As we flew across the ocean on a single engine plane with a pilot who barely spoke english I looked over the luggage which threatened to bury me alive. I saw nothing but the bluest ocean, the coral reefs and the small breaks in the water where fish were jumping. I felt the most peaceful calm, a calm which I have only experienced one other time in my life. I felt as if I were coming home. I watched the flow of the ocean underneath me and knew this is exactly where I belonged. The turquoise and sapphire depths held infinite possibilities for us. I was overcome with a feeling that the world had opened its arms and welcomed us in. I have said all of my life that I wanted to make a difference in this world. There have been moments when I didn’t feel feel big enough or good enough but I know now that each step I have taken I have made a change. This one will be the one I dreamed of.
When left for our journey to Utila on Friday we had 4 suitcases full of books and supplies for the school, plus 4 carry-ons. The gentleman at the United check in desk did not share our enthusiasm as we began to load each of our suitcases on the scale and some weighed up to 80 lbs. We learned very quickly that the max weight is 70 lbs unless you want to pay 400.00 extra per bag! I wondered how he could seriously say that with a straight face, but he did and we scrambled. Luckily we got them under 70 lbs by carrying more weight in our carry-ons. (We also learned that if you upgrade your seats you get more free bags so in the end it was cheaper to upgrade to first class than pay for the luggage. We love first class so we were more than happy to take that option.)
The flights were easy and we arrived in Roatan with no problems at all. I misunderstood the ferry schedule so the day before we had to scramble, with the help of the wonderful owners of Utopia Village, to find alternate transportation to Utila. They found a charter flight for us on a single engine plane with four seats. Reluctantly I walked to the plane, I do not like to fly and I really don’t like to fly with one pilot and one engine, too easy for one thing to go wrong and then you are in trouble. I have been on an airplane when one engine failed so I had this rule that I wouldn’t get on a plane with less than that, ever. As usual in life when I say I won’t I end up doing it. I swear it is just for life to remind me I have almost no control over anything.
When we landed in Utila we were early so we waited a few minutes for Paul (owner of Utopia Village) to meet us. Soon a tuck-tuck arrived with children, and then another, and another. Then Paul arrived and told us the school children, principal and teachers had come from Pigeon Cay to welcome us. The children began to line up (this took awhile as any organizing of children does). As I walked out of the airport they started to sing this wonderful song about their country and their heritage. It was followed by introductions, and speeches which had been rehearsed for weeks. For the past few days I have been searching for words to describe how I felt and I am at a loss. Perhaps “Pure Joy” is the only thing I can say. If you have never felt this before go seek out the thing which will provide that to you.
Doing something for others, something pretty big for them, even if it feels small to you, is the best feeling in the world. While I think I feel more blessed than they do, I know now that each of us sees this as an amazing opportunity. I know that in some small way I am doing something that can affect a change in this world. There has never been a paycheck, a purse, a pair of shoes, a trip, an expensive dinner or a luxury I have owned that has brought me the same level of joy that listening to these children and shaking each of their hands has ever given me.