Below is a reflection written by volunteer teacher, Doug Orofino, on his time teaching the children at NPH Honduras.
Lo que es mi Camino, Lo que Llevo Yo
The Path I Walk:
Each morning I set myself upon the path which winds me down to the sun-bathed Escuela Primaria. Glancing across the deep green rows of the Ranch's Hortaliza (garden) I can smell the pine trees which so laboriously clothe the mountains. Sometimes when the world is the perfect blend of silk white cloud, azure blue sky, and sleepy morning sun, I find myself stumbling for thought, wondering, "What in the world led me here?" There is no easy answer as to what kind of person finds themselves here at NPH Honduras, breathing, and living, and loving is this unique home. And although we all come from different backgrounds, Honduras won't let you stay the same. We all find ourselves being opened up, shifted around, and put back together. I'd like to think its for the better.
I think the biggest thing that has changed for me since Rancho Santa Fe is my perspective on what it is to have "a real life." I once would have told you that people who are living 'real lives' have steady jobs, apartments or homes, heath insurance, are no longer claimed as dependents by their parents during tax season, and enjoy three things they would have hated as kids, i.e. wine tasting, antiquing, hiking for no reason but to walk, etc. Now, I am much less certain. Honduras presents a glimpse of an alternative lifestyle. A life where swimming in drinkable water is an unspeakable sign of wealth. Where making $2.50 a day is not uncommon. This life is perhaps more "real" than a life of new cars every 6 or 7 years, steady jobs, masters degrees, and student debts. More people live a life akin to what I have seen here, than what I know in my personal experience.
The Things I Carry:
So what implications do these thoughts bring into my day to day life? The kids I work with will eventually graduate, hopefully study in the city for a secondary school experience, and move on to the real Honduras. It is so important to equip these children with something to help them succeed when the stakes are so high. How else can we even hope to attempt to break through the oppressive cycle of poverty that has threaded itself into the very nervous system of this glorious, humid country?
It is hard to see the long term affects of our work, but we must have faith that we are helping these children create the necessary opportunity for an empowering, dignified future.
It is an easy thing to get stuck in the mud of, "let's learn our tablas (times tables)" or "why can't they just understand?!" The more demanding expectation is to walk through these struggles, delivering, day by day, the instruction these beautiful, young people so desperately need to create their own futures, where the consequences of lacking basic education are imbued with danger. So we press onward, and when the sun has set, in the darkness lightning dancing through the broken, clouded sky, I think I might just love Honduras enough to do it all again tomorrow.