Friday, June 27, 2008

Angela, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore…Part 2

Posted on behalf of Bailey Armstrong.

After visiting our operations in San Pedro Sula we made the three-hour drive to Copán, a beautiful little colonial town in the mountains.
We started early to tour all that Children International does for families in Copán. First, we wound our way into the mountains on a scary dirt road up to an impressive school that was constructed by a generous donor. They had five large classrooms, and a separate building for restrooms. In America, we take public restrooms for granted, but in Honduras this is often not the case. Having a bathroom for the teachers and the students goes a long way in preventing diseases caused by poor sanitation. While there, I also learned that most of the children don’t achieve higher than a sixth-grade education, a requirement by the government. It was hard for me to believe that many won’t be able to pursue their educations further, since all of the children in the classrooms seemed so enthusiastic about their studies.

Next, we visited some families in the neighborhood. We climbed up the mountainside on steep dirt roads, and I couldn’t help but wonder how the children did this every day just to get to and from school – I was exhausted from the climb and the heat halfway through the walk! It showed just how much they value their education and don’t take it for granted. I was able to meet with a couple of nice families. One family showed me their collection of jewelry made from beads and semillas, local seeds. They explained to me that they had partnered with about ten other families in the neighborhood to make the jewelry and then sell it in Copán to make a living for their families.

After making our way back down the mountain, we toured the Copán Community Center. I met some adorable children there! Initially they were rather shy, but soon warmed up to me when I gave them granola bars after I took their pictures and talked with them a bit on the playground. I was also introduced to the sewing program they have there. I was told by a woman in the program that she and her friends hope to get jobs in a maquiladora (clothing factory) once they finish the program.

Students in the sewing class trace clothing patterns.

After our busy and exciting visit to Copán we made the long drive back to San Pedro Sula where we (reluctantly) left Honduras and began our journey back home to Kansas City. I had such a great time in Honduras. This trip was such an eye-opener for me.

Of course, from all of my coworkers I’ve learned about many aspects of the services that Children International offers needy families in the world. However, I don’t think I ever really grasped all that we do until I actually experienced it. It was very hard seeing how those families live and get by, but the children were still so happy and playful; I can’t comprehend how they stay so positive. It must be because they have no other choice, and because they know nothing better, but I think a lot of it has to do with the innocence and happiness that is innate in every child – and of course, the hope they draw from the sponsorship program. I’ll never forget all of their smiling faces!

No comments: