by Mark Dickerson '06
It is Thursday March 16, 2006 and we have been in Honduras for four days now. Today began pretty routine. The eight of us: Deans Whitaker and Lawson, McKennon Shea 05', James Miller 05', Justin Norbo, Blaine Miller, Wastson Mulky, and me, Mark Dickerson, ate breakfast and then drove several kilometers to the construction site arriving at approximately 8:00am. Although we anticipated a normal day on the job we were ignorantly unaware that this day would be one of the most eye opening and rewarding days of our trip.
When we arrived on the worksite our native coworkers eagerly greeted us. At this point in the trip we have developed some friendships with these workers and also a limited but effective line of communication. Although there is an apparent language barrier we have managed to laugh, joke, and find similarities with each other. These relationships have proven to be valuable to the quality of our days despite the intense labor. As a result much was accomplished as we finished spreading concrete over more than half of the outside walkway, which surrounds the medical center. In addition much was done to prepare the other half for the application of concrete as well. After a good start to our work day we had to leave early, for our services were needed elsewhere.
From the worksite we traveled to nearby school, "Esceula Ramon de J Sabillon" to deliver the school supplies that were generously donated by the Texas A&M Nuclear Physics department. The eight of us walked into the rustic school where we found many students dressed in their blue pants (skirts for girls) and white shirts. The classroom had one light hanging from the ceiling and no windows. There were four students to each desk. We were introduced to the students by their teachers and our contact Israel. The eight of us stood at the front of the crowded classroom with all students' eyes on us. It took us a few minutes to break up all of the bags of supplies so that we could evenly distribute them amongst the many students. All of the students accepted our gifts. I never realized that things as simple as minimal school supplies could make such a difference in the quality of education of these children. The children themselves were more than appreciative, and made their appreciation apparent. The school teachers also graciously thanked us. There are no words to describe the rewarding feeling that we felt by helping these individuals.
After lunch we returned to the worksite and continued to work as usual. Toward the end of our work day some of the local kids came to the site and played soccer with each other with a plastic soccer ball. It did not take long before a few of us, including myself began to participate. After spending about 20 minutes enjoying ourselves playing soccer, we stopped so that we could travel to the local church and assist Israel in distributing toys to more of the village kids. While preparing to leave for the church one of the kids whispered in my ear that his little sister needed shoes and that they would like more soccer balls. Back in the United States granting such a request would not be a problem. Since we are in Honduras we are helpless to this need.
From the worksite we went to the local church that was still under construction. Our purpose was to distribute boxes of pre packaged toys, candy, personal hygiene items and various other useful things for kids. Israel had the kids of the village line up according to age group so that they could come and receive their gifts. As a few of us actually distributed the gifts, others among us entertained the rest of the group. The entire village came to the church so that they could see us and what we had to offer.
The amount of help that we were able to provide was very useful and beneficial to the people of taulabe. Although it is obvious that these people have learned how to make the best out of the little that they do have it is touching to see how much of a difference that we have made while here. The gifts and the efforts that we have provided in the four days of our stay have made a significant impression on the people we have encountered, but we will also leave here a bit differently as well having been taught and taken care of by Israel, Floripe, Tito, Luis, Gravil, and everyone else we have worked with, laughed with, or simply nodded hello to.
Days 1-3 by James Miller '05