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2019 Trip Blog, Day 1 Reunited

Day one of any trip is about travelling. Over the past several months our team has fundraised and prepared for the trip. This year we are all alumni of past years, looking forward to our return, and reconnecting with the community here. Day one is about laying the groundwork for the upcoming week and experiencing the transition from our lives at home to our lives as visitors.

Lucky wasn’t happy about being separated by a door, let alone four thousand miles.

Drok and I travelled from Nashua NH to Logan Airport in Boston Massachusetts, it was a 46 mile trip by car, we woke up at 3 am and took an Uber, to arrive at 4:15 am.Jyl and Sam travelled from the Manchester area.

We flew from Boston to Atlanta, our first layover, 1,086 miles, the flight was just under three hours. Delta was kind enough to check us in as a group and not look too closely at the six bags we checked, weighed in advance at just under 50 lbs each. Two of them contained educational activities and supplies collected and donated by the Nashua Police Athletic League. Four of them contained paint for our murals, donated by Nashua Wallpaper, and packed in 1 gallon plastic jugs donated by Riverside Barbecue, duct taped shut, and wrapped in garbage bags. Once we checked them, they were out of our hands for the duration of our flight, bit our hands were full anyways. Trip members packed their own clothes and supplies for a week in carry on bags. Samantha discovered her first aid kit had too much liquid disinfectant, Tom had carefully organized cell phones, cameras, chargers a laptop and a projector only to unpack it all and repack it all for inspection. Drok has some kind of automatic knack for search and pat down, anywhere he goes, despite being the most harmless person in the world, and Jyl passed through without incident.

In addition to our carry on, Jyl bought a Viola and a guitar to donate. While Delta allows for a musical instrument separate from bags, it has to be stowed, so it is always a challenge to get on the plane before all the overhead space is taken, otherwise the guitar ends up in storage below.

Sitting beside Tom and Drok and behind Sam and Jyl, was a coffee salesman from Honduras, travelling back from a conference. Sam made good use of the networking time

From Atlanta, we flew to Tegucigalpa, the capitol of Honduras another 2751 miles, it took us three hours and forty seven minutes, but we also set our clocks back two hours. At last we had arrived in Honduras!

Tegucigalpa was hot, in the upper 80’s. It was pretty humid, and dusty. We collected our check bags and were greeted by our host, Mario Ramos, director of Project Eden, as well as Moises, an artist from Tegucigalpa who would be joining us, and Arte Positivo for the week. Since our last trip, Mario has gotten married, has a four month old, and helped his wife started a coffee shop. This year’s trip might be about change!

From Tegucigalpa we travelled by pickup truck to San Francisco La Paz, a final 128 miles in about four hours with three stops.

Mennonite rest stop halfway to San Francisco, on the side of a major road it has grown over the years, this past year completely transformed into this space. We ran into a few Los Micro Chip members along the way. Drok’s movement spreads into the surrounding communities. We were aware one member was planning to visit, another was spotted in the distinctive Los MicroChip dance T shirt. As we approached Juticalpa we met Luis, leader of Arte Positivo, and Marvin, another Arte Positivo artist.

We travelled a total of 3,911 miles. and travelled for a total of 17 hours, arriving around 6pm.

There’s Drok waving like he’s done.

Now that we had arrived at Hogar Los Ninos, we had to unpack. The volunteer housing was left in good shape by the previous team, probably Mary Fitzpatrick’s group from Littleton NH. We picked our rooms, then examined our bags. The paint we checked in, back in Boston survived mostly intact. One jar leaked into it’s plastic bag but didn’t affect the rest of the suitcase contents, probably the best results we have seen in years, and a good sign. The guitar IMMEDIATELY snapped a string, but Jul had prepared, and packed extra strings.

Los MicroChip began to arrive, as tired as he was, Drok was talked into coaching a few, and then Lucio, their leader arrived followed by Luis.

We met as a group, helping Sam and Drok plan our second urban Art Festival for Saturday, working out activities, prizes, participation and promotion. Dance teams will be coming from surrounding areas to compete, Arte positivo artists will be coming to show their work, we run our plans by the Mayor tomorrow.

Through out all of this travel and planning, we settled back into the rhythm of this community even as we left ours behind. On a team fully comprised of experiences travellers, we spent time reconnecting with leaders and volunteers we have come to know through past service. The activities we do wouldn’t be so unfamiliar to anyone from Nashua NH, where the energy of Positive Street Art is there for all to see, and the Downtown Arts Fest is a similiar gathering of artists, but there’s a different flavor to it here. In Honduras, they have their own tempo, their own strengths, their own barriers. This week we will work together in this community in service, bringing the best from our own, as leaders.

