This post is written by Ricky Lania
Eight years ago, my mom told me we were going to have a little girl from Honduras live at our house while she received treatment for her clubfeet. As a 15 year old, I was hesitant about the idea of a baby from some foreign country staying with us because selfishly I knew it would affect my life. Little did I know just how big an affect it would be.
My involvement with Honduras has grown significantly over the years and while I’ve put in time and energy, I’ve received so much more in return. Initially, I just played with the children who were living at our home to help ease the transition. I can’t imagine what goes through their heads when they have to come to a new country, live with strangers who speak a different language, and have a major surgery. Attempting to remove any of the scariness and making our home a fun place to live was definitely important to me.
As Stefany, Noel, and Astrid made return visits to the US and I started traveling to Honduras, I became much more connected with the children. It was then that it hit me how different the lives of these children who I had become so close to could have been. Stefany was born with feet looking like this:
Without surgery, she never would have been able to walk and would have been an outcast in her village her entire life. It always makes me smile when I see her able to run and be the little tomboy she truly is (she is not afraid to throw a punch).
Four years ago, Noel’s parents told me they would like me to be his Padrino (god father). I felt honored as Noel had become like another brother to me. While I definitely appreciated Mita and Muncho selecting me, Noel found a way to give me an even better gift when I was in Honduras in February. On my first full day in Honduras, I went to pick Noel up from his bilingual school. When I found him in a big auditorium, Noel wanted to walk me around. As we went by his classmates and friends, he would stop at each one, point at me, and tell them “this is MY padrino.” I can’t even describe how cool it felt that Noel cared so much about me that he wanted to show me off.
It hasn’t been just the children who have stayed at my house that has helped me develop a love for Honduras but also the people in Flores as well. Every time I am there, they could not be more helpful, protective, and caring. While these Hondurans comparatively have so little, they are always trying to do something to help me. This definitely provides a driving force for why I want to continue to help them. Whether its spreading the word, collecting donations, or applying for grants, knowing that they not only need help but sincerely appreciate it motivates me to find new ways to help.
For anyone who is interested in becoming involved, I definitely recommended it. There are so many different ways to help and I have no doubt you’ll find you get much more out it than you put in.