A Taste of Trujillo

by Kim Hodgkiss

Four years ago I came to the small coastal community of Trujillo (Tru-HEE-yo), Honduras as a volunteer English teacher. I learned to adapt to the climate, the culture, the food, a new language, a lack of basic services, a myriad of bugs, and many types of isolation. Through it all, God confirmed my calling to share my life and faith with others.

Two years ago I became the director of the residential Training Centre for teenage girls who cannot afford to attend high school. Once a week the students bus in from rural communities outside of Trujillo, travelling from 1-4 hours each way, and stay with us from Monday to Friday. Our two-year program includes vocational training in sewing, including pattern making; cooking, including nutrition and hygiene; computer and business skills, and English. In addition, we teach the Bible and Christian values; many of our girls come to know Jesus personally and grow in their faith during their time with us. It is amazing to see them blossom before our eyes!

Left: Girls at the Training Centre - changed for this life and eternity! 

Right: Teens learn marketable skills and Christian values.

As an added benefit, our graduates receive treadle sewing machines to take home to their villages as a potential source of income. For those who are academically inclined, we offer scholarship. Past grads have helped support themselves through sewing and have gone on to study in careers such as Tourism, Business, or Computer Technology.

Despite our weekly schedule at the Centre, no day is ever the same. Seemingly mundane tasks can take a turn, circumstances change at a moment's notice, and one always has to be ready to bend. I often joke about how daily life in Trujillo is an adventure. As an example, here I outline "A Day in the Life" - what I did yesterday - to give you a taste of Trujillo.

6:00 am

- Throw in a load of laundry even through it is raining and I can't hang it to dry. For the past several weekends we haven't had running water and have no tanks for storage at the house, so i need to take advantage of having both electricity and water at the same time.

6:45 am

- Meet with Juan, our new watchman and groundskeeper. Juan has a passion for yard work and is undertaking a big clean up on our beachfront property as well as regular maintenance at the Centre. He and Berta moved in last month and it is a blessing to have them on the team!

7:15 am

- Breakfast at the Centre, touch base with our housemothers, Rosa and Lidia.

7:45 am

- Share devotional Heb 11:1 "Faith is being sure of what we hope for." Recount the faith of George Mueller, evangelist and orphanage director who cared for over 10,000 orphans in the late 1800s while never asking for support from anyone but God. Also tell the story of the villagers plagued with drought who gathered at the church to plead with God for rain, and only one small boy had the faith to bring an umbrella. Help us Lord to demonstrate our faith as well!

8:15 am

- Teach English class to 2nd years, 1st years continue pattern making and sewing.

9:00 am

- Part way through our class, Cablevision comes to install a new system.

10:00 am

- Search in vain for a spark plug for the weed eater. Pray the old one into action again. Bring Juan gas for the lawnmower. Most of the streets in town are dug up, and mud is flowing in the rain. The construction isn't marked, so I end up circling around and backing up for blocks when the roads end in a chasm or a pile of broken cement.

10:45 am

- Return to the Centre, sign the birthday cards for three of the girls, wrap their gifts of soap, shampoo, lotion, etc.

11:15 am

- Up to the bank - can I make it in time? Nope, not enough time to get through the line.

Noon

- Come back for the birthday party - celebrating three who were born this month. For many of our girls it will be the only birthday celebration they have.

Top: Core staff bonding time - back: Rosa, Dilma; front: Lidia, Santiaga, me.

Bottom: Celebrating birthdays on the beach! For most of the girls, this will be their only celebration. 

2:00 pm

- Computer teacher taught extra classes the day before, so we're free to take the cupcakes to the beach (it's still sprinkling off and on). We visit a local restaurant, and the girls squeal with delight on the water slide and enjoy the lounge chairs while the teachers relax around the covered tables.

3:30 pm

- The girls practice their dances while I head back to the bank for the mid month pay. I remember the pharmacy and pick up drops for the dog's eye infection. Prepare the bus fares for this morning.

4:30 pm

- Give English test to the first years while the second years make supper.

5:30 pm

- Enjoy supper of refried beans, grated white cheese, flour tortillas and a slice of avocado. Mmm!

I've come to love the traditional meal of beans and tortillas!

6:00 pm

- Review the dances and select the best ones to perform.

6:30 pm

- Mark the tests and record the grades. Meet with a scholarship student and review her grades too.

7:00 pm

- Youth group - the girls perform three songs.

The girls ministering in dance at the youth group.

9:00 pm

- Arrive home. Give Juan the medicine for the dog, retrieve my laundry, and hang it all indoors over chairs and railings and set the fans to dry it.

9:30 pm

- Prep for tomorrow, and relax!

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