Written by Emily Shaw Osborne, PWW Volunteer, Honduras
This week in Honduras with Rotary and Pure Water for the World has been an extraordinary trip, and a beautiful gift of perspective. It’s been a week of experiencing intense poverty, incredible joy, unique culture, and a powerful God who cracked our hearts wide open so that we could love and serve in abundance. Definitely, humanity at work.
Oddly enough, the paradox of generosity is that we often get back more than we GIVE. The beautiful people of Honduras undoubtedly made us better human beings. They welcomed us with open arms, poured out gratitude, educated us, worked along side us, and loved on us in return. I was so impressed with the Honduras Pure Water for the World Team (PWW). They are doing amazing things for their communities to save lives and we got the opportunity to tour their headquarters in Trojes. On top of everything else they do, they took care of 21 of us Americans throughout the entire trip and let me tell you, that wasn’t easy. They are very patient people.
PWW has installed over 5000 bio sand water filters and over 2500 latrines (bathrooms) to date in homes and schools in Honduras. 130/360 communities have received their filters so still much work and fundraising to be done. The remaining homes are 2+ hours out from Trojes and children continue to get sick from the contaminated water. The homes we did on this trip have been on a waiting list for water filters since 2011 – absolutely heartbreaking.
I am still not yet in a space where I can eloquently describe in words the impact of our experiences. In fact, I sat on the plane in Tegucigalpa waiting for take off looking through hundreds of photos… and I just cried. Part of me didn’t want to leave this country, or leave the children, but I also desperately miss my own children. Finally however, after many missed connecting flights and an unexpected 5 1/2 hour hotel stay in Seattle, I arrived home, tired and dirty. I was able to stand in our walk in shower without having to worry about contaminated water getting into my mouth …. and I cried the entire time. I then opened the refrigerator to look for food to take with my Malaria pill and stood there just staring at ALL the food we have…. a packed fridge FULL of food…… and I cried. Again! I think this is going to be a process…
So many things we Westerners take for granted – plumbing, electrical, sanitation, clean water, FREE clean water with ice even at restaurants, television, vehicle transportation, grocery/convenience stores, sidewalks and paved roads… and on and on…. The remote communities we worked in outside of Trojes have NONE of these things. It took us 2 hours each way in the back of trucks to reach these homes and even then, some hiking was involved to get to the homes to install the water filters but, these filters will save lives.
Thank you to my friends, family members and Rotary family for your generous donations! You helped make a difference in the lives of hundreds of children who deserve our love. Special thank you to our leaders: Chris Choate, Cheryl Woods and Eric Johnson for your endless hours planning every single detail and for making this a trip of a lifetime! ❤️
From Emily (regarding this letter from Erlin, a student at the school Emily visited):
Thank you Erlin Alfonso Moncada Montoya. Your wishes are coming true. Health, hope and opportunity come from safe water.
“When I grow up I want to be a Veterinarian because I take care of animals.”
“My favorite subject is natural sciences because it teaches us about animals and plants.”
“My favorite game is soccer because we run.”
“I want water and bathrooms in my school so that the environment is clean.”
Thank you so much, Emily, for sharing this beautiful expression of your Honduras trip experience. We are deeply grateful to you and all of the dedicated volunteers who made the journey, complete with your own sacrifices, to help the people of rural Honduras. You have left a lasting impression and the work you all completed will change lives forever.
Interested in joining PWW in Honduras or Haiti? Click here to view our upcoming trips.