September 17, 2021
The full-body bounce as the wheels set down …. the seatbelt’s sustained tug on the waist …. the smile and the feeling of relief that follow …. we are back in Honduras.
A familiar one-hour drive from the airport to Rancho Santa Fe in the pine-covered mountains of central Honduras returns us to the place that 222 of our favorite children call home.
Though much appears the same, the worldwide pandemic has substantially changed life for these young people on The Ranch. The past eighteen months have seen eager learners who had packed their classrooms, make the move to sterile on-line educational settings. Ranch-wide activities and traditions such as the beloved “Olimpiadas” have shrunk into events whose participants were a small cohort, functioning in the bubble of their own home.
Fortunately, thanks to strong leadership, innovative management and dedication to safely, every day here sees steps which move life on The Ranch back toward normal. Today, fifty-seven children — ages 12 to 15 — received their first of two COVID-19 immunizations. The vaccines were a recent donation from the United States. Young people filled the school auditorium’s spaced-apart chairs, the medical staff shuffled vaccine records and rosters, then ushered each recipient up for his vaccination. “I felt happy to get the shot” reported Rony, a 5th grader wearing an FC Barcelona T-shirt and a broad smile.
One of the children’s homes has been repurposed for the care of COVID-19 patients. In spite of NPH Honduras’ strict adherence to health precautions — including masking, distancing and hand washing — some become infected. Happily, today’s COVID-19 census was only four patients — all with mild symptoms — who now eagerly awaited completion of their isolation so that they may return to their homes.
It brings great joy to be back where we feel called to be. Working together with the lovely people of Honduras — a country with few resources — gratifies us. In pandemic times, our hearts are particularly buoyed up by witnessing such a country lifting itself up, while the helping hand of the world outside pulls with equal force.