Monday, June 25, 2012

Home sweet home!

First time on the beach!!!
Dilcia and Normita really don’t have that much to go home too, but what counts is that home is home. It doesn’t matter how humble the house, how crowded the bed, how repetitive the meals. Their home is better than the royal palace in Aranjuez or the sultan’s headquarters in the Alhambra.

This trip has been an overwhelming experience for these girls. From a small hamlet in the mountains of Honduras travelling to modern Europe is quite a thing. But it wasn’t just the trip by plane or the many monuments we visited that made the strongest impressions. It was also living together with more than forty other kids from all over the word, all speaking the same language, each just slightly differently.
People who travel expect change and differences. But it is hard to image a world so completely alien as it must have been for these girls. Because everything was different! Going from sharing a bed with brothers and sisters to sleeping in a dormitory bunk bed is a big change. And there’s so much more; a real shower, late dinners, changing in front of others, living out of a suitcase, flushing toilet paper, and more than anything, different food. In Dutch there’s a saying that translates something like: what the peasant doesn’t know, he won’t eat, and indeed! No tortillas, beans, eggs and rice for almost two weeks was a true agony for the girls and I was worried they weren’t eating enough. But oh, how difficult their preferences! I mean, how can you like oranges but not orange juice? Chocolate and flan is okay, but chocolate pudding isn’t? They would eat croissants, but no baguette???

One of the goals of this forum is to have adolescents take stewardship of their patrimony and I think that has been quite the case with our girls. Not in the sense that Dilcia and Norma have represented the Maya ruins of Copán so passionately, but if there’s anything they have learned, it’s how different their lives are from the people they met. And not in a bad way: I mean, they had to go away in order to appreciate what they have. Living in an unspoiled village among lush nature with a breathtaking view of the ruins of Copán is something you learn to value much more from a distance. That combined with tamales made by your own mom and tortillas freshly bake on an open fire, and we’re talking about heaven. Home sweet home indeed!

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