Hey everyone, Sarah here. As I’m writing this, I’ve been back from Latin America for nearly three weeks. Some of our North American team members were able to take a trip down to visit Casa de Esperanza in Guatemala and La Providencia in Honduras. This was the first team travel in more than two years — and provided the first-ever opportunity for many of us to meet our international teammates!
Our leadership team had time to meet together, discussing our current operations and planning how to maximize and expand them. Plantain chips were never far from reach in those meeting rooms, not to mention the largest whiteboard I’ve ever seen.
Outside those rooms, though, was an entire world I was eager to explore. A large part of the 1.5 years I’ve spent with Horizon has involved photographs and stories of the children, families and communities we serve. Over the months, I’ve come to know these people and places well — I mean, as well as possible from my computer, hundreds of miles away. But now, being there, I could see those individual photos coming together before my eyes to form a beautiful landscape. I heard how all the short stories I read and wrote form a living-breathing masterpiece. Daily life, in all its mundane glory, was weaving itself together. And I could walk around in it.
I expected to — and did — meet the children and teens living in our communities. Seeing Johan running around with his friends after school, getting to know Julissa over pizza with the families, and watching the children gleefully collect mangos from their tree before school felt monumental, but somehow also entirely ordinary. Like they were just kids, being kids. I suppose that is the goal.
I got to know another group of people that week, too: the ones who make daily life what it is at the micro communities — the woman who makes the tortillas each morning over a woodstove, the men who daily tend the coffee plants, the on-site school principal, and many more.
I spent most of my time with Julissa, my teammate in Honduras. When reflecting on the week, Julissa described the experience of meeting with these people as a kind of puzzle fitting together. Here’s what she said:
“We met with a group of workers to learn about their motivations and desires, their day-to-day work and how it impacts children. Seeing the results of their hard work and goals shows that everyone in this organization is a key piece of the puzzle.
Before we can see a finished tortilla, have a cup of coffee, see children graduating and manuals completed, there is the work of many.
When each one helps to complete the puzzle, we want to see those pieces we identify with — the piece we proudly show to those around us.
How good it is to see that each Horizon employee has a common objective yet so many ways to accomplish it. These are the pieces of the Horizon puzzle: pieces each person works on with dedication to their particular craft.”
I share these things with you today, seeking to represent the work of many. We heard their stories, and now, we’re widening this platform to share them — in their voices — right here.
Written by Julissa Arana and Sarah Pryor