Newsletter August 2018

Reality Check

In this newsletter I share my impressions of my visit to the children's home "yo quiero ser ..." with you, dear readers and faithful companions.

As a translator of this newsletter, I also indirectly accompany the inhabitants of the children's home "yo quiero ser ..." month by month and can share a bit of their everyday life. When Patricia is visiting Switzerland, I try to accompany her to events and, always knowing my emotional nature, I sit in the back row to hide my tears of admiration and consternation. This feeling of being affected always led me to believe that I too, like Patricia, would have to be more involved with the weakest in society, that my path which I took in the real economy might not be the right one for me. I was aware that I had to get to the bottom of it and I made spontaneously a trip to Honduras.

After a hearty reception early in the morning at the San Pedro Sula airport, after Patricia has already sent 35 children to school, we headed for the children's home, past American fast food restaurants, international hotel complexes and spotless shopping centers. Patricia did not miss my astonishment and she assured me that the "true" Honduras will present itself in no time and so it happened. When we first turned off to a side street, the buildings were only one-storey, windows were transformed into bars and the pretty forecourts must give way to the waste mountains. Although the first impression stunned me, I was glad to have found the expected Honduras.

Once at the children's home, I was received by the youngest residents. I was overwhelmed by the sweet-smiling little kids and was immediately drawn to their spell. Within moments a little boy conquered my heart, he never left my side voluntarily from the first moment until my departure. I had arrived and forgot everything around me at that moment.

After getting to know the employees, consisting of two cooks, a cleaner, four governesses, a driver and the security guard, I dived into Patricia's world. She was busy with administrative challenges, I call it a bureaucratic madness, which she knows how to conquer with the utmost efficiency and pragmatism. I quickly realized that the clock was ticking incessantly, either Patricia can do the pending during the morning hours when the majority of children are at school, otherwise there are night shifts, because the schoolchildren come home shortly after 12h00 and then they eat before homework is done. From the moment the first kids stormed into Patricia's office, I knew the laptop could now be pushed aside. Every single child greeted Patricia, gave a short recap from school life and stood up to the caring questions of her mom Pati. After about the tenth child, I became aware that Patricia actually knows all the timetables by heart, that she is always in the picture, which examinations are due at whom and what subjects are currently being passed through in the different subjects. I was simply speechless.

The children all welcomed me with open arms and although I speak very little Spanish, always trying to learn more from me and to integrate myself into their everyday lives. Her warmth gave me many wet eyes.

During the week, the routine remains the same. After the shared lunch we started with the extensive homework. It is very important to Patricia that the children give their best at school and that they are ideally supported with their studies. I took over the English tutoring. To my great astonishment, all students spend at least three hours a day investing in their homework and learning. Not a single child challenged this rule, it was never a point of discussion that the afternoon hours are not used for school work. The children seem to be fully aware that they can actively influence their future with it.

Before the dinner is served, the children can go wild, seclude oneself or lovingly take care of the smaller residents. I like these moments of exuberance, bliss and carefreeness best. After dinner, the last chores are done and soon afterwards, the children up until primary school go to bed. The bigger ones then enjoy a moment of peace and talk with Patricia and the other adults about life.

Just before five o'clock is day guard. I was always allowed to help the girls with their hairdressing. All schoolchildren are brought up to become independent early on. Everyone has to do the rotating chores on their own, be it cleaning the bathroom, making the beds, cleaning the floor or helping out with breakfast. The schedule is tight in the morning and perfectly timed. At seven o'clock the children are driven to school and we spend some time dedicated to the little ones, before we go to Patricia's office to pay our attention to the administrational tasks.

The days are intense, time flies in an instant, yet Patricia magically manages to dedicate the moment of undivided attention to each individual habitatnt. The security and the deep trust that Patricia brings to the children is the foundation for a healthy development and an emotionally stable future. She and her closest team of confidants manage to offer these destined children hope and perspectives with the seemingly simple construct of belonging and structure, unconditional love and sustainable rules for everyday life. I am deeply impressed and take my hat off to Patricia, she provides a superhuman performance to give the people of Honduras hope again in humanity.

On the return flight I used the time to revue my intense experience. I came with the desire to Honduras to find out for myself if Patricia's mission could be mine. Unfortunately, that's not the case. Patricia has created something unique and found her personal path. However, I will continue to support her with much passion, and try to share the good deeds with people who can contribute, in whatever form, to Patrica's life's work. My path has not been carved into the stone yet, but one thing is for sure, it will cross over again and again with Patricias’ and her residents’.

Un sincero agradecimiento desde el fondo de mi corazón a las personas que hacen “yo quiero ser…” en el lugar donde está.