Vacation like a philanthropist

Last week, I woke up at 5:30 one morning. I made a French Press for me and my roommate and then I climbed back on my bed and wrote in my journal for an hour. Writing the details of my days are not always easy to do because I want to get up and start “doing” things, but I am coming to the realization that it is therapy for me to remember moments and be grateful for the smallest events that happen in my daily life.

Then around 7 am, Jeanne and I went down to our “bodega” (cellar) for a specific Children of Utila project.

Donated school/teacher supplies for public school on the island Utila in Honduras, Central America

We assembled the packages on the large work table below our house.

We have received a number of school supplies over the past 5 months from perfect strangers getting in touch with us and asking how they can join in what we are doing. (If you don’t know what we do, check out our extensive FB page.) Over the Semana Santa holiday, we received a 35 lb box of 812 items from a couple from Minnesota who had their first dive experience on Utila.

School/teacher supplies donated by couple from Minnesota for the teachers at the public school on Utila, Honduras

812 items donated from one couple from Minnesota

We planned on greeting them at the ferry dock when they first stepped foot on the island, but since it was Semana Santa, there were extra ferry runs that day. Jeanne and I rode down to the dock on our bikes at the “normal” afternoon ferry time, 5 pm, only to remember that there were 2 other ferry arrivals previous to that.

Somehow, I figured they would find a way to get us the box of supplies they carried down. Afterall, we do live on a small island where most everyone knows each other or has heard of each other. Sure enough, within a few days, a friend calls me and asks if she can bring a box by the house that someone said was for us. Of course.

So, with these donated items, plus what we already received by other generous donors, we were finally able to put together a bag of needed supplies for the teachers at the public school (Centro Educación Basicá República de Honduras).

11 packages of teaching supplies from donors were organized, assembled and given to teachers at the public school in Utila, Honduras.

We organized 11 supply packages for Grades 0-9. Box of 24 crayons, 10 pencils, 4 pens, 11 erasers, 3 dry erase markers, 2 notebooks, 1 sheet of stickers, 24 colored pencils, 1 ruler, 2 sharpeners, 1 glue stick, 1 small bottle of lotion.

We finished assembling the packages, stuffed them into a box, and then bungee’d them to the back of my bike. We also have about 25 (gently used) soccer balls that were donated to Children of Utila from a family in the States. After recently asking the teachers for a list of most needed supplies, soccer balls were high on the P.E. teachers priority. So, I put 4 deflated soccer balls in a bag along with my hand pump and put it all in the front basket of my bike.

Donated school supplies assembled into packages and put in a box on my bike to deliver to each teacher at Utila's public school

Teacher supplies in the back and deflated soccer balls in the front of my bike

It was a privilege to deliver each package to the teachers at the school and they were very grateful.

The work we do at the public school would not be so far-reaching without the help of our generous donors. The packages we assembled were the result of gifts from:  a couple from New York, a couple from Minnesota, and a woman from Toronto, Canada.

All of them were coming to vacation on Utila. All of them happened to find Children of Utila in their searching. All of them before leaving their hometown, took the initiative to ask if they could be a part of our efforts.

Thoughtful. Generous. Selfless.

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