This past week was a whirlwind! Since I’ve previously written, we’ve been working hard on the continued construction of the Manuelito Project and loving hard on the children of the Project. If you didn’t get a chance to check out our earlier post titled “Trip to the Manuelito Project” – go check it out now!
We made a great deal of progress on the construction of the Project’s new school. With money brought down, we hired workers to work alongside of us on the school. Stucco was added to school walls, concrete floors were poured, a bathroom tiled and sinks added, and beams for the roof were started. We dug a trench so that running water could be added for the new bathroom. The best yet was that we could pay these Honduran workers for two more weeks along with purchasing additional building supplies to hopefully finish up the school. We pray that this gets completed so that the children are finally able to utilize their new school classrooms.
Many of the ladies were hard at work refreshing the boys’ and girls’ dorm areas. They painted the inside and outside of the dorms and deep cleaned some of the bathrooms. Fresh paint makes a world of difference!
Handyman jobs got completed, mainly fixing washers and dryers. When we arrived at the Manuelito Project, we found that only one washer and one dryer was working. That simply is not enough for nearly 30 children’s clothing. A few of the washers and dryers couldn’t be repaired, so we were thankful we had the ability to purchase 2 new sets of washers and dryers for the Project.
One of our team members is an astronomy teacher. Every school morning, he taught various grades about astronomy – from the youngest to oldest children – and often had hands-on activities to go along with it. In the early mornings, sometimes as early as 4:30 AM, he had his telescope set up for children, staff, and Impact team members to observe.
We were blessed to spend afternoons building relationships with the children. A few of our team members have occupations at a school and had special and thoughtful crafts prepared. Many of the children enjoyed this – anything from making rubber band bracelets, to making wood signs for their rooms, to making bookmarks. The rubber band bracelets were especially a “hit” with the kids. Many of them caught on quickly and some of them made multiple bracelets!
We wanted to demonstrate showing the children and staff of the Manuelito Project that we care about them. In our desire to do this, we decided to cook them a meal. We spent the evening on Wednesday, March 11th, preparing a meal of sub sandwiches, french fries, macaroni and cheese, and most importantly… ice cream! It was a success with the nearly 50 people we served!
Delivering to the Community
We spent some of the money brought along to purchase food staples for the families of the Talanga community whose children attend the Manuelito Project school. The team also brought down new clothing, which was also given to the community and the children at the Manuelito Project. Our last two evenings of the trip were spent delivering this food to 20 of the most poor families. It was such as blessing to be able to provide food and clothing to those who need it most. It is the unfortunate reality that many of these families did not know where their next meal was going to come from. But by the grace of God, we could provide that for them for a short time.
One of the families encountered during delivering food was a mom who has a child living in the Project and multiple other children who attend school there. The unfortunate reality is that 6 years ago, after the birth of her last child, she became severely crippled with arthritis. Because of this, she can no longer walk and requires the assistance of her children to transfer her and help complete household tasks that she cannot do. There is no longer a father in the picture, which is all too common. She does not have a bathroom, like many others who live in Honduras, and uses the nearby river instead. This is the same river that her clothes are washed in. Because of her severe disability, our team felt compelled to provide her with a bathroom (which would be in the form of an outhouse). The cost estimate was 600 dollars, so our team hired workers and purchased supplies so that a bathroom could be built for her. Praise the Lord!
On the last night of our trip, the children thoughtfully created and executed a beautiful parting ceremony for us. It was their way of showing us how much they appreciated us coming to spend time and help them. Some of the children sang, some had dances choreographed, and a few spoke kind words about their appreciation. Pastor Elmor, the Project’s pastor, concluded the service in prayer. It was his wish that we pray for the lives and futures of the children. God has a special plan and purpose for each of the children, and it is his desire to see that lived out.
We departed the Manuelito Project on Thursday, March 12th. Sometimes, you do not realize how much hearts and lives are changed until it is time to leave. The teachers stopped school for a brief time so that everyone could say their goodbyes. This time left many of our team members and children in tears. No matter how much you prepare, it doesn’t make it any easier to leave the children you so quickly developed a love for. As another teammate put it, “we weren’t prepared to fall madly and instantly in love with the children in the orphanage, each other and the staff”. Our hearts were heavy to leave these children and return home.
It is with a heavy heart that I say the Manuelito Project is in desperate need. We quickly found that the Project is struggling financially to keep their staff paid and doors open. Yet, the staff continue to come to work and faithfully serve. Since finances are such a need for them at this time, our team provided the Manuelito Project with nearly enough to cover the amount of money needed for the staffs’ wages. In addition to this, we found out that the Manuelito Project is in need of supplements and medicine for the children. We provided them with multiple boxes.
Now I turn to you. It can be difficult to put into words all of what we saw and experienced – especially the exponential need we saw. But what I can say is that the children of the Manuelito Project need your help. You can provide finances and hope to the Manuelito Project by simply sponsoring a child starting at only 25 dollars a month. This helps to provide shelter, food, clothing, medical care, a Christian education, loving staff, and hope for the future. By sponsoring a child, YOU can be the hands and feet of Jesus.