It was a cool, rainy morning when we arrived at the POI neighborhood commonly known as “Feb 21.” The mission teams always wonder why it’s called this—until we explain that it was the day the neighborhood was founded.
On the agenda for the day was the delivery of four new mattresses to some families the staff pre-selected for us to visit.
We made our way up the broken, steep concrete steps and into the first home. Her name was Doris, and the moment we entered her home tears began to flood her eyes. Miguel, now 13 years old, stood proudly next to his Mom as the strange gringos entered his home. He kept watching his mother to see how to react, when the Pastor humbly mentioned the reason these strange guests were standing in his bedroom.
“These people want to give you a blessing, but they want you to know that it is not from them, it is from God.”—Javier
We made our way to two more homes as we walked the path these families walk multiple times a day. Even our fittest team members heaved at the magnitude of these steps. I cannot imagine the physical strength of these people, as they must go up and down this path to fetch water, wood, and any other necessity they might have.
We were once again back at the bottom of the steps to pick up our final mattress when a lady approached my friend Amber.
“I am Kimberly and Jeremi’s mother.”
They reached for an embrace when a POI staff member informed us, “we are giving them a mattress.”
We arrived at their home that was much smaller than any room in my own home. It couldn’t have been more than 10 feet wide. In it held all their belongings—including a picture of their sponsors, Amber and Chris.
“I don’t know how to thank-you. You do so much for my children as their sponsors. They really love you.” Tears flooded her grateful eyes as she sat on her bed and clung tightly to Amber. “They are so excited to spend the day with you that they won’t even sleep!”
Also on our agenda was a special trip to the mall. We wanted to give our sponsor children a day where they could just be kids. I remember when Amber was picking out gifts for Kimberly, she reminded me of how fast she had to grow up. With Jeremi tagging along behind her, and another 2-year-old sister, Kimberly has become a little mother—and she’s only twelve years old.
Kids deserve to be kids.
But unfortunately, where Kimberly and her siblings come from, you have to be strong, brave, and responsible—even when you don’t feel up to it.
The day we took our sponsors to the mall, the van overflowed with laughter and joy—both from our team and the kids. We started out the day with pizzas as big as the food-court tables could hold (and not a single piece was left-over!) We then made our way to the game room that even included a ferris wheel, bumper cars, and a mini roller-coaster.
The laughter was contagious.
Because today, these kids were just being kids.
We ended our day at the ice-cream vendor and a quick exchange of some gifts we had brought along. It was soon time to say our goodbyes, but the hardest part wasn’t the absence of their presence, but the realization of what they would soon go back home to.
We had now seen their home, sat on their bed, and wept alongside their mother as she accepted our affections with gratitude.
Soon Kimberly would go back to being a responsible little girl. Jeremi would only dream of returning back to the mall one day, and their sweet mother would go back to praying—praying that her children would be safe in a gang-infested neighborhood where food is scarce and water is expensive.
Sadly, this is the case for all five-hundred of our POI students. They aren’t allowed to be children because their country demands otherwise.
As a child advocate here at POI, my desire is not for you to browse our website and choose a child to send thirty dollars to every month. My desire is for you to see, feel, and know what it’s like for these children on a daily basis.
My desire is for you to go, to love, and to allow your heart to be broken for the poverty that stretches across our globe.
These kids deserve to be kids—and you and I have the opportunity to make that happen—even if it’s just for one day.
Who is blogging?
Hannah first traveled to Honduras at 6 years old alongside her family. After her return home, she knew she had to make a change. Now at 22-years-old, Hannah spends her time advocating for the POI children and traveling to visit them at every opportunity given. To read more, click here.