I spent the last week in La Esperanza, Honduras, working with a team comprised of medical professionals, translators, and a massive array of those who volunteered their time to serve in any capacity necessary. Each one of them making the decision to spend their time working in the service of those in need. As I’ve tried to write down my thoughts on the experience, I struggle to articulate the emotions and feelings I had towards the people we served as well as the people we served with.
I watched the dramatic differences in the way the team interacted with the locals and vice versa. Some uneasy because of the language and environment and others who seemed to transition seamlessly into the culture as if there were no barriers at all.
The most poignant moment of the trip came on our last day of clinic as I watched a small boy, the age of my youngest, arms outstretched, running in circles making the universal “brrrrbrrrr” airplane noise. No language barrier, no cultural barrier, just a child who, very much like my own, wanted to laugh and play. I was disappointed when I realized I had been in a mindset of “us” and “them.” Those who need help and those who give help. Because that’s not really how it is, is it? In another life, he could have been mine, I could have been the one who was lucky enough to love him.
We do not deserve, nor are owed a certain life. We are all just people who, for the most part, are trying to do the best we can in the circumstances we’ve been given. And in the moments when we were pulling a tooth, prescribing medication, gifting a stuffed animal, we may not have been changing the course of their lives, but we were however, giving them a moment to carry with them when another human being cared for them and showed them kindness. Because when it comes down to it, maybe life is supposed to be that simple.
I am grateful to the people in Honduras who reminded me to try to be more, to be better. And the friends I made along the way who were willing to give the best of themselves to contribute in making the world a little brighter.