As mentioned in previous posts, probably the one thing that made my heart go "pitter patter" the most during my time in Honduras was the kids. Although I didn't have to travel all the way to Honduras for kids to make my heart melt; I've always loved little kids. I just think there's something so precious about their innocence and the joy that they find in the simplest things.
Innocence and naivety are funny, because I feel like once we lose them we never really get them back. And I'm not really sure when it happens, either. I guess a psychologist would say whatever age we can truly begin to have cognitive thought is when we may begin to lose that naivety of being a child... but I saw something so sweet, although a little bit heartbreaking in the naivety of some of those Honduran kids.
Everywhere we went, we gave the kids beanie babies. Somebody donated hundreds of beanie babies to my grandparents, so we would just take a bag full of them every time we left their apartment. And the looks on some of those kids faces when we would hand them a beanie baby... it was priceless. They were so excited to get a gift. It didn't matter what it was. Now, having just had Christmas, you can imagine what a kid in the US might have done if all you handed them on Christmas morning was a beanie baby. No kid in the United States in 2011 wants a beanie baby... beanie babies don't have 3G.
One day we were walking down the street and there was a group of kids (they seem to travel in packs of at least 5 or 6) just playing in the street, and the only thing they had to play with was a bike tire. They were just rolling it down the dirt road, chasing after it. And having the time of their lives. There's something so sweet about being free of want. Those kids are exactly that.
But on the flip side, I struggled with the thought of them not knowing what they're really worth. They have nothing so they want nothing — which is amazing. But like I said in my post before, their government makes the system work so that they can't afford to get an education, so many of them won't be literate and will end up never voting... so all the country's wealth will remain in the hands of government officials and a few aristocrats. I mean, this sounds like crazy archaic stuff to Americans today, because we just don't have to deal with that. We go to school, we learn things, and we vote... we have a voice (to an extent, anyway) in our government. That's not the case in Honduras. Those kids don't even dream about ever having a life outside of the slums they live in because it's all they've ever known. They don't know they're capable of something better.
But they're so precious. They find joy in the smallest things. And they GIVE joy with every smile, every hug and kiss, every word that comes out of their mouths. And part of me doesn't even want to rescue them from poverty and show them "success" or "money" because on one hand they have such sweet spirits of joy and lack of want, since they don't know any better. But at the same time you don't want them to continue to live in oppression. I wish there was a happy medium. I wish I could just pull a Robin Hood and take a little from the rich and give a little to the poor. (I know what you're thinking... now I'm a socialist) But really, it's not a bad idea. We don't need all that we have. And someone else does.
I was talking with my grandma one day about the selection process for kids in the program. She said they have groups of people within each committee that choose the kids, so that she and my grandpa don't have to. She said often times just one kid from a family will go to school, so that the others can work and help bring income to the family. I asked her what happens to all the other kids when the ones who have the funds to go to school are in school. She just told me, "so many of them just get left behind."
Can you imagine? All your friends going to school and you just not being able to, because there isn't $10 a month... something like 30 cents a day to send you to school. But see, we are heartbroken over that because we can't imagine life being like that. But that's just the way it is for them. They don't know that they deserve to get an education, so they can have an understanding for the injustice that's done to them and fight back. They don't know that they're worth anything beyond what they've always known.
That's why I have such a desire to tell my grandparents' story, to help them create their website and market their organization a little bit, because they are literally changing the world with every kid they get sponsored down there. But right now, there's still so many left behind.
If you met them, you would understand why I fell so in love with these kids. They just exuded joy in all that they did. Their little faces, so innocent and precious, always covered in dirt, for some reason just made me think, "Jesus loves these kids." And He wants us to learn from them... and just as we take away from the love that they so freely give, He wants us to give something back. I really believe that. And I think if more people actually took the time to go and experience that, we would give more freely to them as well.
But we stay comfortably where we are, numb to the oppression of the outside world... but that's for another time. :) Right now, just take a look at some photos and let your heart melt...