Starfish and Good Collisions

A blog post written by volunteer Kristen Pierce.

I am so grateful for the experiences that I have had and continue to have with Casita Copán. Having heard about the vision before it was a reality, when I started my journey here I never would have expected the real thing to live up to the dream. There is so much more we want to accomplish, but right now I can look back with only joy at what I have had the opportunity to witness so far.

I fell in love with many of the Casita kids before they were Casita kids. They were malnourished, dirty, lice ridden, sick, some incredibly socially and emotionally behind, and lacking any support in school and life. The impoverished situation of their mothers made it difficult to provide merely adequate nutrition. The only daycare facility available for those in this poverty was one of sickness, stench, unlivable conditions, and neglect. The future looked dim, to say the least.

For all of these negatives there is now a positive. Neglected, no; they are loved in abundance. I feel like this recognition is more than enough reason to celebrate. I am so thankful for the people who worked to create the place and organization called Casita Copán for this reason. I am grateful to those who continue to invest in the lives of these children, especially the wonderful Honduran women who are already looking ahead to their future. Now I get to see these special children grow and thrive.

I am grateful for the “cultural collide” that occurs in Casita Copán. With volunteers from other countries as well as a grounded Honduran staff, there is a whirlpool of different ideas and backgrounds in one little place, all trying to pour a little goodness and stability into the lives of single mother families and their at-risk children. Yet, we all learn so much from these children and their mothers as well.

This gradual and unassuming collide chisels out little pieces of yourself you thought were very important and implants instead large portions of respect and love for humanity in general. It doesn’t matter anymore your background, your bank account, your degree, your ideas and visions. In this moment, a little child with a very different life wants you to hold him, read to him, and he and you are equals in that instant. I am very grateful for this simple reality. I am human, we are human, and we are all at our best when we are truly seeing each other and caring for each other in spite of our differences.

A popular story my mother told me is about a man who, after a big storm, is trying to help throw thousands of starfish back into the sea. Someone asks him why he bothers, as he can never save them all. Those who make Casita possible, including you, are certainly saving, not everyone, but some very special children from a childhood of neglect, and this may perhaps be just as, or even more important than the literal action of saving a person’s life. Even more, hopefully we will see them through to adulthood and witness a capacity brought about by support and love in their childhood and young adult years to build a solid future for their own families.

We would like to see this result, but right now I am content to be very thankful that 30 children now have a great support system and a lot of hope because of Casita Copán. I, for one, have learned and grown so much by being able to be a part of the creation of such a life changing organization and growing family.