This past Wednesday, Tom and I arrived home safely from Honduras. When we first arrived for our month long stay, Ana was apprehensive and expressed her concern that we would become “bored” (not a chance!) and “fall more in love with the children” (absolutely correct!).
Our time went by more quickly than we could have imagined. Along with treating high priority medical cases, working within the local medical community and interfacing with various agencies, we also had time to really go “deeper than the surface” with some particular families.
Not only did we join all our neighbors in the daily quest for clean water (generally available 2-3 hours per day), we also witnessed their struggle of trying to feed their families on the bare minimum (ie. one pound of chicken feet for 50 cents, for a family of five), and then there were the more “luxurious ” obstacles of obtaining necessary medicine or school supplies. It was exhausting and enlightening.
One of the greatest blessings was meeting with Ms. Lourdes Pena, a local psychologist. She is a dynamic woman, filled with compassion, insight and knowledge. Meeting with Lourdes gave us the opportunity to express our visions for Esperanza, and she was able to share her knowledge of the Honduran culture and the realities of life in the Third World. Lourdes will be there to provide Ana with emotional support who we acknowledge has the most difficult position of all. We are able to “escape” back to the States, but Ana is the one who everyone seeks out, looking for help from the “Americans.” Often times, it is Ana who has to say “no” and turn people away, trying to protect us from “burning out.” Lourdes is working with some of our patients who are in need of evaluations and further counseling so that we can really get to the root of their issues and how to address them.
Thanksgiving is in two days, and I find myself even more aware of all the things I have to be thankful for…family, friends and health are always at the top. Certainly, I will be overwhelmed by the abundance of food, and reflecting back to the empty fridge above and many harsh reminders of living in poverty. I will try not to dwell on it, and be thankful that Tom and I have found “our purpose” and are fortunate enough to be living our dream…can’t imagine life without Honduras.