As you can see from this post, the packing of gifts for so many children, plus clothing and basic necessities for myself for a week, was a small adventure by itself. But somehow I got everything to barely fit, and I was up dark and early at 2:30 am the morning of June 23rd to get ready for my trip to Honduras. I was more nervous for the travel part of it all than I was for the actual trip, which I really wasn’t nervous for at all. So I was anxious to get my day of traveling started and get there already, safe and sound, so my week could really begin!
When I arrived at the airport and used United’s scale, my suitcase weighed in at 49.5 lbs, and I couldn’t be more relieved! I had brought along a small, empty, collapsible suitcase just in case I was over the weight limit, but thankfully it wasn’t needed and I was able to send it back home with my family. The crazy thing is that even if you’re one pound over, the fees get way more expensive than it would be to check a second bag.
I had a connecting flight with a short layover in Houston. I was a little worried about having enough time there, and that worry increased greatly when my plane from Chicago to Houston was late to take off. Upon arrival, our gate wasn’t ready for us, so it took even longer to deplane. By the time I got off, I was doing a very fast walk through the airport, riding the skyway across terminals, to finally make it to my new international gate, where everyone else had already boarded. Thankfully they were waiting, and there were even a couple people to board after me, but it was still a close one!
On the flight to Honduras, most of the plane was composed of Americans on missions teams. I sat next to some interesting people and enjoyed hearing their stories. Once arriving in Honduras, the customs line was extremely long and slow-moving. I was able to find and meet up with another member of the team in line who had been on the same flight, though. Once we finally made it through, we weren’t quite sure where to go, as we couldn’t find Russell or any of the Sowers 4 Pastors people. We met up with another team member, but as the wifi in the airport wasn’t working and we didn’t have anyone’s phone numbers, we were kind of stuck. Finally we spotted Russell, the other Sowers staff, and our two other team members arriving that day, and our travel group was complete! After getting some Wendy’s at the airport, we began our 4 hour journey through Honduras and into the mountains.
The team that had arrived the week prior had gotten held up by protests on their way down, and although they stayed safe, it took a very long time to arrive, which I think was in the back of all of our minds. But we made great time with our drive! The driving and the roads in Honduras are certainly interesting! They were even bumpier than Guatemala, though not quite as winding going up into the mountains. Everyone passes everyone, and all of the traffic rules seem to be more “suggestions” than actual laws.
Since my day began at 2:30am (1:30 Honduras time), I was so glad to be arrive in Gracias, Lempira at Hotel Guancascos at around 6pm. It was a long day of traveling, but the beauty of the hotel, the excitement of being there, and the warm welcomes from the team members already there kept me perked up! We got our bags in our rooms and went right to dinner.
I ordered chips and salsa for dinner, which would become one of my favorites for the week, as they were the best and most fresh tortilla chips I’ve ever had. It was great getting to meet everyone at dinner and hear a little more about the week. One of the many wonderful things about Hotel Guancascos is that all of the food is prepared with water that is safe for us, so things like salsa and fresh fruits and vegetables are totally safe to eat there! They also have water coolers around the hotel to fill up your water bottles!
After dinner, we took a walk to a nearby grocery store to purchase some groceries for families we would be visiting the next day. I pretty much fell in love with Gracias right away, walking the streets of this charming town in the evening, seeing some of the sights pointed out to us. The grocery store was small and very busy, and it had a mix of things we’d see at our grocery stores and Honduran things. The groceries were very heavy, but Kim graciously helped me carry mine, which she did not have to do 🙂
Before going to bed, I still had to go through my luggage and get all the gifts ready for the following day. I would be visiting my four El Tablon children: Maria, Cristian, Yeyson, and Greysi. As I previously shared, to make everything fit in my luggage, all the gifts were mixed together in vacuum bags. I used the pictures I had on my phone of what gifts went with each bag for what child, and eventually everything was ready to go and I was able to finally crawl into bed!
Click here to Read about Day 2: