Shortly after returning home from my first trip to Honduras, I purchased a ticket to go back. And then another. And then another. And after four or five short-term trips, I bought a one-way ticket to San Pedro Sula. I was going to teach preschool in Cofradia, a small city outside of San Pedro, for a year. I was going to mold the minds of four years old and prepare them for years of bilingual school. These kids were going to be smarter, better behaved, and more prepared for the world. Because of me. Yep. They sure were! I was going to make a difference. Yep. I sure was!
Shortly after starting the school year, I found myself getting to know my kids’ families. Going on home visits gave such amazing insight into the brains of the little minions that I spent my days with. On some occasions, I would meet with two parents who love each other and support their child and are financially able to take care of all their necessities. But on other occasions, I would meet with an aunt or uncle who, along with taking care of their own biological children, were also responsible for my little peanut. Sometimes they were struggling to make sure each child got fed every day. Sometimes they worked all day and couldn’t spend much time at home. Sometimes the problems were worse.
Fast forward a couple months. After seeing Carlos, my “first street kid,” on the street, I started spending my afternoons playing cards with him and his friends in San Pedro. I met and slowly got to know these kids. Sometimes the kids had been abandoned. Sometimes they, despite being a teenager, were unable to read. Sometimes they had severe addictions and had suffered more abuse than I can wrap my brain around. It very quickly became overwhelming to see just how much these kids (both my students and those on the street) needed. And it, almost as quickly, became very apparent that, in comparison to these huge needs, I was doing very little.
I was, if you will, nothing more than a drop in the huge bucket of their lives.
Almost two years later after purchasing that one-way ticket, I continue trying to be that drop. In no way am I trying to downplay the significance of the work that I and others do; the world absolutely needs these drops. But it’s been through accepting my role as a drop that things have been put into perspective. This huge bucket is likely not going to be filled all at once by one person. It’s filled drop by drop.
The teachers who continue to teach in Cofradia, loving their students and finding true passion in educating them. Drop.
The day that David threw out his bottle of glue because he finally accepted that he’s not allowed in my car with drugs. Drop.
The moment a kid decides to trust another person and open up about their past. Drop.
The day Santos called me to pick him up and take him back to ProNiño. Drop.
Julio paying me back money that I had lent him. Drop.
When ex street kids go to the very same intersections where they used to live and offer counsel to current street kids. Drop.
Witnessing a kid make a decision that will benefit him in the future instead of focusing on the “here” and “now.” Drop.
Volunteers who come and make special connections with kids they meet. Drop.
Drop, drop, drop.
Eventually, the bucket will get filled. I ask you to find how to be the best version of your drop. Find your passion and be that drop, wherever you are. Whether it be teaching, psychology, activating for animal rights (surely that must be someone’s passion, right?), street kids, special needs kids, wanting to improve the justice system, educating the world about reproductive health, etc. Do something. Don’t let the thought of being “just a drop” be discouraging.
“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” -Mother Teresa
Want more insight on this topic? Read Kelly’s fabulous blog here!