“Lo que pasa in Honduras, se queda in Honduras” or “What happens in Honduras, stays in Honduras” was a phrase I encountered on my recent trip to that country. I read it on t-shirts sold in shops in the tourist town of Valle de Ángeles. My Honduran friends used it when joking around about North American visitors. It became a comical mantra of my week.
But, in truth, what happens in Honduras does not stay in Honduras; something I already knew from my first trip to this Central American country. While my group did leave behind the physical traces of our efforts – the construction of a security wall behind the group homes at Nuevo Paraíso, the backpacks full of school supplies for over 300 children associated with Sociedad Amigos de los Niños, the bags of food distributed to the rural village of Quebrada Grande, even the cupcakes and small gifts given to the children – I have brought back with me so much more.
The most important parts of my time in Honduras have been the personal connections made with others. I have met some truly amazing people, and appreciate that we have taken the time and care to know one another deeply. I value our shared experiences and the relationships that have developed from them. I love the children and those that we help care for them. We share a common vision that they will grow up safely and have outstanding opportunities in a country that needs passionate individuals. Many of us share a common faith, and the belief that we have been put into each others lives for a purpose that may not even be fully realized yet.
These are the things don’t stay in Honduras: the memories, the connections, the love for the country and its people, the call to make a difference in each others’ lives, and the desire to return again and again.
From January 23-30, 2013, I went on my second humanitarian trip to Honduras. I traveled with eight other members of Immaculate Heart of Mary, my parish in Indianapolis, working in conjunction with Friends of Honduran Children Indiana. There we worked with Sociedad Amigos de los Niños, the same organization I visited on my first trip to Honduras in May 2011. It was this experience that first sparked my interest in the work of non-profits.