I had the opportunity to recruit children from different provinces of Honduras. The trip was quite long and tiresome but the thought of those girls who were coming from the most remote parts of their provinces inspired me to bear the dizziness due to the travel.
We left from Tegucigalpa at four in the morning to catch the first bus to Yoro, five hours away. This was the first place we were scheduled to give the test. Upon arrival, the parents and the children welcomed us together with some parents of children who are currently studying at Girlstown. After the tests and the interviews, we left for Olanchito and stayed with a family for the evening.
The family condition of most of the children was really heart-breaking. Through the interviews I came to know that most of them are farmers - harvesting coffee or selling palm seeds. Education is not important for many, as they are thinking of how to fill their empty stomachs and survive. Instead of sending children to school, the whole family will go to the farm to harvest and earn more money.
Besides this sad reality, the education offered in these rural areas is not very good. The children have to walk an hour or two to reach school, and classes are only for a half day. Teachers are difficult to find for these rural areas, and sometimes the children go to school only to find there is no teacher there. Sadly, these conditions discourage the children to choose school over working in the fields. With the lack of education, many girls opt to marry, thinking that they will be saved from hunger.
I am thankful for the great privilege to see for myself the living condition of the people. There is lack of security, lack of education, lack of ways and means to survive, but in their eyes shines the hope of a change and a better future that the Sisters of Mary will bring to their family.
Honduras is really a beautiful country and its people deserve the best. The face of poverty is painted on the face of every person but their hearts are so big. We can make a difference to the lives of these children; let us give them a reason to smile throughout their lives.
May God the lover of the poor bless us all!
Above: living conditions for the rural poor in Honduras
Below: Sister Maria recruiting children in Honduras