Today we had an opportunity to take in a little of the island and learn more about Honduras. In planning the trip, we set apart a day to see the rest of the island and learn about the country and the Bay Islands - the largest of which is Roatan where we are staying.
Orsy drove us around while Banessa and Blanca stayed with the kids here. He gave us a great tour and really shared a lot about the culture and history (Roatan is about 34 miles long and only 3 miles at its widest though some places it is only a few hundred yards at its widest). Some of the views of the island will take your breath away.
What is amazing is the mixture of extreme poverty not too far from some serious wealth. We visited one 'resort' that was only a few miles from the destitute community we were at yesterday. We saw gigantic cruise ships parked literally next to tiny rickety fishing boats. And of course there's the trash everywhere. The students are convinced that the one thing we do right in the States is hide our trash well. Here trash is everywhere, even right outside the fancy resorts there is a trail of once treasured plastic leading to the gates.
We also got to take a canoe ride through an amazing trove of mangroves and the more adventurous among us (or crazy depending on your point of view) went out and climed around even doing some jumps into some beautiful crystal blue waters at the end. We finished our excursion to the West End - the more touristy part of Roatan. I think it was a good idea to have the tour to let the students catch their breath and to really see all the sides of Roatan.
We ended the day returning back here to the Children's Home and getting to have a little fun with the kids. The ladies did a 'beauty night' with the girls painting their toes and fingers. (Watching Leanne paint Stefanie's toes or Meghan paint Diana's fingers was a precious moment.) The children here are happy and loved but it is definitely a treat for some focused personal attention. Also I am sure that while our students are giving they are also taking plenty away from the children here as well; finding joy in small things, having gratitude in all things.
As for the guys... We wrestled around with the boys for a bit (again that focused personal attention) and then had a play dough contest to be judged by the girls through secret ballot. (Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Cadden! If Brian makes it big as a play dough artist you will know where it all began).
All and all it was a great day - lots of chances to reflect on life and on our journey here. There have been lots of beautiful 'take your breath away' moments, but the best part is it's not from the beautiful beach or the view on the mountain top looking down. It's here, in the everyday valley, where you better have your arms open so you can get a hug before going to bed; Or where a soccer ball, a bag of food, or even just a simple smile can convey more than any word ever could. It's here with the kids.
God has been so good to us to have this time here with them. And as we keep reminding each other... don't blink, because we'll be gone before we know it. I'm just hoping someday some of us will make it back and be able to have our breath taken away again.