Thursday, September 30, 2004

My precious boys

I want to share with you all one of the most touching things that I do. You all know that I visit the prisons once a week and I wank to share with you a little more in depth about this experience. These boys range in age from 10-18 most of them are around 15 or 16. There are usually around 200 boys in the prison at one time but it seems to go in shift with several kids coming or going at the same time. The boys are divided into 3 sections; the eighteens, the MS's, and everyone else. The 18's and the MS's are two rival gangs and if they were together they would kill each other and/or recruite the other boys into their gangs for this reason the each have seperate sections of the jail. There are about 25 boys in each of the gang sections and then everyone else is in the main section of the jail. Each week I am touched by the number of boys that come up and ask Eriberto (the man I go with) to call their mom's and ask them to come visit them. This never ceases to bring tears to my eyes. I can't imagine my child ever having to ask a virtual stranger to call me up and beg me to go visit my son. These boys are literally starving for attention. We bring them all together for a devotional each week and they clamber to sit next to us. They won't "purposely" reach out to you, I think their need is just to overwhelming for them to acknowledge, but they will find reasons to bump into you or they smash inbetween you and the person next to you so that they have some contact, some affection. I'm getting to know a few of the boys fairly well and a couple of them will hug me goodbye. Sitting and talking to a group of them is filled with taps coming from all sides and not stop talking just so that I will give them each my attention. Most of them have had incredibly difficult lives and most of them have no one that comes to visit them. One of my favorite boys starting opening up to me last week and was telling me that he had been in and out of this prison his whole life, a total of 4 times, for doing drugs. He started by sniffing glue and then just worked his way up as the effects stopped being enough to help him cope with the pain in his life. He's lived on the streets or in this prison since before he was able to fend for himself. Boys like this just steal my heart. I can't help but wonder what these sweet, loving boys could have been if they'd been born to a family that loved them. Instead they're sitting in jail wondering if anyone will ever love them and if they will ever be able to overcome the things they've done in the past. I'll ask them if they are going to do drugs or be in a gang or whatever problem it is we're discussing, when they get out of prison and they are so honest. They look at me with fear and pain in their eyes and they say that they don't know. They tell me how hard it is not to. These boys rarely sit still, they are fidgety and have a hard time focusing, but when we pray I've never seen anyone pray more fervently. They want to believe in God. They want to believe they're worth being saved. They want to think that maybe God can love them. Of all the things I'm doing here in Honduras, I feel that this is the most important. This is the place where I share the love God has given me directly with kids who want it so badly. Please pray for these boys and please pray for me as I look for the right ways to share with them.

Is it raining??

I thought I'd share with you some of the adventures of my new home which I moved into about a month ago. First of all let me explain the layout of my house. You walk in the front door and to your right are a set of stairs that lead to the 3 bedrooms and one bathroom that are upstairs. You then walk into the living/dining room. Beneath the stairs is a second bathroom and a bedroom that I am contemplating making into an office. On the other side of the living room is the kitchen. This is the whole "inside" of the house. You then walk out the back door in the kitchen and on your right is a bedroom and bathroom that was advertised as a maidsroom and truthfully is a little bit scary. I avoid that room quite a bit. This is also where the large cement cauldron is for washing clothes. So anyway... 3 times now I've woken up in the morning in my upstairs bedroom, looked out the window, and thought "is it raining? I hear rain, but I don't see rain" I then precede to get up and look for the source of this conundrum. My mind is getting quicker and I now know the first place to look. The "maid's" bathroom. Occasionally, and for absolutely no reason at all because no one enters that part of the house, the toilet decides, in the middle of the night, to erupt water. This isn't a small leak this is Niagura falls in the back room. When this occurs I have to wade (because by this point the floor is 3-4 inches deep in water) into this dark dungeon of a room to try and turn off the toilet or at least direct it's flow towards the shower. Turning off the toilet is never an option because each time I think it is fixed and I turn the knob the knob falls off in my hand. After the third time, the handy neighborhood man that fixes things in my house decides that the problem is just to hard to fix and turns off the water completely to that bathroom. I'm hoping this is at least a temporary solution to the problem. Thinking this was the only problem toilet in the house, I was lulled into a false sense of security. This morning I woke up, stumbled to my nice little bathroom upstairs and used the toilet. Afterwards, as all good human beings do, I flushed the toilet...bad decision. My toilet decided it did not want to be flushed and began spraying water around my bathroom. I frantically move things like the toilet paper and my bathroom products out of the way while trying not to get soaked. After turning off the water I realize that this flooding bathroom is something I can fix. I take the top off of the toilet and precede to work my toilet fixing magic. My bathroom is now back in working order but I haven't yet gained the confidence to try my hand at the dungeon toilet. I think that' s a job for someone much braver and more skilled than me.
I have also had run ins with cockroaches, mice, rats and other household pests in my first month here. I seem to have gotten all of those problems under control through a combination of traps, poisons, and sprays. Life in Honduras will keep you on your toes. I'm going to the prison tomorrow so I'm sure I'll have some more stories again soon.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Scary Encounters

Hey there world. This is my first real blog entry so we'll see how it goes. I'm going to spare you all background information because I'm assuming that most if not all of the people reading this already receive my monthly newsletters. I thought I'd share with you all my latest two adventures. As most of you know I go to the juvenile boys prison every thursday and I quite enjoy it. It's great to be able to share some love with these boys that rarely receive any attention and are starved for a hug and someone to talk to. Well this past thursday I call to verify that my ride will be picking me up as usual and I am told that we are going on Friday at 10 instead, no biggy. So Friday I jump in the car and enroute I am told that we are going to the adult male prison and visiting the members of the gang 18, which is the most dangerous gang in Honduras. After a short and silent panic attack I resign myself to going to the one place in Honduras that I have been avoiding, the maximum security prison. When we walk in, of course, all eyes are on the young white girl that's never been there before and is the only person in the group anywhere near their age. Besides being incredibly intimidating looking the guys were fine and after about an hour of them all staring at me throughout a devotional and initial introductions, I struck up a conversation with 4 or 5 of the guys and made some new friends. As I learned on the way home after also visiting my boys at the juvenile prison, this will now be a weekly occurance. Though I don't think I'll ever enter without some trepidation, I look forward to the friendships that will be forged and the new opportunities that God has given me to share his love in a new place. On a less frightening though only slightly less stressful note, I've been dealing with ants in the office at the clinic for a very long time and today I got sick of it. Mind you these are not normal size ants, they are enormous and take up a good portion of my pinky fingernail, for an ant that's huge. The ants seemed to be coming from the printer so today I decided to take apart the printer and see once and for all what the problem was with these horrible things. Well I found the problem. As I lifted the back portion of the printer off ants starting pouring out. It was like a seen from some third rate horror film and I really thought they were going to take over the office and eventually the world. I preceded to take apart the back section, outside where I could make a run for it if I needed to, and found that it was completely full of ants and ant larvae. It was really disgusting but it seems to have fixed the problem and I hope to keep the ants at bay from now on.

I'm a Geek!!

I just wrote out my first post then changed the page and deleted the whole thing so I'm going to keep this second try short and hope not to make it a third. I thought I better hop on the blog band wagon before it leaves me behind. I'm amazed at how many of my friends do this on a regular basis and doubt that my blog will hold a candle to their faithful entries but here's to hoping.