"Prefiero vivir y perder, que no haber vivido nada. //
I prefer to live and lose than never to have lived at all."
After listening to the same Spanish song on repeat all year, I was finally able to understand that line and it could not describe my year more perfectly. As I approach my final few weeks here at Amigos de Jesus, I am starting to face the reality that I will have to leave the place that has captured my heart and changed my life. I know that leaving is going to be heartbreaking, but I also feel so lucky that Amigos has truly become my home and a piece of my heart will always live here. Looking back, it is hard to pinpoint exactly when I fell in love with my life here, but little by little the challenging days became fewer and fewer and my love for this place grew greater and greater.
From the kids, to the Padrinos and Madrinas, to the Honduran teachers, to my own roommates, to Amy and Wilson, I have come to love and appreciate so many people here. Through my different relationships, I have learned so much about what it looks like to love unconditionally and I am continually blown away by the sacrifices that people make to show these kids love and give them a better life.
Beyond Amigos, there are so many other aspects of Honduras that I love and will miss. The people here are just so generous and kind, always offering to help you in any way that they can or inviting you over for dinner. I will never forget the time that I was sick and my student's family drove me to the doctor, made me soup, and made me feel so loved. In addition to being generous, the people here have a joy for life that was unfamiliar to me. From the dancing, to the language, to the food (baleadas), I love so much about the culture and zest for life here. I can only hope to bring a bit of this joy back with me as I transition home.
As of today, I have exactly three weeks left and as sad as I am beginning to feel, I also feel like my heart is exploding with happiness, knowing that I have lived to the fullest this year. I will forever be grateful for this experience and I am already counting down the days until I can return and give hugs to all of the kiddos.
~ Laura Montes, 2016-17 BECA Volunteer (1st grade teacher)