My morning routine isn’t quite the same since I returned from a mission trip to Honduras in February.
Simply turning on the bathroom faucet to brush my teeth and heading to the fridge to whip up some breakfast are now daily, poignant reminders of how fortunate my family is – how fortunate most of us are – to enjoy the luxuries of clean water and healthy, safe, accessible food.
I can still see the faces of the wonderful and very appreciative people in the Honduran villages who donned their Sunday best and quietly lined up with their families as we handed out water filters, food and clothes. Some walked two hours each way.
A largely developing country where one in five Hondurans lives in extreme poverty, theirs is a world where food can be scarce and water is often contaminated. They may only have access to water twice a week and typically store it in large, uncovered concrete basins where parasites and bacteria can thrive.
That’s their daily existence. It is tough for most of us to imagine what life must be like for them.
While we take clean water for granted, it’s a constant worry for many Hondurans. The risk for serious and sometimes fatal diseases like diarrhea, hepatitis A and typhoid fever is high.
Their needs are so basic and too often out of reach.
The trip brought back memories of my mission trip to Haiti as a teenager. Seeing the poverty and hunger first-hand – it was then that I knew I wanted to be a veterinarian. I could somehow play a role in providing safe, nutritious, affordable food to the world by helping farmers keep their animals healthy.
The trips were years apart – but both were eye-opening. Those of you who have been on similar missions can relate.
I’m so thankful for the invitation from a dear friend and veterinary colleague to join church members in Honduras. I’d go again in a heartbeat. What a rewarding and incredibly humbling experience. It’s still difficult for me to talk about my experiences there without getting emotional.
Seeing how others live can certainly bring us back to reality. And while sometimes we may question whether one small gesture can make a difference in a vast world with so many challenges – think about the mom with a big smile on her face, in her Sunday best, children at her side, with a new water filter in hand.
It’s a life-changer.