Just One Candle

Just One CandleThanksgiving Day 2009 didn’t find me where it usually does, sitting around a table with family or friends, enjoying turkey, dressing and football. No. This year, it was different.

This year, I was privileged to travel back to Honduras to witness something I had been waiting for for a long time. The first high school graduates from the Path of Hope program. I was going to see something that hadn’t been seen in this rural, poverty-stricken community… ever!

But Thanksgiving morning found me hiking over 4 miles into countryside, up steep hills, over rocky ground, to visit the house of one of our graduates. It struck me as I was hiking, that this is the walk she has been making every day, both ways, just to catch a bus to drive her into the city.

Her family of 5 (Mother, Grandmother, brother and sister) live in a single room home made of mud bricks. Their kitchen (a mud stove) is outside and they have no fresh water or electricity. Where and how do you study when you don’t have electricity I asked? “Here, on the floor,” her mother said “by just one candle.”

I was humbled. Here stood a mother with a 3rd grade education and a grandmother with a 1st grade education, merely proud of their daughter for getting her education. Yet, at no time did they say how difficult it was. Never did they say how sad it was that their daughter studied by candle light on the floor. Their daughter was educated, and that was most important of all.

That trip will always be on my mind. Humbled and proud. Humbled that a young girl can live without the things I take for granted, and succeed. Proud to know that she succeeded with so little help.