Riding on the fast ferry from Roatan, Honduras to the city of La Ceiba I was nervous. It was only my second visit to an SOS Children’s Village and I didn’t have my pup Georgia to help me break the ice with the kids. Feeling the salt breeze crossing the bay I tried to imagine what the visit would be like. My Spanish was still very poor and I didn’t know how well we would get through the language barrier.
My ride was waiting for me at the ferry terminal, the village’s full size, bright yellow school bus. We spent 45 minutes chugging slowly towards the dramatic mountainous landscape that surrounds the city of La Ceiba. Things looked quite as we arrived, but they didn’t stay that way for long.
Before I knew it I was touring the village with its director, Olman Flores. Olman is a large and powerful man, but holds a jovial character within. This seemed somehow out of place with the fact that as I walked, Olman rolled along beside me. Then I realized the hidden blessing Olman brought to the children of SOS La Ceiba. A distraught boy of maybe 8 came crying to Olman as we walked. In no time at all the boy was calmed and he took his place helping Oman down the brick walk. Every day Olman deals with these children eye to eye and they love and respect him for doing so.
After visiting with a family for a short while a gathering was called in the central plaza. The kids played, laughed, and all the young ones tugged and pulled at the tall stranger wanting to know who I was. Olman quieted the throng of kids and began telling them my story of the sea, Georgia, and Jargo. It wasn’t long before I was in the middle of the largest question and answer session of my trip.
As we began to lose control of the kids and the kids their patients with our stories and answers a beautiful young woman of maybe 12 came to tell me I had beautiful eyes. It was a bold move and one that instantly one her my affection forever.
Eating that afternoon with a family I discovered that Olman’s assistant was a former resident of this very village. He was raised just three houses down by his mother who still lived in the same home nearly exactly as it was when he was a boy. . This young man is the generational proof of how well these children turn out in the long run. The strength of his familial bond with his mother, brothers, and sisters, not of blood, but of the loving home he grew up in was a support system that has only grown stronger as they have all matured together.
It is time again for me to ask for your help in supporting SOS Children’s Villages. There are several options listed below of which almost anyone can find some way to help. Everything helps from helping to tell the story of SOS Children’s Villages to making a direct donation.
In addition, if you’d like to become more involved with a specific problem the SOS CV La Ceiba is facing please let me know. Their school bus is on its last leg and they will be forced to soon find a replacement. A former school bus from the United States will run approximately $5,000 which isn’t currently in the budget. Another $12,000 is needed for an upgrade and replacement of the septic system. The replacement has been engineered and fundraising for construction is just beginning. The village continues to expand and the existing infrastructure can no longer support the number of children under their care.
Option 1: Please take a moment to email your friends and family about this voyage. The single most important thing I can accomplish is to raise awareness for SOS Children’s Villages. I know things are tight everywhere financially, but this only costs a little time.
Option 2: The greatest way to benefit SOS Children’s Villages is to sponsor a child. This is a monthly donation of $30 U.S. Dollars that covers the cost of caring for a child in one of their villages. You can specify in what country you’d like to make your donation as well as making contact with the particular child you sponsor. My goal is to find 10 people who will each sponsor one child. Click Here
Option 3: Donate any amount that you can afford to give. It doesn’t matter if it is 50 cents, the donation matters. Use the form to enter a preset amount or enter your own amount. Click Here
Option 4: You can donate directly to Sailing For SOS to keep this project sailing. However, unlike the two options above, this is not a tax deductable donation. Click Here