 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade classes to share. Many children bring their lunches to school (probably dinner from the night before) and wanted to be able to enjoy warm food. After one last stop at a hardware store to buy some circuit breakers and power steering fluid, we headed back to OLR. We arrived back at OLR just in time for lunch. After lunch, we were on the final countdown knowing this was our last day. Everyone was busy finishing last minute things like packing, handing out Thank You cards, and talking with the girls. As the evening approached, we had dinner with all the girls and then went out to the cancha for the farewell celebration. The girls gave dance performances showing us what they have learned in their ballet and dance classes. They performed a combination of dance and gymnastics to big rounds of applause. Our group was presented with a certificate, and Rick gave a heartfelt thank you in Spanish. Cordella chickened out and offered her thanks and gratitude in English. (LOL) Then, it was time for cake and ice cream. Everyone had fun dancing, talking, and easing into what we knew would be a sad and difficult time saying goodbye. Everyone exchanged cards and took pictures. Rick disappeared for a while while he went up to the room to look for his passport. After a panic-filled 30 minutes, his passport turned up on the floor of the bus we took to the market. It fell out of his pocket while we unloaded all the items we had purchased. THANK YOU, Kimberly and Mary for your assistance! By 9pm it was time to load the bus and head to the airport. We took a minute to stop at the gate and have one more hug and one more goodbye to the girls. Those hugs will have to last us until our next visit.
Our meals:
Breakfast - tortillas, refried beans, fried eggs, salchichas (sausages), Honduran farmer's cheese, toast, grape jelly, peanut butter, watermelon, cantaloupe, papaya
Lunch - tortillas, shredded chicken with diced carrots/green bell peppers, salsa, shredded cheese, tomato sauce (for the shredded chicken), watermelon, bananas, soda
Dinner - Cordella forgot to write it down, but it's probably safe to say we most likely had tortillas, refried beans, fruit, soda, and water.

March 7

There was very little traffic and it was an easy ride to the airport. Our load was much lighter going home having dropped off all the donated items. We arrived at the Spirit check-in kiosks, printed our boarding passes and arranged our luggage. As we waited for the Spirit counter to open, we took turns paying our departure tax ($47 USD). We had a bit of a wait, but when they opened we patiently checked-in, went through security, and walked to the departure waiting area. Being a late flight, the duty-free shops were closed so our option of "one last chance to shop" was out. We decided that sitting at the cafe playing cards was an equally good option. Our flight was due to take off at 1:55am but was delayed 45 minutes. More time to play cards. Then we heard an announcement calling for Cordella and 2 other passengers (not in our group). They were taken down to security for an extra security check of their checked bags. More time to play cards. After a few hours playing cards we finally lined up at the gate and made our way to the plane. Rick and Brittany were pulled from the line where they were given an extra search and pat-down. Finally seated on the plane, almost everyone closed their eyes for a quick nap until touchdown in Ft. Lauderdale. In FLL we retrieved our bags and went through Immigration and Customs pretty quickly. Mary was off running to catch her connecting flight to Colorado in hopes of making it to her class later in the day. Everyone else was in a hurry to get home -- Brittany, Ross, and Idalmis had to go to work and Kaylee had to go to school. We merged onto I-95 heading north.

You can learn more about Our Little Roses by visiting their website at: www.ourlittleroses.org.

Need help translating anything to another language? Visit: FreeTranslation.com

"Lord make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred let us know love. Where there is injury, pardon. Where there is discord, union. Where there is doubt, faith. Where there is despair, hope. Where there is darkness, light. Where there is sadness, joy."

"La marca del señor nosotros son instrumento de su paz. Dónde hay el odio sepamos, el amor. Dónde hay la herida, el perdón. Dónde hay la discordia, la unión. Dónde hay la duda, la fe. Dónde hay la desesperación, la esperanza."

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