Everyone Gets to Play

Youth Journal 4

Wednesday

We started today like all days with breakfast at 7:30. We enjoyed a delicious meal of omelets, beans, papayas, and homemade bread. We then packed the car, triple checking our supplies (yesterday we left a few things behind) and headed out.

Personally, the bus rides are always a highlight of my day. The bumpy gravel path, the pot holes, various cows and dogs, and the rise and fall of the mountains create an experience not unlike that of a roller-coaster. After a 20-minute bus ride, we arrived to see faces of smiling children in the village of Dieziocho Mira Flores.

We divided the children into three age groups. The older group made bracelets and necklaces, while the youngest made animal masks. Pride for their creations was reflected not only in their art, but in their impressions of the animals. I have to say, I was quite proud of my own elephant impression, and some of the kids were so good that even I got scared a couple of times! Unfortunately, we may not have any more tiger masks for the rest of the week. The kids really favored them. Lastly we ended with the middle age group of kids. They opted also to make animal masks. This group of kids showed me how strong the sense of community is in their village and how much they value responsibility. They were quick to share and help pass out supplies. They even started cleaning the room without being asked!

For games, we had the youngest group first, mainly to tire them out! We started off with a parachute where we held a section of the parachute and ran in circles until someone yelled “Va!” (Go) and we all ran under the parachute and stayed until it deflated. After about ten times of running in a circle the kids found the soccer balls and went crazy (a good crazy). Next was the middle aged kids, and all the boys took over the field. When the girls got fed up, I led them into the middle of the soccer game as they were screaming “No!!” and we were screaming “Si!!” After some back and forth, everyone got to play and this is when I figured out, first hand, that no one wants the Americans on their team. But after a while we won them over with our personalities, which masked our terrible soccer skills.

The workshop session was very similar for all three groups. They discussed what was going on in their communities. The biggest issue the kids discussed was a lack of teachers for their school. In fact, there was only one teacher for all grades K-12 and only a few adult helpers. Then the older kids performed skits and the younger ones made puppets for a puppet show.

Before we knew it, it was time to go. We hopped back onto our roller-coaster, knowing that when Marco is at the wheel, we are in good hands. The rest of the day consisted of a quick stop at a local coffee shop, also lovingly called “the Starbucks of Honduras,” a tour of the facilities here at Friends of Barnabas, and a delicious meal to send us off to sleep.

Thursday

T

oday was a fantastic way to finish out our work in the villages. Every event was perfect with cooperation from all the kids and pure joy shown on every face. We were sung to by the villagers at the end of our workshops which was the only thing we needed to know that this is good work. We enjoyed the company of the village leaders and teachers who were kind and happy people who were just as happy to participate as the kids. We even got to watch some local soccer teams play a real game!

After a wonderful morning making bead bracelets and colorful masks we went to explore the natural wonders of Honduras. Of course the perfect way to do that is by flinging yourself off of wooden platforms on zip lines crossing over a river. The best part is the 200 ft. waterfall you fly over three times at the end. Nothing like zipping past an Iguana in a tree ninety feet in the air!

After an adrenaline soaked afternoon we got to visit a local grocery store to buy some yummy food we’ve come to like to bring home to friends and family. We ate our treats on the way back home and once we got there we all relaxed in hammocks and in shady rooms talking and reading. This perfect day finished with wonderful food, joke-filled conversation, and now the sound of thunder echoing off the mountains.

-- Zach Ferguson

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