By: Jenna MacPherson, Gritman Junior Volunteer President.
For the past three years, the Gritman Junior Volunteers have sponsored a student abroad. The sponsorship allows a child who cannot otherwise afford an education to attend a year of school.
Receiving this information and opportunity through the Rotary Club of Pullman, we chose to sponsor 12-year old Melanie Lorena Medina Lopez, a 7th grade girl, in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
Coincidentally, I traveled to Tegucigalpa over the summer as a Youth Ambassador sponsored by the U.S. embassy and the CAYA CIED program. I immediately contacted the coordinator of the Rotary Tegucigalpa Market Children Program, and although it is very rare and usually not allowed, he permitted me to see her during my two day stay in her city.
Communicating through him as a middle man, I told her that the only time we could meet was in the evening at my hotel room. Unfortunately it is suicidal to travel in Tegucigalpa at night, so I was informed that a reunion was not possible, but nonetheless I gave the family my contact information and the name of the hotel.
On the second night of my stay, I returned to my hotel long after dark to find a small family huddled on the couch in the bathroom-sized lobby. It suddenly hit me that it was Melanie's family - they had risked their lives to say thank you.
With tears in my eyes, I shook their hands and introduced myself. The father dropped to his knees on the floor and looked up at me humbly saying "Como un padre no tengo palabras suficientes para agradecerte." ("As a father, I don't have sufficient words to say thank you.")