A picture is worth 1000 words — a hackneyed expression, maybe, but in this case a truism.
Unfortunately, I only have 600 to describe the mission of Ut Prosim El Porvenir (an Honors Program service-learning class) that is now over 2500 miles from Blacksburg.
But if I could choose one scene, I’d show you our extended and diverted walk home the other night from the local secondary school in El Porvenir, Honduras.
Since our arrival in Honduras, we’ve quite literally hit the ground running.
From the start, our daily schedule has enveloped us and taken on a life of its own.
An unwitting game of chicken on the Honduran roadways with an intrepid taxi driver was followed by an onslaught of rapid, agriculturally-themed Spanish with the local garden group, which led to laying the beginning foundation of the fire station with a group of vaguely related, jocular, and water-happy volunteer firefighters.
This was in addition to the door-to-door Dengue inspections we helped conduct in conjunction with a meticulously capable team from the health clinic, courtesy of a national emergency Dengue mandate.
However, a few days into the mix, catching my breath and reclining on the untouched Honduran shore, it’s not any of these events which fully prove an allegory for UPEP’s presence in the community, but rather the seemingly insignificant return trip from one such event.
As Heather, our nonprofit community liaison, advised us yesterday: “Idle time always represents an opportunity.” And so it did.
Dragging our feet along the freshly paved Porvenir streets on the way back to the volunteer house last night, the seven of us were physically exhausted but in high spirits, shouting out our token Spanish phrases haphazardly to the local pulperia (corner store) owners and their naked, sun-kissed children.
From the behind us came the cry, “Ey! Every-bady! Lez go! High fives!” Circling us on a tricked-out bicycle was Alex, the head of El Porvenir’s volunteer fire department.
I’d like you to picture Alex as the guy at your high school who knew everyone and played every sport.