Alabama Honduras Medical Educational Network
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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Capturing the Moment, Developing Memories: Eric Peterson's Story

AHMEN's Rio de Agua Viva team was blessed beyond measure this year in many ways.  One which stands out most to me is that we were able to recruit a photographer named Eric Peterson to join the team.  Just look at some of his nature shots!

If these pictures weren't impressive enough, Eric is also quite the writer.  Keep reading to learn about Eric's experience in Honduras.

The Smiles of the Children
By: Eric Peterson

I’m not sure what prompted me to undertake this journey. If it was guilt or some noble ideal that made it feel like I had a duty to help where there was need. I went on this mission with the intention of somehow making a positive influence on the lives of people who were less fortunate. It was a sort of paying it forward exercise to make myself part of a larger world.

Our work in rural Honduras helps give individuals in the community the knowledge and tools to independently tackle health and economic issues which they are experiencing. I truly believe our work will help make a difference.

I expected to see a Honduras which was locked in poverty and bordering on despair. What I experienced was completely different.

While there is poverty and a lack of resources in many areas, I did not see despair. Instead I saw a refreshing simple happiness. I saw children without toys or wifi exuding a pure joy I rarely see in the US. I saw a sense of community not often seen in cities I have lived in. These children were laughing and playing making fun by playing a "ring around the rosey" type game, or if they were lucky maybe they had a single soccer ball which was more than enough to keep them smiling and entertained. They lacked many things we would view as necessities but were happy with what they had.

I came away from this experience with the feeling that maybe we aren’t rich after all. That maybe these “poor” Hondurans are much more developed than we are. Our technology and higher standard of living have saddled us with expectations and aspirations that in many ways prevent us from being happy. We are obsessed with trying to climb the corporate ladder or comparing our lot with the family next door. The make of our car or our address have become more important than having fun with family and friends.

So yes, this experience has changed how I view the world and how I will interact with it. I will change not out of guilt for having too much while others have so little, but because material things are not necessary to be happy.

The smiles of the children and the lessons I learned from them are what I will remember most from this trip. I set out to help others and in doing so helped myself.

I couldn't have said it better myself.  Peace and happiness are not consumer goods wrapped in plastic with a bar code slapped on the back.  They come from within, and many times, they come as a result of having to do without.  

If you would like to join AHMEN's Rio de Agua Viva team, donate to our projects, or help support a team member in raising their team dues, contact me today!!

Together, we are the difference.