Little Heaven

Reveille Team Journal #5

The country song "Jesus, Take the Wheel" kept running through my head as Marco tried again and again the coax the bus through a muddy patch in the steep road leading to today's village. We were about to pull out the winch, but then we made it through. Sometimes the things that seem the most out of reach yield the most precious gifts.

"Little Heaven" is the translation for this beautiful little village called El Cielito. We set up in the school, and in a young couple's home. We felt so welcomed that they would open their home to us, and clear out furnishings so we would have space. On the wall of the room where we set up the vitamins, deworming and fluoride, someone had drawn interlocking hearts with "tu" and "yo." Young love is the same everywhere! We worked in very tight quarters this time, given the small size of the community.

This community of 60 families works primarily in the coffee industry, picking and drying coffee. Lidia tells me that the mountain villages in the FOB network are in coffee country. All family members work picking coffee. We saw hoop houses set up with drying tables where the coffee beans are laid out to dry or cure. There is also a huge grinder with a chute system to capture the ground beans. Mountain children are educated up until 5th or 6th grade, after which they go to work, too. I was glad to hear that the children are paid. We did see some young adults who appeared not to be able to read the bottles of vitamins we were dispensing, so Lidia spoke to the children because they seemed to understand better. Honduran coffee is delicious and I've become spoiled. Sorry, Starbucks!

We all noticed that the children were very reluctant to be seen by the doctors and nurses, and even to be weighed. We later learned that the day before, the vaccination van had been to the village to give the children their shots. No wonder they were not happy!

At tonight's dinner, we recapped the week, shared God moments and talked about to whom we had given our crosses, and also discussed the looming burden that Zika will likely place on health systems. We have seen a few Zika infections but the CDC expects the number to grow. What will happen to babies born with defects? Many more physicians and clinics will be needed, as well as follow-up care and therapy, not to mention treatments for adults who have lasting effects from the virus.

We asked what we can do to help FOB. Nury said "just keep coming to volunteer," and if you can, give undesignated funds so that we can purchase medications, support the Barnabas House post-surgery patients, and the Alfredo House which houses volunteers, pay the staff, and keep the lights on. We have seen for ourselves that there is little to no waste of resources here. Every little bit helps, and our money will go a long way.

Nury said, "This is more than a friendship. We become a family. Watch out! It can become addicting to come back. While you are here, refill your filters of love and go back appreciating where you come from."

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