Don’t worry, I’m going forward with my promise of only three parts. *Insert Hallelujah chorus here* So without further ado,
Herman drove down a long, dirt road in his truck. Me, Sarah, and another girl named Nicole stared wide-eyed at the landscape around us. We’re in the middle of nowhere. Where’d the mountains go? Where the heck are we going? Then, amidst the dirt, came what looked like a bus bench. And then behind that bus bench, were three houses.
“Hello? Jenny? Yeah, we’re pulling up now.”
Ugh. Jenny. They told me about that name before. She was some lady that was supposed to be taking us on the trip for the next two weeks. I bet she’s old and boring. I bet she smells like caramel treats. I bet she-
BAM! My thoughts were interrupted by boys jumping into the back of Herman’s truck. Um, excuse me children, you know you can’t just jump on people’s trucks while they’re moving, right? More kids piled in on the sides. It was child-overload on top of the car. We exited the car, and then it child-overload on top of all of us! Hugs on hugs from random boys. Usually this type of thing would be a nightmare in my head, considering I wasn’t that big of a fan of kids, but I actually really, really liked it.
Next, a woman came towards us, parting the Red Sea of ages 8-15 year old boys.
“Hi, I’m Jenny! You must be from the Ambassador’s programs.”
Wait. You’re young. And you were just playing soccer with kids. You can’t not be a grandma this just isn’t right!
She took in our names, cracked some jokes, and showed us around Proniño. After the tour, we were released to play with the kids. A thirteen year old boy grabbed my hand and brought me to one of the houses to draw with sidewalk chalk with him. After trying to explain for ten minutes that I didn’t speak or understand any Spanish, he attempted to explain everything in drawings and hand motions. His name was Gerson and my drawings were pretty ugly. Thanks for the introduction, kid. So after a while of drawing and many hand explanations later, he drew a heart with words in it.
“Um, Sarah/Jenny (Not sure who I asked about this to be honest), what does “te quiero mucho Kaylie and amigos para siempre mean?”
“I love you Kaylie, friends for forever.”
Yeah, I blushed hardcore. Who wouldn’t?
The rest of the time there me and Gerson bonded even more and greeted eachother saying “Hola amigo para siempre” and “adios amigo para siempre”. It was probably the cutest friendship ever, not going to lie. I also ended up playing with a kid named Carlos who was really shy but had the greatest smile in the world. Even with my lack of Spanish, we managed to make each other laugh.
I didn’t want to leave Proniño. I like it here Jenny. I don’t want to go to the other place. Don’t make me leave!
But that was only a day visit, because we were headed for Nueva Esperanza for the rest of the week. We picked up a few girls on the way – some tomboy named Lauren and a some Honduran chick. Found out later that the girl was not actually a Honduran chick, but just a Hispanic-looking American. Her name was Anita. We also got Carissa, a nurse, from the airport as well as Anna and a peppy girl named Jilli who had already spent six weeks in Honduras. They were all older than me so, obviously it wasn’t like I was going to be friends with any of them. Or move in with any of them a year later (WINK WINK NUDGE NUDGE LAUREN AND JILLI).
The first time I visited Nueva Esperanza I was overwhelmed. Everyone seemed to have their spot, the place where they were needed. Lauren and Jenny had worked at Nueva before so they could fit in just about anywhere. Anita and Carissa worked miracles in the special needs and baby room. Anna preferred the toddlers. Jilli used her fluent Spanish to talk to the older kids. Me, Sarah, and Nicole were completely lost, hopping from babies to toddlers to little girls to bigger girls; you name it, we were there, at least for a little while. That is, until we found the boys.
Warning: This next part is going to seem like it’s coming out of some romantic Nicholas Spark’s chick flick, but I assure you this is a friendly type of love not romantic type of love.
The moment I saw Alex, all I wanted to do was hug him. Don’t know what it was particularly about him, but I just felt instantly connected to him. He was going to be mine. The next week me and Alex formed an inseparable bond with each other. Every single day I’d see him running down the stairs and give him a gigantic hug. We’d play soccer or sit outside and play games. He was almost always by my side. Every time there was any kind of goodie being handed out like candy, bubbles, or bracelets, I made sure he got first dibs. I probably shouldn’t have been as obvious as I was that he was my favorite, but I just couldn’t help it! He was my little baby. I mean, look at this face and tell me you wouldn’t favorite him too.
Before I knew it the week in Nueva Esperanza was over. But I don’t want to leave here. I don’t want to leave Alex. C’mon Jenny we can stay here right? Nope, it was time for Proniño. Despite what Jenny kept telling me about not promising things to anyone, I promised Alex at least twelve times that I’d come back to Honduras sometime and see him. Alex was the first thing to grab me and root me in Honduras permanently, and there’s nothing I wish more than to thank him for that (Insert large sigh here for anyone who knows the current Alex situation).
The next week at Proniño I became very attached to Gerson and Carlos. I became so attached that I called my mom one night over a free calling app to convince her to sponsor them.
“Mom we have to do this. Mom they’re like the greatest kids in the world. Mom you would love them so much!”
I proceeded to talk about how amazing the two boys were the entire time she was signing up to sponsor them. Little did I know that this was going to be much more than just becoming their Madrina (which in Spanish means godmother), this was going to be a life-long friendship. With that click of a confirmation button, I was becoming even more rooted than before into Honduras. Now I had a promise to keep and two boys to visit and spoil.
Oh, and to top it all off, during the Nueva and Proniño weeks, I became really close to Sarah due to mutual love of ages 8-15 year old boys. Me and her would talk every night, we would joke, we would go on and on about the cuteness of said child in said photo. That friendship that was never supposed to happen, actually happened. And honestly, that friendship was another unforeseen root in Honduras. You see, Sarah spoke fluent Spanish and was also very good with directions. My mom was a travel agent and I was the perfect travelling buddy. So, me and Sarah ended up not only being friends but the perfect travelling duo. We figured out how to come back not once but twice by ourselves. If it weren’t for Sarah I wouldn’t be living here today. I probably would’ve never been able to come back.
By the end of my and Sarah’s first visit in October I knew that I wanted to live in Honduras. I didn’t want to go to college. I didn’t want to live the normal American life. I wanted to spend my time with the kids of Honduras. I knew from that trip that Honduras wasn’t just that one time thing that happened in high school to me anymore, it was forever part of my life. Those kids had become my family. I had become more attached and close to them than I had to my own friends and family back home. Honduras was my new home, it was where my heart ached to be.
Every time before I went on my trips back to Honduras I would taste a little bit of regret. There would and will always be this part of me that craves to live the American life and be little Miss Perfect once again. But, when it comes down to it, Honduras will always win that battle. Every time someone asks me about the most important things to me in my life, Honduras comes up. Every time someone asks me to tell them a funny story, Honduras comes up. Every time someone asks who my best friends are, Honduras comes up. No matter how hard I’ve tried and will try to run from my life in Honduras, I can’t help but come back. Why? Because I’m my happiest when I’m here. These people are my family. This is where I’m meant to be even when I don’t want to be. This is what gives me purpose, gives me drive, gives me passion.
Thank you God for Honduras, because without it I wouldn’t have amount to anything but a selfish, unmotivated girl forever in need of a purpose.