Last week, I attended one of my first staff meetings. Violeta, the owner of the school, came to the meeting and told us a story about Douglas (a teacher in the school). He is an excellent teacher and employee. And he has been dating a girl for several years. They want to get married...but they can't afford it. Sure, they could go down to the alcaldia and have a judge sign the papers, but Douglas told Violeta that every little girl grows up wanting a real wedding with a white dress, and he doesn't want his girlfriend to get married at the alcaldia because she deserves her dream wedding.
"I think we should give him a surprise wedding. Do you want to help?" she asked.
I glanced around the room, and the response was overwhelming. Everyone was raising their hands.
"We could decorate the courtyard of the school and have it here!"
"My grandmother makes really good food, she can cater it."
"I make really pretty flower arrangements, I can do that!"
"I can play the piano!"
"To pay for the supplies," Violeta explained, "we all need to chip in a little bit of money. How much can you each give?"
Keep in mind that this is a school targeted to lower income families. Most teachers there make the minimum salary of L. 5,500 (about $290/month).
I was expecting everyone to say 50 lempiras, or less. To my surprise, everyone, all 25 of them, started shouting "L. 100! L. 200! No, that's not enough, let's give L. 300 each!"
As soon as the meeting was over, I walked outside to call my husband. I told him the story with tears streaming down my face. "I can't believe we are actually stressed that we can't buy a second car. That we can't buy a house. That we can't travel back and forth to the US whenever we want. And here is this nice couple...They are not asking for a house, or a car, or money. They are asking for a simple wedding. A marriage! And my coworkers are offering up significant portions of their paychecks to throw a wedding for them! We are so blessed, Jose. And we should be more thankful for what we DO have instead of complaining about what we don't. Because we have a good marriage, and we have each other."
English skills and US degree or not...I am getting so much more out of this job than I'm putting in.
Thank you to my new friends for showing me that there are good and decent people in Honduras. :)