For most of us, the past year has often felt like a season of “set-backs.” Plans have been cancelled, jobs lost, weddings or graduations disrupted, and more. My own move to The Leadership Center was delayed by 6 months due to COVID impacts, bringing a season of restlessness, unemployment, and disappointment.
A few weeks after arriving at TLC, I started to get to know the students and hear their stories. It immediately became apparent that many of them had experienced “set-backs” as a regular part of their lives. Some girls have suffered great loss, others have worked from a young age to support themselves and their family, and many have endured challenging circumstances. But one thing the students have in common is a deep resilience and a profound hope.
In Community Development class last quarter, we spent one day listing words that are commonly associated with the materially poor compared to words that are commonly associated with the materially rich. This discussion started out with negative words pitted against positive ones but led to more powerful conversations about the skills, gifts, and abilities of the materially poor. So many of the young women at TLC are working hard to do things that are contrary to the expectations of their society and culture, and they are doing so with a strong assurance of their own ability to enact change in Honduras.
During this quarter, I’m looking forward to collaborating with the students on a short-term community development project. Things will look differently this year since COVID is limiting our ability to travel to nearby communities. However, the students already have many ideas of projects they could complete on TLC’s campus — from building new pilas (washing sinks) to expanding the capacity of our garden to grow more herbs and spices that could be sold, and more. I have no doubt that the young women of TLC will persevere with a very creative and valuable project – even in the midst of this “set-back.”