We are FOC volunteers who enjoy the mission trips. They often involve long days of hard but challenging and fruitful work. We also spend our time in the U.S. working as gatherers of materials such as school supplies and shoes that are needed on the island. All of these activities are worthwhile and rewarding but we’d like to tell you about the activity that is closest to our heart. We elected to personally “adopt” a local island family—Jose’s family.
Jose is an 18-year old boy who has several disabilities and his family includes a grandmother, two adult women, and eight other children.
The family lives in a rural area outside of San Miguel, the main city on the island. Part of their home has concrete walls and floor and part consists of wood poles cut from jungle trees. They use an outdoor kitchen where they often cook over a wood fire to avoid the expense of filling a gas tank for a stove. They recently got access to electricity, but there is no plumbing.
Our first introduction to the family was when we were asked to help provide a pump system for water to replace the task of using buckets to draw it from a well. With the new pump, the children had their own bath water for the first time! The smiles
on their faces when that first water flowed are engraved in our memories.
We now know all the family well and the hugs and piggyback rides and squeals of delight each time we visit make every penny of our plane ticket worth it. On this trip, we purchased a refrigerator for the family so food
would not spoil in a few hours of heat. The possibility of having a refrigerator was only realized because another contributor paid for the electrical hookup. The family must now learn to ration their meager pesos to pay the electric bill. They are learning and are a step closer to becoming self-sufficient!
This does not mean you must spend big bucks to help out. The small things also bring great joy and benefits. A photo album that we made of the children prompted tears from Antonia, the grandmother. The hand-knitted baby blanket and the baby doll hugged so lovingly brought tears to our own eyes just like grandma’s. A box of Band-Aids or a cantaloupe – to us such simple things—are joys to these people.
We always leave with much more than we bring. Thus, the title of this blog. We keep returning for hugs for our hearts. They sustain us between visits and help make our lives worthwhile. If you think your heart could stand some hugs, there are many more families on the island who would love to be “adopted.” We promise it is the best investment you will ever make. The percentage of return can’t be beat in any market.—Roger and Diane from Nebraska