Sunday, July 10 – Wednesday, July 13
The Crew Retreat
Okay, so 24 of us were left behind. We traveled with the group back to the airport in Tegucigalpa the morning of the 10th. After saying our goodbyes, we went across the street to eat at Church’s Chicken—just as good as in the States.
If you know Terry Reeves, you know his amazing personality, vivid imagination, and inspiring creativity. He and some of his contacts designed a three day experience that none of the crew will ever forget. All surprises with significant twists.
Unaware of where we were going, we rode the bus to our first surprise—the Marriot of Tegucigalpa. And let me tell you, WHOA! This is a five-star hotel located in Tegucigalpa that made our richest fantasies occur—flushing toilet paper, nap time, controlled air and heating units, goose feather pillows, television, music, swimming pool, manicures and pedicures, massages, buffets, computer access, hot showers for as long as desired, and so much more! We lived the life of a rich man only to be taught how unfortunate this life can be.
We enjoyed this night thoroughly before our next endeavor. We awoke early on the 11th in order to go to the mission house to prepare for a day of work. When arrived at the mission house, we were given rules for what he called a “poverty simulation”. Each person was allowed to take the clothes he/she was wearing, his/her backpack, and four other items. These four items could be anything personal or necessary for survival (i.e. food, water). We worked as a team and gathered a great deal of food and community items to share. After this, each of us was able to take two personal items—toothbrush, deck of cards, underwear, camera, socks—whatever was desired. We felt confident as we loaded the bus—all I can say is “arrogant Americans.”
At Santa Ana the day seemed to go slow as we worked to build a large wood bodega for storing supplies. We began by clearing the area on which the building would sit. Then, we followed the normal process of building a house—just on a bigger scale. Through rain, poop mud, and two trucks stuck in mud, we were delayed throughout the day. We worked into the night as much as possible, but did not finish the right side of the building—one wall missing. We covered it with a tarp to help protect from the thundering rain and pounding wind.
However, it was still incredibly cold, because most of us were still wet from the afternoon shower. We did our best to stay warm with the few blankets available. We were saved by veteran outdoorsman Steve “Sparky” Kemp. He, Jeremy Quillian, and Mark Herrera built a make-shift shelter to sustain and protect a fire from the rain. Many people slept outside the house by the fire while others swapped up between getting warm and then tackling the challenge of staying warm in the house long enough to fall asleep.
Tuesday, we woke up groggy and tired from the lack of sleep and feeling of moisture. We ate our rationed breakfast (and some mangos) and chatted around a dying fire. Great stories around the fire—just ask Tyler and Gracie from PA. Lesson learned: Socks do burn when thrust unwillingly into a fire.
That morning we were paid for our previous day’s earnings. Twenty Limperas. This is a little over $1. Sadly, this is accurate for life here in Honduras. One full and hard working day is worth $1. How do you feed a family on that? How do you feed yourself on that? After finishing the right wall of the building, the group traveled into town with our little money (it was against the simulation guidelines to bring our own money to spend). Many chose to buy a small meal of pupusas (great El Salvadorian dish). Others wheeled and dealed with street vendors to get the most from their money.
When we got back to the property, most of us took a two-hour nap (some longer, some shorter). Then, we joined the already busy interns. We had fun in the poop mud—especially hauling rocks to form the beginning of the wall for the orphanage. We headed back into the house at the onset of rain in the afternoon. We had our dinner as we prepared mentally for another night in the cold. We were pleasantly surprised to find out that we were going to Campero’s for dinner (Terry’s treat). We then headed back to the mission house to have a discussion period before going to bed. We learned a great deal and look forward to sharing with our loved ones when we get home.
The morning of the 13th was very exciting. We got all “gussied up” to spend the day with an amazing group of kids. We traveled to Didasko orphanage to treat 32 kids (ages 3-15) to a day of being a part of a family. We became big brothers and big sisters. Some of us were blessed enough to have more than one child to share the day. First we took them to KFC (yes, Kentucky Fried Chicken) where they have a three-story high, indoor playground! What an adventure!!! I don’t know who enjoyed it more…the kids or the adults. After a good lunch with lots of fun, we loaded up the bus to go back to the mission house to play games, watch a movie, eat popcorn, and have a pizza party. We were sad to see our kids go, but it was great to see our new group pull in at the same time.
Dios bueno es,