Join 2020!

Are you interested in joining our 2020 team? Our tentative dates are

February 29 to March 6 with some variance based on plane ticket availability. Trip members interview with the team oversight committee, and make a two year commitment. Your first year goal is to learn and experience the communities we work in, your second year you will develop a project that the team will help you achieve, based on the needs you see, and your own strengths as a leader.

We encourage all applicants to volunteer locally with our organization to get to know what we are all about. Our first information evening will be April 27 from 3-5 pm at Riverside Barbecue. For more information email us at involvedtoimpact@gmail.com

Dimensions of self

How tall are you, what size is your foot, what size is your belt? We know the answers don’t define us, what about how old you are? The world around us is most immediately perceived in three dimensions, yet we often mark the accumulation of time, by it’s passage, because we march towards an invisible finish line. To lead is to turn forward towards that line, with the conviction that it is forward, and not backwards, where we must look. As physicists seek to measure the physical world, it has become undeniable that to understand the universe we see, we must recognize the interaction of the much larger universe, that we do not.

Our lives are shared. Our experiences are only one side of a whole shared by others. We echo in the memories of others, as they do in ours, and in that connection, lies our true definition.

For, even in the 3 dimensional world we live in, the whole of a thing cannot be perceived from one vantage alone. We see only what is before us and to fully understand even an apple, we can turn it around, to explore it’s shape, lift it to feel it’s weight, yet until we take a bite, it is still largely a mystery.

“Ever since they told him about Adam and Eve, I can’t get him to eat an apple.”

The future can only be examined as an unfolding and ever changing shape, only itts shadow is visible today. The past, which defines us so much more certainly, likewise, exists only in the shadow of subjective memory. Can a lesson be held in such a state? Can a truth be discerned?

Leadership is about examining these possibilities, and taking a bite, but it is more. Even as the tesseract can only conceived in our imagination, there too, lies the future. Be courageous, be discerning, be humble, and find others who help you to be these things. Leadership needs many perspectives, to define itself. A leader cannot see all sides alone, seek others with vision, inspire their imagination, define yourself and others by possibility, not limitations.

Who are you?

Do you journey alone? Maybe you aren’t who you think you are, on the journey of self discovery.

The “hero with a thousand faces” is the notion by Joseph Campbell, that there is a commonality in the stories of human existence. A journey with a shared structure retold throughout history, around the world, which a resonant theme of human conception.

You generally can’t have such a ” hero’s journey” without archetypes, the hero the mentor and the helper. These elements prompt action and support a a narrative exploring the journey from what is known to what is unknown, the attainment of understanding, and the achievements that change the world.

There are the guardians of the threshold who resist change, and the temptation to abandon a goal as progress as made. What will keep you grounded in your story, is the recognition of what part you play, and who you carry with you. Are you the hero, are you the helper, or are you the mentor.

What truth do you seek?

What if? What must be done? How?

To lead with determination, discernment, and inspiration, is often a cyclical process that paralells the classic journey.

A leader knows, often, direction, destination or pathway, but seldom all three, for there are many ways to lead.

But are you the center of the story around which action revolves, or are you the helper, who leads through humility dedicated to empowering others to carry forward a dream. Endowed with gifts, or knowledge or ability that is most useful wielded by others.

Or does the dream have a purpose, a method, a code. What are the laws and the precedents that must inform an experience. What must be given to another. These questions a mentor must anticipate to answer. The mentor must work to achieve understanding for another, to achieve the dreams of another, giving of self, selflessly.

And finally the story must unfold. The hero must accept what is given, protect those who serve and carry the message of those who teach. The hero must seek inspiration without rest, and carry burdens assume risks and carry on to the end.

So leader in all forms, must serve to succeed. The hero is the learner and the grateful. The helper is the follower and the faithful. The mentor is the watcher and the trusting.

Your life is a story to be told, your struggles a memory to be shared, your challenges a blue print for future inspiration, but your life is not alone. We share a world full of journies, with other adventurers and we walk the same roads to different destinations. Your journey weaves into a greater story.

So seek adventure, and give riches, help others to gain knowledge, and have faith, as your story unfolds.

Tom Lopez

President, 2019 trip leader.