Thirdeyemom

Silver Lining

silver lining (noun)

a consoling aspect of an otherwise desperate or difficult situation; “every dark rain cloud has a silver edge or lining”; “look on the bright side of it.”

Hondruas sky

Arriving into dark rain clouds in Honduras. January 2013.

Roughly a year ago I was in Honduras doing volunteer work and taking Spanish classes for a week.  It was my fourth volunteer trip, third one to a Central American country, and was fulfilling the promise I made to myself years ago to give back to those in need.

For a place of so much beauty, there is also so much pain.

This trip was quite different than the others. Perhaps it was because I was in a much poorer area than the other countries and also maybe because I was truly alone. I did not travel with a group of volunteers and instead flew there alone spending the week with a gracious Honduran host family who welcomed me with open arms.

Today, a year later I still think back about this experience and realize Honduras was filled with silver linings of bittersweet emotions and questions that I continue to have until this day. Emotions that will never fully be resolved yet will continue my quest to give back and do what little I can to make the world a better place.

Honduran kids

The kids lined up. In the background is the “playground” where they weren’t allowed to play.

The trip was filled with joys and sorrows. Joy for the beauty of the people, the welcoming touch of my host family and the wonders of their warm, fascinating culture. The sorrows of the children I left behind at the day care center, in a place that was neither warm nor welcoming. A sad place where I would never want to leave my own children for the day. Yet these women had no choice.

Sisters

The older sister holds and comforts her younger sibling. No one else at the center will hold her.

A year later, I wonder about these beautiful, smiling faces from my post Love and Heartbreak in a Honduran Day Care“. They smiled despite their poverty, despite this unloving place, despite it all. They showed me the beauty and innocence of children. The unbreakable resilience that allows them to survive. But I wonder what will become of them as they grow older and are left to struggle and fight in the cruel world of poverty and inequity in which they were born.

What will become of them? Will the sad, vicious cycle of poverty drown them? Will they too be left alone like their mothers to raise their children single-handly in poverty and have no choice but to send them to an unhappy place?

What will become of these beautiful, innocent faces?

Sadly there are no answers and the world is full of silver linings. It is up to us to question life, and make the best of what we can and do whatever is in our power to make it a better, more equitable place.

Related posts:

Love and Heartbreak in a Honduran Day Care

This post was inspired by Where’s my Backpacks’ Travel Theme: Silver. To read more entries, click here.

32 comments

    • I hope so Angeline. It was such a hard place. I called to complain when I returned home because I knew it wasn’t right. I did the best I can. Life is just hard and so much harder in places where poverty gives people so little choice or opportunity.

  1. Really hard to read this, Nicole, and not want to do something to alleviate that situation! I have been in similar places and it’s so frustrating and stays with you for SO long — hopefully, long enough to do something to make some kind of difference, like you writing a letter to the organization that sponsors the daycare center. It’s always really heartbreaking to see children (or older women) mistreated and neglected like this!

    • When I got back, I called the director who ran my volunteer program and informed her about the situation there. Sadly, I believe this is really common there. The staff doesn’t care, are uneducated and low-paid. The mothers are poor and this is their only option. What bothered me is that the staff just sat on their bottoms all day on their cell phones, yelling at the children, slapping and hitting them and ignoring them. It was not a good place. Thankfully the volunteers like me were there as we were the only ones who held them, played with them or acted like we even cared. It was a sad situation. But sadly I do believe it is common.

  2. What a beautiful post from the writing to the pictures. I often find myself asking the same question of “What will become of these beautiful, innocent faces?” when I interact with the kids at the elementary school I work at in Spain. My kids are at least lucky to not be living in a third world country but there world is still filled with so much hardship. I hope as they get older that they can see all the silver linings that surround them.

    • Thank you so much for the comment. Yes, it is so true that when you are a child the world is so different and not until you get older you truly see and learn about the hardships involved. At least this is true for children not growing up in poverty or other difficult situations. Hopefully children will learn to make the most of life, give back and help make the world a better place. Most of all, be happy and kind. 🙂

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