By LINDA GILBERT
“Share with your friends. Give to those in need. Be generous.”
Didn’t we frequently hear these words when we were growing up? Did we ever realize their significance? The Hands to Honduras Tela Giving Project provides an important and heartwarming example of what can be achieved when you share your good fortune with others.
During the yearly February humanitarian service trip, we note the expressed needs of those with whom we work and strive to meet those needs on the following trip.
By summer, this wish list of needs for the Tela community is long. It is shared with friends, family, organizations, professionals and businesses. Often we are asked what the greatest need is.
Many of the rural areas where we work are impoverished and lack electricity, safe drinking water, adequate transportation and health services. They have very little of what we would consider “the basics.”
Vermonters are very giving and have helped us fill this wish list. We are now in the process of packing our second suitcases with needed items. Besides the usual and large array of medical and dental supplies, we include unusual items such as head lamps to use in dimly lit exam rooms; assorted hats that offer protection from the sun’s rays; maps of the world for classrooms; work gloves for our Honduran laborers; police uniforms to be reused by the Tela police; new and gently used baby blankets for new mothers; umbilical catheters (specially needed and difficult to find); rescue helmets for the Tela fire department; hand-knitted baby hats for newborns that are so appreciated by the new moms – it melts your heart to see their joy. And many more needed items.
So, what do we receive from all of this planning and work for people in such a far away country? Everything! When you give without expectation, you are the one who receives the most – a smile, a hug, an eye contact that is full of emotion, an experience that stays with you. The rewards of giving are priceless!
Such kindness can multiply and lead to a more peaceful and loving world.
Linda Gilbert is the director of Hands to Honduras Tela, an international humanitarian service program with volunteers from Vermont and other states who visit Honduras annually to construct school classrooms, latrines, and health centers, and provide services including health and dental screenings, educational and public safety training seminars, and more. To donate or assist with the group’s upcoming visit, contact Gilbert at email@example.com.