A trip to the Silver Hills

I gripped the armrest of the seat on the airplane as we banked hard left circling the city of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, entering one of the most dangerous airports in the world. Looking to my left to get a better view of what country we were about to land in, I saw houses too close for comfort and a highway quickly approaching our landing gear.

Suddenly the hills lined with houses and run down shopping centers transformed into an airport, almost simultaneously we hit the runway with a jolt.

I could feel the jetway tremble under the weight of the bags and the people disembarking the plane. After traversing the hot tarmac we congregated inside the terminal as orders were passed over an intercom in Spanish for us to advance to customs and have our appropriate documents ready.

It’s the summer of 2017 and I’m traveling with a group of seventeen people to Honduras from six different states, Iowa, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Texas, and Alabama. We were dispatched from Cadiz United Methodist Church  (CUMC) in Cadiz, Kentucky, to serve the people of Honduras as missionaries.

We are going to build houses, room additions, and pour concrete floors for families around the community that have approached our local guide for help. Our local guide was named, Lucas Padilla, he has been guiding CUMC for five years. Home base for Lucas is his home and farm, named Camp Emmaus, located in Rio Abajo.

For a week we traveled and worked in several small villages such as, Rio Abajo, El Guante, and a mental health facility located in the rural country. CUMC travels every year to Honduras to serve her people.

Being in an environment where no one speaks your language is challenging for obvious reasons, it’s even more challenging when you are trying to enter a country legally with no prior experience entering a country, let alone one where English is not spoken well, if at all.

Our work began the next day on a house for Nenna. She has cooked for the mission teams that come down for several years and has been living with her young grandchildren who she is raising, because her daughter was poisoned to death.

The day would last from six AM until sundown, in a hot and humid jungle environment with brief interruptions of ice cold rain to cool us down, until the sun came back out and made the air thick with humidity.

This trip taught me a lot about myself, and a lot about the struggle that people go through everyday. I watched young children drink rain water from dirty basins, walked in the makeshift kitchens of families that live in small tight spaces with little privacy, and sat with them and try to understand their struggle through translators and what little Spanish I know.

All the while, the people of Honduras showed nothing but happiness and joy to see us. This is their world, full of what we see as inconvenience and difficulty, they live and are happy to be alive.

This trip changed my life and woke me up to the conditions of this world. I am not the same person as when I left, and I believe I’ve changed for the better. It is important to travel and expand your view of the world while learning about different cultures other than what you’re used to.

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