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This afternoon I had the chance to catch up with Ana Hernandez, Esperanza’s Honduran coordinator. We talked about various medical cases we’re involved in and then she shared updates on various students Esperanza supports. I couldn’t have been happier when she talked about 15 year Jairo who will be matriculating to the next grade in February.
Jairo has had a challenging childhood to say the least. His father has never been involved in his life, and when his mom was raising him and his little brother, Carlito, she was in a horrific car accident which we witnessed. Among Brenda’s greatest ailments was a huge gash across her forehead and another gash to her hand which exposed her bones. Amazingly, an ambulance did appear, Ana escorted her to the U.S./Honduran military base and she was transferred to a hospital in Tegucigalpa. Once we learned of her prognosis, we agreed to sponsor her treatment at a private hospital, fearing she would die if she stayed in the public one.
Thankfully, Brenda made a full recovery medically. However, her life did not improve financially and she made the grueling decision to leave her sons with family and travel to the U.S. for employment. It’s a heart wrenching decision to make but Brenda wanted to be able to feed and house her two boys and decided to make the sacrifice.
Brenda never abandoned Jairo and Carlito emotionally, and she stayed in touch with them often. The money she made was sent home to provide for her sons. It took several years before Brenda moved back to Honduras and Jairo had certainly changed a lot. His mom now had a husband and wanted everyone to move to Guatemala. Jairo was no longer interested in school and his dream was to buy a cow.
Jairo did join the rest of the newly blended family in Guatemala but it didn’t last long. He is an extremely mature and independent boy and wanted to return to his native Honduras. When he moved back, he was only 14 years old and would be living on his own. We worried how he would survive, what would he do with his life, and how would be resist the temptations of drugs and other dangers?
We did assure Jairo that if he was willing to follow a few of our rules, we would help pay for his school and food. Jairo has become a class leader and has a job six days a week with a local farmer. Ana acts as his surrogate mother, attending teacher conferences. When we are in Flores, Jairo moves into our house and we become “family.” He couldn’t be happier than when he’s doing a construction project with Tom, helping “our” younger children with their homework, or cooking a meal with (or for) me.
This young man is one special person and we are blessed to have him for our Godson. Keep up the great work, Jairo!
Earlier this week, we arrived home after spending 12 days in Flores, Honduras. As we celebrate Thanksgiving weekend, we are reminded once again how thankful we are for all of you, and for your support of our work in Honduras.
During our trip, we had the opportunity to deliver the school supplies, footwear, dental and medical supplies, and over the counter medications which you have provided us in the past several months. Their gratitude for a new pencil or a tube of toothpaste was just amazing. There was one family with three children who we provided with shoes…as we passed by their home later in the week, the children ran to the edge of the road…smiled, and proudly showed off their new prized possessions! Your gifts were spread throughout the village and beyond.
Your interest and encouragement helps motivate us to assist the oppressed folks in Honduras in obtaining an education, accessing medical treatment, and procuring clean water.
Truly, your support is making a significant impact for many.
With heavy hearts we are mourning the death of 3 year old Annia Lopez Mejia. Little Annia and her mother, Flor arrived in Boston only 9 days ago following a tragic accident in Honduras where Annia was burned over 60% of her body. Unfortunately, the medical facilities in Honduras lack the resources to care for someone in this condition and they were sent to Boston with hopes of saving/treating her. Despite the top-notch expertise of the medical community and the latest up-to-date medical resources, Annia couldn’t be saved and she died this past Thursday afternoon.
Absolutely tragic news for any parent to receive, and certainly compounded when it is your one and only child, but this mother’s grief is further complicated and leaves me struggling with the injustices, and the reality that I’ll never be able to comprehend her situation. I am full of questions…
What is like to live in a country where healthcare is often sub par, unavailable or unattainable? How does it feel to board a plane to a foreign country with your child who is critically ill? How do you adapt in a culture that is drastically different from your own and you’re in the middle of a crisis? How do you receive the news that your child has died when you’re alone…away from your family and closest friends? What would it feel like to know you couldn’t obtain a visa to leave your country and join a grieving family matter? What would it feel like to not be able to grieve the way you would traditionally because you needed to wait for the “clearance” from another country? And so many more questions…and I’ll never know the answers.
Our hearts are with Annia and her family.
