A picture is worth a thousand words and this picture will always sit on my heart. I pray that it is part of the essence of who Summit in Honduras is and what we do. We work very hard to make a difference and in doing that we show our compassion and humanness.
For years we have passed by this man begging on the side of the road by the dump where there are makeshift houses and where people live. I have seen this man standing with his hand extended in all kinds of weather, all day long begging. He is blind and only has interaction with people if they stop. He never says anything. He just stands there. I have wanted to stop for years but I haven’t. We are either going by too fast or on the wrong side of the road. The time was right and when we passed him I asked to stop, took some money and went to him and put it into his hand. I was humbled by his reaction, he took the money and then put his rough, dirty hands
on my face and gave me his thanks but more importantly he blessed me. It was incredibly powerful and I realized that just being present to another human being is a gift.
Summit in Honduras has spent the last 13 years trying to be present to the people in Honduras that we serve and care so deeply about and we have made a difference. We never anticipate what will be asked of us and we are almost always able to help. We have been asked to help villages build schools, supply school supplies and help with the cost of schooling. We have been asked to bring clean water to villages and homes. We have been asked to supply medicines to small rural clinics. We have been asked to supply an ambulance to a municipality that had no way to transport sick and dying patients to the hospital. We have been able to fulfill all of these requests. We have always felt that we are where we should be, doing what is needed, whatever that has looked like. Summit in Honduras has taken teams down at least several times a year for the last 13 years.
This year our firefighters from Red, White and Blue Fire Company went in April. As you will see from the pictures, the Honduran firemen (bomberos) received much sought-after training; evacuating people from smoke filled buildings, learning how to repel, and much more. There has been a bond and connection that has been built over the last few trips that honors the hard work the Honduran firefighters are doing without much in the way of training. The Red, White and Blue firefighters also worked on fire safety with the children at “Amigos de Jesus”.
Our medical team is extraordinary and worked hard every single day to provide medical care to those who otherwise would not have access to it. On this May trip we worked in three villages and worked two days at “Amigos de Jesus” doing well-checks and seeing staff. We traveled with a team of 18; medical professionals, nurses, a pharmacist, and support staff. Those in the villages that needed follow-up were connected to the “Manos Amigas” clinic, one of our partners and will be also checked on by our “Health Guardians” from the surrounding villages.
On the June trip there were twelve students from Summit County High School and two students who are part time Summit County residents and three chaperones. We went to Santa Barbara, Honduras, and did home stays with Rotary families. The students helped paint the maternity wing in the local hospital (getting as much paint on themselves as the walls of the building). They also went to the local technical schools and taught many classes on CPR and First Aid. It is always an incredible experience for these young people and they come back with a broader view of our world. As we enter the fall we look to our proposed projects for the New Year including the continuation of our health outreach with Water Filters and smokeless stoves and we are hoping to begin building a new school in a village that holds school in a small community center. We continue to try to follow in the words of Mother Teresa, “Not all of us can to do great things but we can do small things with great love.”