We couldn’t be more proud!

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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!

A New School Year Will Soon Begin

School shoes
February marks the beginning of the school year in Honduras. School is provided free of charge by the government but not the school supplies or uniforms, which are mandatory. Six volunteers from Esperanza will soon be traveling to Honduras with duffle bags full of school supplies and we are still in great need of black school shoes in any sizes.

Honduran children living in severe poverty take an average time of 9 1/2 years to complete the sixth grade. There are many reasons for this including children having to leave school to help support their families, teachers being on strike, and others simply lacking the resources.

Stores currently stocking these shoes include: Pay Less, Target and Walmart. Please consider donating one pair of shoes and giving one deserving child the opportunity to attend school this year. No child should be left behind…

The Inequities

Honduran Children Outside

I grew up blissfully believing that “life was fair.” I have many memories of my grandmother giving my brothers and me equal amounts of gifts, wanting everyone to have the same. It wasn’t until I was an adult, and more notably, after visiting Honduras that I really became aware of the inequities of life.

After visiting Honduras, I realized how blessed I was to be born in the United States. I don’t always feel proud, but I certainly feel blessed.

Others often question why we volunteer in Honduras, saying there’s so much need in the U.S. We certainly don’t discredit this and don’t believe it should be an either/or choice of involvement. But, there is a huge disparity. Honduras doesn’t have the “safety net” that the U.S. offers. They do no not have a medicaid system, homeless shelters or food pantries which we have. When you are admitted to a public hospital, you are responsible for everything from your own medications and blood to toilet paper. If you are accompanying a patient, don’t think you’ll be sleeping on a pull-out chair, you may have the chance to sleep on the blood stained floor.

Attending schools in Honduras is often a priviledge, not an expectation. In the U.S. we  deal with truancy, in Honduras, they are grappling for the opportunity