Who is responsible for this level of poverty?
There are many factors that lead to the state of poverty that is present in El Ocotillo, as well as throughout the world. The lack of an organized government to provide such necessities as a strong infrastructure and clean drinking water inhibit the ability to break the vicious cycle which is poverty. I also feel as though lack of available education existing before International Samaritan is just now being overcome. Obviously we cannot point fingers at one particular person or institution as the source of such a complex problem. Rather we must work that much harder to correct the unbalanced distribution of resources.
What are you learning?
This experience taught me more than just about poverty in the world; it taught me about myself. The relationship I have built with a young boy strengthened my ability to connect with those even with extreme barriers. Although we can’t speak the same language, we both shared laughs which made me realize that love can be found anywhere as long as we open ourselves up to experience it. This nine year-old boy made me realize that I can make a difference, even if it is only impacting one life.
How can you bring this experience back to the United States, Michigan and U of D Jesuit High?
Bringing back this tremendous experience in Honduras could be very tough. If I truly express my thoughts and feelings to all of my family and friends, I feel that I can teach people about my experience which can travel a long ways. Throughout this trip, I have had many tough and emotional experiences, but one experience greatly stands out to the others. My fellow classmate, Robby Ress, and I met this nine year-old boy the first day working. We grew a connection so strong that it took pretty much the whole day on Friday to say goodbye to him. After the rough goodbye, Robby and I talked about “What if we could just adopt him?” I feel that telling this story and many others to the people back home will inspire more people to try and make an impact on any life, even if it is just a single one.
Are you more a Man for Others as a result of this? How? Why?
I truly feel that I have developed into more of the meaning of a Man for Others because of this trip. Before this trip I never really thought much about any type of mission work or any other thing that connects with helping the poor. But after this astonishing week filled with different emotions that came from playing with the kids, building the school, or even just being around the people. I can say now that I am at a point in my life where I have an answer to one thing and that is I want to keep experiencing those new emotions which means I want to continue to work with International Samaritan and other foundations to make the world a better place.
Is this experience influencing your heart more than your head? How?
Though this experience is influencing my heart greatly, it is influencing my head more. My wonderful, powerful, and heart-warming experiences with the children, I have reconsidered the path in which I want to take my life. Seeing the smiles on the children’s faces and the difference we made in the school makes me want to come back again and again. This last week has my made me want to take my life in a whole different direction.