Friday, January 20, 2012

The George Washington University Volunteers with OYE

Written by Jenlain Coyle GWU 2015

As we walked off the plane in San Pedro Sula, we, the students of GWU, were not only overwhelmed by the borderline stifling heat (reminder: it’s winter), but by the generosity and kindness exhibited by our hosts.  The warm smiles and infectious laughter began as we walked into our first dinner at Yarli’s home.  Not an awkward moment was spent between the ever-inspiring Hondurans and “ los gringos”, regardless of language barriers.
            The bigheartedness and compassion for others the students of OYE and Pro Nino were characteristics often over-looked in our society.  Yet, to me in this past week, they have become the qualities that I value most.  I watched Yarli take a clip out of her hair and hand it to my friend Eleanor, simply because she told her she liked it. 

            The friendships I have gained from this trip are almost unfathomable.  I now have extremely close friends in a country in Latin America and right here on our GWU campus that I may have never crossed paths with, if this trip had not occurred. 
            A week in El Progreso was not enough time for me to fully understand Honduran reality or the all of the daily trials the youth in their country must go through.  However, it was enough for me to make lifelong memories and experience the most value forms of community service I have ever encountered, in which I believe I gained more than I could have possibly given.  I fully intend to return to Honduras, to become more educated and aid in whatever way possible, but to also return to my new-found friends.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

OYE Welcomes DeAngela and Amy-Mary Baldwin College Interns Arrive to Honduras

Streams of Tears That Lead To a New Experience-DeAngela
            Initially I was very anxious about flying to Honduras. This would be my first time on a plane, and I had no idea of what to expect. My departure from Reagan National Airport in DC was smooth because my family was there to see me off, and once on the plane there was a woman that talked with me. She was an elderly woman with a nurturing spirit that helped to calm my anxiety. I must have been very tired because soon after the woman and I finished conversing I fell asleep. When I woke I found myself in Texas, and it is here in Texas that I would take my final flight into San Pedro Sula, Honduras.
            I remember sitting on the plane from Texas to Honduras, after rushing off of my first flight from Reagan National Airport, and all of sudden tears started to flow from my eyes. I felt like a big baby, but I knew that it was ok to cry. Soon I would be embarking on a journey that was unfamiliar, and the comforts of being at home (in America) would be un-accessible for close to four months.  The flight was shorter than expected, and I was very sad because I did not get to sleep as long as I had wished to sleep. Before landing I admired all of the beautiful landscape that made up Honduras. There were deep green mountains, and in the plains I could see tall trees that had fruit on them.
            Once on the ground, I went through customs, claimed my bag, and finally I walked through another gate. It was here that I was greeted by five smiling faces. Faby (my wonderful hostess), Marisol (the woman running the show at OYE), Luis (a director at OYE and funny man), and Martin (the guy with the nice smile). After greetings were exchanged we proceeded to head to the OYE office and to Fabiola´s place of residence.

Living Together-Amy

            When I arrived I was under the impression that I was going to stay with Yarli, and that was perfectly fine. When I arrived I was able to speak a little more Spanish than DeAngela and when DeAngelas host sister realized this, there was some hope that I could come live with DeAngela and her host family. I wanted to make sure no feelings were hurt, but after conversing with Yarli, the change was made for me to live with DeAngela and her host family. It was so exciting to finally get to stay with a Honduran.
            DeAngela seemed very relieved to have someone she knew living with her as well as know the language. I, too, was excited to live with a familiar face. When we got to the house and got inside, I noticed that the house was really big and it was well equipped with a television, refrigerator and even wifi. Fabiola´s mom, Thelma, was so sweet to welcome me into her home. The first dinner we had was beans, meat and tortillas. It was so good. I fell asleep much earlier than DeAngela but knowing that we would be living  in the same house instead of in another neighborhood was very comforting.
            Living in this new house was so different, obviously, than what I was used to. No more long hot showers, bugless kitchens and flushing toilets-although I am not completely roughing it in the country, it is definitely not the comforts of America. I guess that is why we come to other countries and experience new ways of living, to see how much we can handle and get away from the hustle and bustle that is America.