Friday, March 28, 2008

uno dia


Naseem and I have arrived safely in Roatan, Honduras. The island is beautiful, both exotic and familiar in its Westernization, spoiled with wealth and still riddled with poverty. When our plane flew in over the Carribbean, the first thing we noticed (aside from how different this beach looked than Galveston) was a giant cruise ship docked in front of a resort beach...just right down the beach were run-down homes with tin roofs and peeling paint. We hadn't even actually arrived in Roatan and already we were presented with a paradox that would manifest itself in various forms throughout the rest of the day. Honduras knows that Roatan is its money-maker, so the roads are smooth and well-paved, the beaches are clean, and there are a ton of tourist hot-spots lined up and down the coast and winding all the way into the dense green of the jungle. However, all it takes is a closer look, and the poverty and desparation of the island make themselves known.

The state of the island accurately reflects the condition of the kids at the orhpanage. At first glance, the kids seem to have everything they need accessible, and for the most part, at least materially speaking, they do. They all have ipods, the living room houses a flat-screen tv as well as two computers complete with video games, and a plethora of plastic toys inundate the house. Everything about the facility is high quality and it seems that the kids could not possibly want for anything. But you scratch beneath the surface, just barely, and you can see the kids are hurting immensely. While the place is nice, the orphanage has procured a lot of debt from most of the extravagant expenses of the previous director. Now there is barely enough money to feed the children here.

The kids have severe issues with abandonment and attachment, not just because they are orphans, but because every adult figure in their lives has eventually left. They have had little of stability for at least the last 7 years, and for some of them, their whole lives have been subject to tumultuous change. The last director was, to say the least, corrupt, abusing not only the finances but the children as well. It remains to be seen exactly what kind of physical abuse went on at the orphanage, but it is pretty evident that this abuse is manifesting itself in the kids through mistrust, sporadic outbursts, hurt, and anger.

But on a lighter note, so far the kids have been a joy to be around. Because Naseem and I are only staying for 2 months-ish, they want to be really careful about introducing us into the kids' lives. We didn't meet any kids yesterday, and today we've met --and played with--most of the younger boys. They're really sweet so far and full of energy. There are three older girls here, ages 18, 17, and 15, and so far Naseem and I are both a little intimidated by them. We haven't even officially met them yet but we've seen them around and I think it might take a little time for them to warm up to us. Apparently they've been some trouble lately, so we are hoping that maybe we can bond with them at least a little bit since they are pretty close to us in age.

I guess that's about it for now. Naseem and I are going to take turns with this...neither one of us has ever had a blog before, so we're pretty new to all these shenanigans, but hopefully y'all enjoy this. I'm going to try to post pictures later, but let's be honest, I'm not exactly computer saavy, so maybe I won't post pictures after all. Haha. Seriously, I should be able to do this. I have a college degree. Adios!

Peace, Alison

8 comments:

Matt Davis said...

F. That was some seriously tasty writing. I think I'm going to have to go back and read it again; I was too busy marveling at the sentences.

No, seriously, I'm really looking forward to these next few months of discourse from you two. :)

Sam and Brittany said...

Hi friend! I stumbled upon your blog after freakishly stalking your facebook. Sounds like you are going to do some great things there. I am interested to read more and learn about your mission there. Keep it up! I miss talking to ya!- Brittany

APN said...

First things first: thank you for being so honest and open with your writing. Your transparency will resonate well with children of all ages.

Second: Seriously?!? You don't know how to upload pictures? My MOM finally figured it out, so I know you can as well.

Third: What is a college degree really worth? Anyone?

APN

Ruthie said...

Hey you guys! I am glad to see you got to Honduras alive! I look forward to reading about yo adventures. Take care of yourselves! Love.

ryansupak said...

glad yall got there in 1 pc...

rs

ps -- spelling typo in second paragraph.

pps -- apn: a college degree is worth something if you have a specific purpose for it. i'm thinking of an engineer or a lawyer, for instance.

SaintBarbarian said...

Wow.

lpschoger12 said...

Allie!! I miss you tons already. I would be lying if i didnt say that reading your first couple entries didn't affirm my beliefs that i want to be just like you when i get older and out of college. Not in a creepy, cant figure out my own life, sort of way. Just the fact that i want to help people the way that you are. Your amazing Allie and even though you will be missed here for two months, the kids up there need you so much more than we ever could. I love you so much and ill continue to read! thank you for everything you have done in my life. I wouldnt be the person that i am today without you and ruthie.

<3Lauren Schoger

Jason Raschen said...

And so it begins…