A Year in Copan Ruinas

Hey everyone! As many of you know, for the past year I have worked with Casita Copan as the Program and Development Coordinator.  As I get ready for my next adventure, I’d like to share a few of my most salient impressions and lessons with you all.

  1. Copan Ruinas is beautiful, magical, and…not such an easy place to live.  Copan can be the perfect place to visit, and a great place to live.  As a foreigner with a stable job, I have had the freedom to explore the ruins, the hot springs, and nearby cities.  However, frequent water, internet, and electricity shortages can make it feel impossible to have a productive day, and the reality is that the inconveniences posed to someone like me are so much less than they are for average members of the community.  Similarly, while I noticed and was impacted by some of the social issues here, I have to acknowledge that I could never fully grasp the way these things impact the mothers and children who participate in Casita Copan’s programs.
  2. Most children who live in orphanages or foster care have living parents.  When I arrived at Casita Copan just over a year ago, I was surprised to learn that almost all of the children in our foster care had living parents.  With time, I began to understand that many of our kids had been taken from their parents due to a complex combination of factors, including extreme poverty, misogyny, illness, neglect, or abuse.  Often, the parents themselves were raised in extremely challenging circumstances.  Without social support networks, single mothers often lose or give up their children to orphanages or foster care homes where they believe they may be cared for better.  58864936_10157238735266779_4409320040046788608_o
  3. Fundraising can be pretty fun!  One of the most unexpected and rewarding things that have happened during my time here has been watching people come together from all over the world to support us with new projects, like the opening of our transitional foster care home, or in medical emergencies, like when Alba was hit by a car.  To know that all we had to do was ask and so many people were willing to jump into action was really touching and inspiring.

I came to Copan just over a year ago, seeking insight into a culture that has become part of the national discourse in my own country as our media outlets spew headlines about immigration, caravans, and drug traffickers. And I did gain lots of important insight.  Perhaps what’s been more significant, however, is that Casita Copan has managed to turn my skepticism about international aid on its head.  Casita Copan’s integrated, realistic, and unwavering approach has truly made a difference, and I see that on the smiling faces of our 50 plus kids every day.  To help keep in touch and stay a part of Casita Copan’s amazing work, I recently decided to sponsor a child and I encourage all of you to do the same! I’m truly grateful for this experience, and for everyone that has helped make it possible.