Soles4Souls Travelers Reflect On Honduras Trip

The Honduras group travelers share their thoughts and unforgettable moments from the shoe distribution trip with Soles4Souls.

Mallory Trusty, director of human resources, OrthoPediatrics, Indiana
“There are so many rewarding and impactful experiences from our time in Honduras. As a repeat traveler with S4S, it is so remarkable and joyful to see some of the same children year after year — how they have grown, how they are thriving and happy and dreaming for their future. The extreme poverty we see in Honduras [and other parts of the world] can break your heart in an instant. But rebuild it just as quickly, when you see the love and kindness of all the people we meet there. It fills my heart and reminds me of the all the blessings in my own life. It’s quite selfish to admit that I inevitably get more out of going than I give, but being there is truly good for my heart. I’m already looking forward to my next trip; at Soles, they say, ‘Give Shoes, Give Love’ — and it’s such a true statement. When you put a pair of shoes on the feet of a child who needs them, you’re not just alleviating a physical need — you’re giving that child a piece of your heart. And putting that out into the universe is such a good thing, that we all need more of. More kindness, more generosity, more love.”

Soles4Souls in Honduras
Mallory Trusty decorates shoes for children in Monterey.
CREDIT: Briana Marie Photography.

Brooke Peterson, co-founder and head of charitable giving, Causely, Colorado
Most rewarding: “It was most rewarding to meet with the women who were part of the micro-enterprise program. To hear their stories about going from living in extreme poverty to the newfound hope they have for how they are getting and will get their families to a healthier place, financially, was very moving and inspiring. I left each encounter racking my brain for creative ways to support and empower these women further. They are the change and inspiration that Honduras needs.”

Most surprising: “The widespread use of the term ‘regalame’ — or translated to English, “gift it to me” — was a reminder of how charitable programs that focus on only short-term solutions can have a negative influence on the people receiving them. The combination of the corruption and lack of support from the government, few jobs available and ‘handouts’ from charities has left some of the people expecting things to be handed to them. To be clear, they need meals, safe drinking water, clothing, etc., to stop the bleeding, but they also need long-term support and solutions, such as enterprise programs — and that’s exactly what Soles4Souls provides. They do it right.”

What I learned: “I learned a lot about the hurdles and challenges that the people go through just to bring in a livable income. In the U.S., we have so many options and opportunity — if we commit to it and are resourceful, there is almost always a way to change our situation. But if a person in Honduras has the same mentality, they still face another set of challenges. Even securing a small business loan can be impossible. Meeting people with so much potential and understanding the level of a challenges they faced that were holding them back was very frustrating to see.”

Soles4Souls in Honduras
Brooke Peterson washes children's feet in Las Crucitas.
CREDIT: Briana Marie Photography.

Marc Richardson, area director at Boy Scouts of America, Central Region, Indiana:
Most rewarding: “For me the most rewarding part of the trip was washing and then fitting the children with shoes. The smiles on their faces still melts my heart even weeks after the trip. This also was a humbling experience to be truly doing servant leadership.”

Most surprising:How incredibly resourceful the Honduran people are. They do an awful lot with so little.”

What I learned: “I was completely fascinated by the micro-enterprise side of the operation. The interview Buddy [Teaster] did and I got to participate in while we were in the village of Los Olivos really struck a chord with me. People who were shunned by their own government but still had a ton of fight in them to succeed was amazing. The co-op board of four woman was inspiring.”

Overall reflections: “This trip was truly life-changing for me. As a nonprofit executive, it was awesome to go on a trip and just serve.  Tiffany did such an awesome job of leading us I could just be a participant. I manage about 150 people directly/indirectly, and my life is full of issues and challenges. This trip brought perspective that my challenges are miniscule compared to daily challenges in these villages. My heart is full and my wife and I are strongly considering returning in 2017 with S4S.”

Soles4Souls in Honduras
Marc Richardson blows bubbles and plays with the children in Las Crucitas.
CREDIT: Briana Marie Photography.

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