Greetings from the two of us! (A rare photo which includes my shy and beautiful wife)
This week we didn’t have a team come down from the States, so other than hauling gravel from town to the base we worked at the base itself. We also dug a foundation in order to begin the next house when another team comes in next week.
Another program of Mercy International is an attempt to keep kids in school. Education is a primary key to breaking the cycle of poverty. So many of the girls become pregnant and drop out and so many of the boys become apathetic and quit. Once either sex makes that choice their fate is typically sealed. Many of the kids are raised in poor families and the father or mother cannot afford to send their children to primary school, much less college. MI provides scholarships to kids who demonstrate a significant need as well as motivation and determination. The program is called Hope and a Future, directed by Cindy Lowman. People in the states sponsor a child for a school year. (For more info you can go to http://www.beyondmercy.com/index_files/Page391.html).
The last team interviewed some of the girls who are now going to school because of gracious individuals who have provided them scholarships. Here is a photo of the interview and then some excerpts: (I represents the interviewer; S, a student)
I: What would you tell your mom if she were sitting here?
S: I’d give her a kiss and tell her I love her because she never had an opportunity like I have. She gives me the strength to go after my dream.
I: (to another student) How is your life different than your mom’s?
S: The last baby my mom had was very difficult for me. This is very personal. My mother made a big mistake and she had a baby from a married man, and I saw that another child has come and I was afraid of what people would say. People have always told me I’m going to be just like my mom. I can show them NOW that I am different. NOW my goal is to graduate and have work.
I: If you girls someday have a little girl what will you say to her?
S: Be careful with the boys. Keep your zipper up all the time.
I: Why keep your zipper up?
S: We have a goal, a dream and if we get pregnant this dream will be worth nothing.
I: How different would your life be if you weren’t in school?
S: If I hadn’t gotten a scholarship I’d probably have children now. I wouldn’t be a Christian. My brothers and sisters wouldn’t be motivated because they now see me as an example. I give thanks to God to have a different opportunity than my family.
I will use the rest of this space to provide you a slice of life where we live, since we’ve been at the base and home all week. Here's me at the mission base. (Les always prefers to take a photo rather than being in one.)
Life here is full of contrast. You can see a kid with a whip in one hand as he mans an ox-cart, and a cell phone is his other hand. Go figure. (Unrelated, this is the road we walk from the base to our apartment.)
The outdoor markets are lush with the freshest strawberries, pineapples, watermelon, apples, blackberries—and we can’t touch it without first bleaching all fresh fruit and vegetables. It can drive a guy like me—who hates to delay gratification—absolutely over the edge.
The tap water is not safe to drink; we’ve also been instructed to keep our mouth shut when showering. Speaking of the shower in our apartment, apparently the plumbers in Honduras missed Water and Electricity 101. Notice the exposed electrical wiring running into our showerhead so that we have hot showers. I am now very anxious when I shower and have developed a nervous tic. One raised hand to wash an armpit and I could be fried.
Nonetheless, life is good here and the people are beautiful.
Be thankful for what and who you have.