*disclaimer* - sorry if i worried some of you with the last post...the policemen always come along when they take groups to the street (political crisis or not) just as a precaution. we were safe the whole time!
that said, i have to admit i was surprised at how fond i became of this country in one short week. other than knowing it was somewhere in central america, honduras wasn't really on my radar as a place i was too interested in. there are, of course, many similarities to mexico, which isn't a surprise. but i was amazed at how beautiful it was, especially the bright blue of the sky. and i'm not really sure why, but their flag is one of my favorites. (maybe it had to do with all the soccer fans waving and wearing it everywhere)
we spent the week in the town of talanga, about an hour from tegucigalpa, with a bunch of lovable kids. they all come with different stories, but the bottom line is that at some point they each found themselves without anyone to care for or about them. most had been living on the streets for a period of time, forced to take on the responsibility of a grown up at much too young an age. but thankfully, God decided to give a man a desire to help these kids, and project manuelito was born. there are now thirty six kids who are off the streets and are instead being fed, loved and cared for by some very dedicated people.
our main job was just to love the kids and have fun with them. it's really cool how they consider those that come to visit as their family. we also had some work to do, as in manual labor. the biggest project was to finish pouring a sidewalk from the dorm to the dining hall. i managed to get in a little weight training as i pushed the wheelbarrows of cement back and forth from the mixer to the sidewalk. there was also some painting, sewing, washing and other little projects to take care of.
what made this trip different from any other i've been on is getting to see the same kids all day, every day. even though they mostly spoke spanish and we mostly spoke english, we were able to laugh and play together. (and just in case you were wondering, high school musical crosses all cultural and language barriers) these kids are all special and very unique. i don't really know how to get it across in words, so i'll just let you see them for yourself...
while i'm so thankful that these kids are being loved, there are so many more on the street right this minute who don't have anyone to care for them. to help them all is an overwhelming task, but you gotta start somewhere. there are currently over 20,000 street children in honduras, or as they like to say at manuelito...20,000 minus 36.