If you’ve read any of my posts from last year, you know that Jovenes has a special place in my heart.
This orphanage is the reason we took the trip last year and one of the reasons we went back.
It’s the main reason I’ll keep going as long as I can afford.
There are about 6-10 boys I want to bring home with me every summer. But I would take them all if I could.
But these two especially, have totally sucked me in and won me over.
Jose (left) and Norman.
Not every boy has the same childhood experiences, but I did want to share Jose’s story. It’s not uncommon for kids in Honduras to grow up in the same type of environment so this will give you a good idea of what they’re coming from and why this orphanage is so important to us.
Jose and his two brothers currently live at Jovenes, but they do still have family in Honduras. When they boys were younger, their young mom left them with their older father who had no good way to watch over the boys while he was working each day. Since Jose was still so young (about a year old) and his father didn’t want him to get out of the house or into danger (and his brothers really weren’t old enough to take care of him), he would put Jose in a barrel all day long while he was at work.
Jose, just a year old, would cry and make noise in the barrel but eventually stopped making any noise at all because he didn’t like the echoing in the barrel.
When Jose and his brothers first arrived at Jovenes a few years ago, Jose’s legs were badly bowed from being in the barrel so much and he wouldn’t make any noises – no talking, laughing, or crying.
But one day, he started saying “na na na na…”, and when we met him last year, his nickname was Na Na for that reason. They were so happy that he finally started talking that the nickname stuck.
Until this year.
We saw him, called him “Na Na” and he corrected us on the spot! Said “No! Jose”.
He’s growing up, and it’s amazing to see the changes in these boys from one year to the next.
Some of the boys are lucky to have family in Honduras – many of their families just can’t afford to take care of them, which is how they end up here. But there are plenty that don’t have any family at all. Some of them were living on the street at 3 or 4 years old when they were picked up and taken to the orphanage. This place gives them shelter, food, schooling, and a chance to get past the hand they’ve been dealt in life.
These boys don’t deserve anything they’ve had to endure in their childhoods – things I can’t even imagine having to deal with. And yet, they are like any other kids when you see them.
Happy. Full of joy. Smiling all the time. And I’m always left with lessons from these kids.
Our circumstances do not dictate our lives.
We can rise above anything if we have love, faith, and joy.
No matter what type of environment you had growing up, you can have a happy and fulfilling life.
Being thankful for everything you have is more important than anything else.
One more Honduras post coming, but this is my favorite. These boys are so precious and make my heart melt. I hate that I can’t be there every day, but Nick and I do what we can by taking these trips and supporting them throughout the year.
I know I’ve said this before, but if you only get one thing from these recap posts, I hope it’s this:
Find something you’re passionate about and get involved.
Lay down your time, money, and other interests in the interest of someone else.
You will be so blessed that all the sacrifices you make will no longer feel like sacrifices.
I can promise you that. No matter how hard it is for Nick and I to save up for these trips each year, it’s worth every penny in the end. One minute in Honduras makes up for everything we’ve had to give up to get there.
I hope, if nothing else, you can find something to get involved in that you’re passionate about, too. It could be volunteering at a local CSA, working with Habitat for Humanity, donating to a local food bank, or possibly working overseas.
Whatever it is, do it.
Make the time.
Save the money.
Make a point to serve someone other than yourself.