Blog: Day 2 - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

By Axel Gumbel

Blog: Day 2

The Children's Home property The Children's Home property
Main wash basin Main wash basin
Vanessa, one of the kids at the Children's Home Vanessa, one of the kids at the Children's Home
Therapy team meeting Therapy team meeting
Speech therapist, Rui, interviewing parents Speech therapist, Rui, interviewing parents
  • By Axel GumbelBlog: Day 2More>>

  • By Axel Gumbel

    Blog: Day 1

    Blog: Day 1

    We arrived safely here at the Children's home in Azacualpa last night. The trip was a bit of an endurance challenge.More >>
  • By Axel Gumbel

    Blog: Day 3

    Blog: Day 3

    This was our only Sunday at the Children's Home, and it was another day full of great experiences.More >>
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    Blog: Day 4

    Blog: Day 4

    I'm actually beginning this entry in the morning of Day 5. This after I wasn't able to write up yesterday's experiences due to another power outage.More >>
  • By Axel Gumbel

    Blog: Day 5

    Blog: Day 5

    Tuesday was kind of a low key day. Well, at least for me. I am sure our therapy team would say the opposite. They had another great morning with the kids.More >>
  • By Axel Gumbel

    Blog: Day 6

    Blog: Day 6

    This blog may be cut short due to another power outage. It's been going on for several hours now and I am almost out of battery power on my laptop.More >>
  • By Axel Gumbel

    Blog: Day 7 & 8

    Blog: Day 7 & 8

    Day 7/Day 8

    I'm writing this final blog on our trip at Miami International Airport, where currently we are about 4 hours through our 6 hour layover. It's actually not as boring as I expected.
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After more or less rushing through the first blog, I've now found a much more efficient way to put my impressions on (cyber) paper.
It's Saturday night and I just tried to connect to Dago's wireless internet service. His wife Dilia thought our bedroom might be close enough to their building, so we could connect, but that wasn't the case. So I'm just typing this in Word and by the time you read this, I'll have it transferred from my laptop to Dago's computer.

Today was a fantastic and very inspiring day. We started with a delicious breakfast of pancakes and bacon plus freshly squeezed orange juice. Then Dago gave us a tour of the Children's Home property and you may have already seen some of the photos I put in our photo section. Dago has a very inspiring story to tell. In short, he felt compelled to buy the land here after hurricane Mitch stalled over Honduras in 1998 and pretty much ruined the country, or at least wiped out 50 years of progress. In addition, he's always wanted to help kids, who don't have parents. He's speaking from experience, as he grew up without a father. So the man was God's perfect choice to start the Children's Home, which right now houses 17 kids, none of whom can be older than 18. All of them go to school and have to help with daily chores, which includes cooking, field work or washing clothes at their wash basin. I had a chance to interview some of the kids today and upon asking Milton what his favorite time of the day was, he answered "field work". Yup, I'm definitely not in America anymore.

The kids live in two cottages, one for the boys and one for the girls. Each cottage also houses a set of house parents, but I can't remember their names right now. Other buildings on the Children's Home property include the church/dining room/community center building, Dago's house, an outhouse and the house for the missionaries. Envision a few more farm-type structures, like the chicken coop or goat and cow pens, as well as a soccer field and your idea of the Children's Home is complete. As simple as it is, this lifestyle definitely has appeal. While there is a lot of structure in their daily life, the people here still live a very laid back life. Dago says sometimes it's a little too laid back, especially when it's time to do the chores.

Dago let me peak into the girl's and boy's cottages. They are simple homes and usually the older boys/girls share a room with another, as do the younger ones. Each child basically has a bed (sometimes a bunk) and some kind of nightstand or cabinet space.
The stove in the kitchen of the church building is fire-powered, which comes in handy especially when the power is out. There is a gas stove as a back-up, though. Dago says they buy groceries once a month, which usually costs about $1000. Of course they can get some things right here, like eggs for example.

Speaking of food, they sure know how to cook here. For lunch we had delicious fajitas with all the fixings and dinner came at us with tostadas. Everything is home made and tastes very, very good.

After lunch our occupational/speech therapists got ready for their first visits with the kids with down syndrome and their parents. Those are families from the community, who will come to have their kids evaluated for the next 6 days. I couldn't help but get a little emotional when I saw the first sets of parents bring their children to us. These are parents, who love their kids dearly, but are afraid to send them to school because they might get teased. There are no programs or support groups for such kids. They simply have nothing and are most always left behind. Spending a week with our therapists may not change their lives right away, but at least it's a start.
Our speech therapist, Rui did a great job doing detailed interviews with the parents and tested the children, as well. You could look into their parents' eyes and see how they soak up all the information like a sponge. It was clear they had never had a chance to learn anything about what could be done to help their children. The children also had lots of play time on the playground or with the many supplies our group brought, like coloring books, stickers or bubbles. Part of the goal was to observe how they interact with one another, as well as with the kids of the Children's Home. Our therapists haven't met, yet, to discuss today's findings, so I don't know much about the analysis right now.

Personally, I enjoyed seeing these kids play like any other child. Down syndrome should not be a reason for them to be left on the sidelines of society. They are loving and full of energy, so how are they different from other children? They are not. By the way, we also had one unexpected guest. A mother brought her little girl, who we think has cerebral palsy. She, too, got in plenty of play time.

After all the kids were assessed, they went back home and now we're hoping to see them again every day until we leave. In that short time our therapists will develop individual handbooks for the parents to take home, along with some supplied to continue working with their kids on their own. Ultimately our therapists hope that when the next Honduras mission trip rolls around, there will have been progress made.

The rest of the afternoon was very relaxing, and before we knew it, the clock said dinner time. What came after that was another one of those key moments in my personal mission experience. After the kitchen was cleaned up, the kids of the Children's Home pretty much "owned" us. There was lots of goofing around, tickle fights, piggy back rides, you name it. Imagine 90 minutes of high-energy, non-stop interaction and you can imagine why we all went to bed at 8pm. I think I might be the only one still awake as I am typing this at 9pm.

I go to bed today having enjoyed one very inspiring day. These kids sure don't have much in a material sense, but their spirit, love and joy is their greatest possession. And that's what counts!

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