Dancing and Serving Together

Well, today is my last day here in Honduras and I (Abby who has to leave because of work on GMU’s campus) couldn’t have had a better time. This was my first mission trip and it set an amazingly high standard. From the very first moment of arriving to the camp, I have not felt like a visitor, but a member of the community. The girls here at TLC have been so inclusive and welcoming to us despite the fact that we are all pretty much the exact definition of a “stranger.” From the very first welcome, complete with hugs from every girl that studies here, to meal time, to even little things like passing by each other, I’ve never experienced such a strong community.

I think the most impactful part of the trip thus far has been coffee picking in the morning. This morning, I had the opportunity to pick coffee with some girls, Gizel, and Ingris. We got to pick coffee at a different section of the coffee farm, one that required us to pass a little brook and walk uphill for about ten or fifteen minutes. From the top though, there was an absolutely beautiful view of the mountain range. I saw bananas growing, which was interesting because I’ve never seen that. We also got to take the bananas off the tree and eat them, which was an awesome experience. The climb up was more than tiring, but getting to walk and talk with the girls made it so worth it. From there, we even tried the coffee beans, which I learned had an incredibly sweet, albeit slimy, taste. On the walk down, Gizel and I fell behind the group and we talked. She is a first year student, but I would have never known if she didn’t tell me. She asked me to help her with some past-tense words, but even that was an amazing feeling. Rarely do you get to experience someone so willing to ask questions. It feels like in the United States, there’s a stigma around not knowing something, so I don’t often get asked questions, but here it’s so normal and I’ve loved that.
Another really impactful moment of the day has been the little market. Girls laid out little crafts that they made and we had the option to buy from them. The things were so intricately made, and they sold everything from jewelry to hats. Getting to see and purchase the things that they put hard work into was so sweet and I am so impressed with what they were able to do.

In the evening, we had a bonfire. Some of the girls had never heard of “s’mores” before, so we had to teach them how to make them. This was an interesting culture shock as someone who grew up with something so memorable in my life. We played a bunch of games, some from Honduras and some native to the States. One of the best parts of the night was when the girls tried to teach us a native Honduran dance. Hunter and Kyle took it like a champ, even offering to put on native Honduran dresses, and danced around the fire with the girls trying to copy their dance moves. After the bonfire “officially” ended, a bunch of the girls stayed out while the fire went out. We stayed with them and they continued to dance dances native to them, and we tried, although not very well, to copy them. This was such a great time to experience because I feel like I not only got closer to my Arise group when we all tried to dance together, but also to the Honduran community. I really couldn’t think of a better way to end my time on the trip than getting to laugh so hard it hurts with all of the friends I made here.

I’m going to miss being in Honduras, and I really hope that this is not my last time here. The community, kindness, and intelligence that these girls have is so important, and special, and I can’t wait to see or hear about what they do in the future. I can’t even begin to explain how thankful I was able to come here for this trip. Thank you for allowing me to come to Honduras.