|a few boys that i took care of in the baby's house. getting so big :)|
|Mainor is so proud of his big bro.|
|I took a trip one day with a group of young men (the group my godson|
lives with) to a soup kitchen in Talanga, a nearby town, that serves poor
children from the community. They provide games, educational activities,
as well as one nutritional meal per day to children who qualify for the services.
It was nice to get off the Ranch for a half day, and spend some time sharing
on a type of service-learning experience with some youth from our home.
Together with kids from the soup kitchen, we picked up garbage from
around the soccer field just across the street, then of course a soccer game followed.
|One of my favorite weekend day activities on the Ranch is when everybody |
walks to La Venta, a town just north of our home. Depending on who you're
walking with, it's about a 30 minute hike through the forest. I had the pleasure
of walking with the young woman in this photo, who I have come to know
quite well over the years. She just recently found out she has family
(an uncle, aunt and a couple cousins) that lives in La Venta, so she took
me to meet them. She was really excited to be able to see them and
introduce us...a lovely family. It was a hot walk, and we ran into these 3 boys
on the road into town who were on their way to buy 'choco bananas'.
Frozen bananas dipped in chocolate. The invited us to one, which was the
perfect treat after the walk in the heat.
|A quick rest on the way home from La Venta.|
|Once we made it back to the Ranch (took us a bit longer on the return |
walking with small ones...), I ran into Hernan (boy in the middle), another one
of my little guys that I took care of in 2005. He is deaf, and within the past year
has started going to a deaf school in Tegucigalpa, and has learned
sign language. He's a doll.
|Thomas pretending he is a reindeer.|
|The NPH International Annual Soccer Tournament was held in Honduras |
this year, the first week of December. Teams of boys and girls came from the
NPH homes from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua to compete
in a week long tournament. Many of my friends from the home in El Salvador
were able to make the trip, and it was so nice to be able to hang out with them
for the week! They even got me to join their cheering squad a few times (never
of course though when they were playing against Honduras). I was also able to
recruit a few smaller cheer leaders to help us out.
|My parents recently decided to sponsor a child in the NPH Honduras home. |
Their goddaughter is fairly new to the home, so I just met her on this trip for the
first time. Jeimi (pink shirt in the photo, and photo below) clung to me every
opportunity she had. She lives in a house with only a few other girls, so it was
easy to get in some 'Jeimi time'. Her dorm is named "Guadalupe". The day of Our
Lady of Guadalupe is celebrated on December 12, and it is tradition on the Ranch
that each home celebrates the day their dorm has been named after. My parents
had given me some money to buy something for Jeimi for Christmas, and as I came
to find out how much those girls love playing board games, I bought
'Sorry' and 'Bingo', and made pizza for the girls and tias (including the girls in
the photo above) on Dia de Guadalupe. My dear friend, Katie, and her brother
Brian, were traveling through Central America, and made a stop in Honduras to visit.
They also got to partake in the festivities that night before we headed out to travel the next day.
|opening the Christmas gifts from my parents after pizza.|
|Upon Matt's arrival to Tegucigalpa we (including Katie and Brian) headed to |
La Tigra National Park, located just north of the capital. We had a relaxing
evening in El Rosario bed & breakfast, run by a wonderful German couple.
The next day we took off for a hike, in search of a waterfall. It took about 2
and a half hours to reach it...and along the way we enjoyed beautiful views
from the cloud forest, and explored some ruins left from the mining times.
|Heading back to the Ranch from La Tigra.|
|Some of the kids I have worked with a lot over the years had a |
Christmas celebration in a park outside of the city, and had invited
me to join them. It was a great opportunity to spend some time with the kids,
especially with the kids that are now living in Tegucigalpa that I didn't get to
see much. Mayron (in the photo) was my godson for Quinceaneros in 2009, and is
one of my favorite punks at NPH. I was only able to see him twice during my
visit, so it was nice to catch up and hang out with him here.
My stay in Honduras ended with a quick trip to Amapala, a town on the island of El Tigre off the southern coast of the country. I hadn't been there for maybe three years (I used to go there with kids from the Ranch during Holy Week, and on a few other occasions with friends). We found a nice new hotel (Las Gargolas), that I would recommend to anybody traveling that way. Despite the long travel days, it was a nice relaxing stay.
I returned home to Iowa on December 22, and the siblings gathered at my parents' place that night, and we had a nice Christmas celebration the next day. I might also include that I won our pre-christmas game of Sheepshead, and tied for first the next night.
Merry Christmas, friends!