Jason and Becca from Our Journey for Hope are putting on exhibitions, displaying the work of the Honduran children they taught this summer. Our Journey for Hope has worked closely with Esperanza – Hope For The Children, Inc. in providing children in Honduras the opportunity to not only learn photography but self expression as well. The first exhibit is in Glen Falls, NY at The World Awareness Children’s Museum, starting at 1pm. They expect to have more shows so keep an eye on their website: http://ourjourneyforhope.tumblr.com/
This summer Noel (10) and Astrid (7) are here in the Boston area to receive continued medical check-ups (cardiac and orthopedic) and to spend their summer vacation with us. Both children attend a bilingual school in Honduras which operates on the American school calendar. The pubic schools in Honduras are open from February to November.
Their school curriculum is a rigorous one and they have endured a great deal of physical and emotional pain with their medical issues. So that makes summer time especially sweet and it’s always a wonder to experience it through the eyes of a child.
This summer Noel and Astrid have spent a great deal of time on the shores of Lake Champlain in Vermont. This has been their favorite spot where they are showered with love from our family and have met many new friends. Their days are filled with activities: swimming, boating, fishing, jet skiing and tubing. We often wonder how these experiences will translate when they are describing it back home to their families and friends…they are “foreign concepts” only to be imagined.
The children have certainly enriched our lives and many others who they have met. We can only hope the summer has offered their bodies a chance to relax and their minds to have been enlightened, and hopefully this will help give them the inspiration when they return back home to Flores where they will once again be working hard at school and home.
There are so many meaningful reasons for being involved with Esperanza…for me, the most important one has been to help save (or change) a life. Yet there are numerous other reasons as well, and one which quickly comes to mind is the incredible people you meet along the way. Today I am thinking of Mrs. Ina Melen, an airline ambassador with American Airlines who generously volunteers her time transporting children for medical treatment, and over the past few years has become our admired friend.
Recently, I was scheduled to travel to Honduras to bring Noel to Boston for his annual cardiac evaluation. However, life took me on a different journey and I needed to be home with my family for a medical crisis. I quickly thought of Ina and hoped she would have the time to travel to Honduras to accompany Noel to Boston. I contacted Mrs. Margaret Whitehead (director of American Airlines’ Children’s Escort Program), explained our situation and inquired about Ina’s availability. She quickly reassured me that there were many volunteers available, but when she confirmed Ina would be the one to help, I was immediately reassured.
I cannot adequately describe what is involved with Ina’s journey to assist with a child’s trip to the United States. She is up at the crack of dawn to complete a round trip from Boston, MA to Tegucigalpa, Honduras….involving many hours, several connections and trips through Customs. It is never an easy process and there are always complications, yet Ina handles herself with grace and determination. The children in need are her motivation and we are her beneficiaries. We have always appreciated Ina’s service, but now in our time of special need, we realize her gift of ”healing hearts.”
Keyla celebrating “Abuelo’s” Birthday
Today we are mourning the death of Richard (“Dick”) Kimball, Esperanza-Hope for the Children’s greatest financial supporter, and more importantly, “Abuelo” to all the children who entered his life over the years. Both Dick, and his wife Martha, have welcomed these children as part of their extended family. Their involvement has included hours of babysitting, visiting children at the hospital, celebrating holidays and birthdays (including one where Abuelo and 2 children danced together on the coffee table!). Children have loved staying over night at their homes in Lexington, MA and especially on Lake Champlain in Colchester, VT. Our friends in Flores, Honduras have been holding him in their thoughts and prayers and we are grateful for their support.
He is Gone
You can shed tears that he is gone,
Or you can smile because he lived,
You can close your eyes and pray that he will come back,
Or you can open your eyes and see all that he has left.
Your heart can be empty because you can’t see him,
Or you can be full of the love that you shared,
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,
Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.
You can remember him and only that he is gone
Or you can cherish his memory and let it live on,
You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back,
Or you can do what he would want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.
GOD BLESS YOU NOW AND FOREVER…DIOS LE BENDIGA AHORA Y PARA SIEMPRA
Checkout what Our Journey for Hope is up to! They’ll be in Lexington, MA this Saturday at Pilgrim Congregational Church (55 Coolidge Avenue) selling squares for people to paint and send their messages of hope.
It’s official…their tickets are booked…Noel (10) and Astrid (7) will be returning to Concord, MA on June 14th and spending their summer vacation in the States. Special thanks to Charlie and Nancy Morrison for providing Astrid’s transportation so that she will have the opportunity for follow- up medical care at Shriners Hospital in Springfield. And thanks to many of you who have befriended them over the years and continue to be actively involved. Your relationships are so valuable, and are truly shaping their lives in a positive way.
Check out the Concord Journal’s article on the Honduras Prison fire with quotes from Emily. http://www.wickedlocal.com/concord/news/x1640247871/Concord-residents-in-Honduras-during-prison-fire-tragedy?img=1#axzz1nVn9hQB1