By Eric Johnson, PWW Volunteer & Honduras Trip Leader.
As I reflect on my most recent PWW trip to Honduras last month, I’m amazed that, even on my 7th trip, I always experience new opportunities to serve and be humbled by the wonderful children and families we spend time with in the remote region of Las Trojes. I love the perspective of humanity you receive, when you step out of your comfort zone and immerse yourself into another culture.
This year was a bit different for me because, after so many trips to Honduras as a “tripster” (trip volunteer), I stepped into the role of being a Trip Leader for PWW. I love that this role helps fulfill my passion of leading people who have never experienced humanitarian trips to third world countries.
Our PWW trip teams always go with the intention of making a difference and changing lives. But…we always come back immensely changed ourselves. These trips always guarantee an emotional tug on your heart, when you look down into the eyes of the children knowing that you are giving them health, hope and a better future.
A highlight for me, from this particular trip, happened when I was given the job of leading a small group of volunteers, hiking up a mountain near the school where our group was building a latrine. Our job was to lay down and glue together the PVC piping that would bring a water supply to the school.
We inherently know that there must be a “source” for the water, but we rarely see where it actually comes from when we are installing water filters in family homes. As we hiked through jungle-like terrain and coffee farms on the side of the mountain, we approached these huge boulders protruding from the thick brush. We had reached the source!
What’s funny is that I had images in my mind that we would come to a massive flowing river or waterfall flowing down the mountain. But no….a tiny, little fresh water spring that has eroded these boulders for centuries was being dammed up to create a pool of water from which the pipes we were connecting would tap into and flow from….a thousand feet back down the mountain.
For me, it was a reminder that, although the work we do for only a few days may just be scratching the surface of the global water crisis, on this particular day, it was enough to transform this school and its students. The 40 children in this community who attend this school now have simple access to water at school and a newly built latrine, hand-washing station and water filter.
So come with us!!! Spend a couple days traveling through the mountains, hiking home to home installing water filters. Work a little harder digging some trenches, mixing cement, or painting a latrine for the beautiful children at school. And then, finish off your trip with a community coming together to receive hygiene education. This experience will change your life, as it certainly has mine.