My first week!
by Jim Walker, Fall 2018 Volunteer
Our flight from Miami was uneventful, except for the two-hour delay leaving. No worries upon arrival as we had been prepared well. We were greeted by the smiling faces of Jose and Stephanie just outside the baggage claim area.
We had a short walk to are awaiting school bus. Seems the short van didn’t want to cooperate that morning so rather than risk trouble, they brought the bus. It made for a much more memorable three-hour trip. We stopped for breaks at two places. One was Subway! The other a much more traditional Honduran highway rest stop.
The countryside between Tegucigalpa and Juticalpa is hilly farmland. Very beautiful vistas of the mountains in the distance. That is one thing I find striking every day. You can see the mountains all around Juticalpa. They have fog, sun, and rain at any given moment that makes them visually remarkable.
We arrived to Juticalpa in the dark, so it was hard to get a sense for where exactly we were, other than a pretty good size city. I learned this week with live in the section called “Barrio las Flores”. It has a nice ring to it.
Our Volunteer house reminds me of a small convent or rectory house. At least eight bedrooms and four bathrooms. A center courtyard with palms and trees, covered landing, covered eating area and our cleaning and laundry area. A great place for community meals and small talk after a hard day. Our rooms are plain, tile floors, a table and chair, bed, and closet. We have a large fan. The temperature and humidity are high. A bit hard for this Maine resident to get used to.
The best part of my first week (and longer) has been the people at the foundation, the schools, and the community. All are very welcoming. It has been like going to a family wedding or baptism. Everyone hugs and handshakes with big smiles. I spent four days as a house guest of a Honduran family. Two of the three kids are enrolled at the foundation bilingual schools. The whole family was so gracious. I went to local rosary two of the four nights. About thirty neighbors and friends in attendance. Now when I am out in Juticalpa it is not uncommon to see and greet someone. Which has opened doors with other locals.
Before coming to Olancho Aid Foundation, I tried to imagine how the first week would go. It has been way better than my most positive thoughts. Have there been challenges, sure… the heat being the most severe!
I am a very healthy sixty-six-year-old financial professional who is working in the business office. If you have a desire to give back and use your professional experience, email the foundation. It is likely your skills will be needed. I heard a call to come to Honduras and the foundation. With the wonderful support of my family I am here and am so very happy I listened to that voice.
My granddaughter wrote me a card before leaving, she quoted Matthew 28:19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations baptizing them in the name of the father and the son and the holy spirit”. I may not be baptizing, but I am making a difference. You can too!