Ebb & Flow

Two weeks ago, I stood on our dirt runway with 17 students and their families waiting...

All of the preparation, all of the prayers, all of the searching for supplies... all of the paperwork.  It all culminated on that runway. 

Their faces - pensive and yet, positive. 

How many wanted to turn around and forget that they'd ever desired to study elsewhere?

In their minds' eyes, what pictures of their country had they painted?   Did they have any inkling of what would await them on the other side of the rainforest?

I don't know. 

Yes, I was along for the ride and I loved every minute of it.   But, I don't speak Miskito.

In moments of extreme stress or excitement, one forgets his or her second language and reverts immediately to the comfort zone - one's heart language.  Those words that just roll off of the tongue without effort.

And so, in that way, I was the outsider.   But, that just does not bother me anymore.

On the other side of the rainforest and the mountains, we emerged from the plane.   Serious emotions.   A page turning...

My mind was simply in organization mode...  get these 17 students and their luggage, use the restroom, get in the buses and begin the forward momentum across Honduras.

One bag was missing, but coming on the next plane.   We waited.

We picked up another gringo friend, Abby, who traveled on one bus while I traveled on the other.    Thank God that Abby came.  I needed to be able to speak my heart language, too.   And I needed another person to bounce ideas off of as the hours moved forward.

We ate lunch at a very large restaurant.   I remembered my youth director, Glenda, who on our youth trips always had everyone's money and trip organized.   She did it for many more kids though at a time.   I have great respect for her skills!

We slept on and off and finally made it to the school.    Within 10 minutes, the boys had their clothes changed and were on the soccer field.  Mind you, this was the very first time these boys had ever seen normal grass, let alone played soccer on it!  It was exciting to watch.

The girls began to relax  bit and laugh.   Abby and I knew that all would be well for the night, so we retired to our hotel and tried to sleep as we anticipated the interviews the next day.

Thursday was a serious blur of cold, rain, waiting, nervous teenagers, entrance exams, more rain, and 4 and a half hours of interviews.   I left the school that evening feeling such a mixture of emotions.  The students had done well in the interviews, all were accepted into the 4-week trial program.    And yet, some of the things I learned haunt me...  all of the students from La Moskitia failed the Spanish portion of their exam.   Most of them did not do well on the Math portion.

Miskito is their first language, but Spanish is the national language of Honduras.   Most of their teachers are Miskito.     Not one student could identify a verb in Spanish...   

I share this not to humiliate these bright students.  I share it to explain how far these kids really have to go to be able to truly compete for a bright future.   They have geographical barriers, financial barriers and language barriers like most of us have never imagined.

And yet, the Miskito people are survivors.  They are fighters.   This same cultural strength will be applied by these students over these next few weeks.  They will fight and they will survive and only God knows the outcome.

As we said our good-byes, one young man would not let me go.  He was sobbing in my arms and gripping on for dear life.  It was heart-wrenching.   This display was completely uncharacteristic and unexpected.   He is the most prepared of all of the students, so his response was a surprise.   My prayers have been frequent for this one.    

I miss those 17 faces around here.   I miss the knocks on my door, I miss their butchered attempts to communicate in their 3rd language, English.   I miss their excitement, their youth and their optimism.   I miss them and my family misses them.    These kids have been in and out of our house for the last few months and my kids have gotten to know them.  

And yet, we are all tickled to have been able to celebrate opportunities alongside them ... to celebrate hope... to return to La Moskitia and celebrate with their families.  And, today, to open our doors to 7 young women who, in just one month, will be off to interview for Leadership University to join the 3 that were sent last year.    

With every ebb, there is always a flow.


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