Monday, December 4, 2017

The Graduation That Wasn't

On my very first mission trip to Honduras in 2003, we built the church building at Los Pinos.  We were in Los Pinos almost every day for  two weeks.  There was a special little family that lived across the street from the church building.  All these years, they have remained special to me.

This little family consists of a mom, Siomara and her daughters, Josselin and Linda.  For a short while, Siomara worked at Casa de Esperanza.  Josselin and Linda came with her.

Linda finished high school this year.  Like I said, this is quite an accomplishment in this country.  Linda invited me to her graduation.  It is always an honor to be invited to a graduation.  This graduation was to be on Friday.  Of course, I planned on being there.  Linda called on Thursday night and said that because of the political unrest and the things happening in the city, that graduation had been moved to Monday.  I still planned on being there.

Then the curfew was put in place on Friday night.  I knew that I might be in a bind to get from Tegucigalpa by 6:00 and began to rethink this.

Yesterday afternoon, Linda called again and said because of protests and such, that there would be no graduation.  My heart hurt for not only Linda, but all of her classmates who had worked so hard to reach this milestone and could not have graduation.

I am still proud of Linda and wish her well in all she does.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Another Graduation

Brayan no longer lives at Casa de Esperanza, but he is still a Casa kid.  He is the first one to graduate high school.  Finishing 12th grade is quite an accomplishment in this country.  It was an honor to be invited to this graduation.  I started crying before graduation even started.  That has been the norm for me lately.  Thinking how far Brayan has come, brought he to tears.

As class president, Brayan gave a speech.

After the speech, his mom and I hugged and cried.  Messy cried.

Some traditions are the same in Honduras as in the States.

Throwing graduation caps and taking family pictures afterwards.

It has been an honor and privilege and, most of the time, a pleasure to have been involved in Brayan´s life for the last ten years.

Congratulaions, Brayan.  Now on to bigger and better things.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017


This is always a busy time of the year.  This year certainly is no exception.  There are a lot of graduations this year.

On December 19, Josue graduated from kindergarten.  This was a very special event in a nice place.  Dress was formal.  Everyone at El Faro worked hard to make this a wonderful event for the kids and the parents.  Josue was quite handsome.

Today was Daniela`s ninth grade graduation.  A few years ago, the government changed the law requiring students to complete 9th grade instead of 6th grade.  Daniela was all smiles today.  There were not as many photo oppotunities, but I got some good shots of her.

Olman`s kindergarten graduation is Thursday morning.  Maria is going to that one.  I will be getting everyone else`s grades.  Brayan`s high school graduation is Saturday and Linda's is also soon.

Congratlulations to everyone on these accomplishments.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017


As an American,  from an early age, I learned of the first Thanksgiving.  Today I will tell a story of the last Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving is an American holiday, but it is also a Casa de Esperanza holiday.  And, for many years, we have celebrated in a big way.  Preparations have always been an exciting part of the meal.  There was excitement as we  began, but it was bittersweet this year as we all knew this was our last Thanksgiving together.

Due to circumstances beyond our control, we felt  we needed to do Thanksgiving early.  Nicole and I chose November 18.  It was both happy and sad as we also called it the despedida para todos (the going away part for everyone).

Friday afternoon I took the cheese, onions and celery up to the girls house.  Everyone wanted to grate cheese and chop celery.  Daniela graciously said she would do the onions.

The onions were strong.  It was not long before Daniela had a tear or two running down her cheeks.  There were tears sliding down my cheeks, too.  I kept saying those onions are strong, but it might not have been the onions that were causing my tears.  I wanted to break down and sob, but I was able to control that.

The cheese graters finished first and moved to celery.  Daniela continued to work alone.  I began doing dishes.  Soon the celery was finished and I did more dishes.  Some of the girls left.  Dani, Ana and I finished the onions.  Dani left when the onions were finished.  Ana and I finished cleaning up.  Then we hugged and hugged and hugged.  Those onions.  They got to me again.

Later, Haley and Emma showed up with pizza.  We had pizza and coke.   Then we began the pumpkin pies and cornbread.

Emma got to use the mixer this year.  She giggled and giggled and exclaimed, "this is so fun."  Haley made the second layer of the pumpkin pies.

Emma went to bed after the first of the cornbread was in the oven.  Haley stayed up and finished the cornbread.  I did dishes and some things and crashed around 11:30.  The alarm went off at 3:00 and I got the first turkey in the roaster.   I went back to bed, but it was not long until Emma was saying, "Grammy, are we going to start cooking soon?"   I groaned and said, "yes, Emma,  We are."  

It was a while before Haley rolled out of bed.  

Emma learned to saute the onions and celery while Haley crumbled the cornbread and biscuits.  They must be the best sauter and crumbler around.

The smells coming from my house were delicious.  Kids were running in and out of my house all day.  Nicole made banana pudding with the girls and cookies with the boys. The first turkey was perfect.  But, there was a heaviness in the air.  

Haley "painted" the second turkey and stirred the white sauce for the macaroni and cheese.  When Haley got tired I stirred two pots at once.

At last the meal was ready.  We all changed clothes.

Those onions were getting to me again.

Denis led us in prayer and then I said what I had to say.  Then Nicole talked.  We opened up to anyone that wanted to say anything.  Three or four of the employees chose to speak.  And Brayan, did too.  

Those onions had me into a big blubbering mess.  The onions were getting to some of the girls, too.

The line formed and we filled our plates and began to eat.  Music lightened the mood.

They even got me to dance.  That was the funniest part of the whole day.

It was a special day.  A special Thanksgiving.  A special despedida.  There were lots of hugs and tears.