When someone asks me about Tecoloste, my response is always simply Amazing. I cannot even begin to express what it meant to me. The impression that the Tecoloste people left on me was insurmountable. I went with the expectation of helping this little community, teach them some English and help with rebuilding a school. I can remember thinking that I knew I was going to love the children, my passion has always been teaching. Yet, unbeknownst to me I fell in love with this tiny town and want to give whatever I can to help this community.
I can remember the 1st day going to the school and seeing what little they had. You cannot even begin to grasp, walking into the classroom and seeing many broken down desks, a few pieces of chalk and a teacher’s desk that was barely standing, more like a leaning old table ready to collapse if someone bumped it. How could they possibly teach in these conditions better yet how could the students learn here!
Every day we went to the school, and as we pulled up you could feel the hope of a new direction that we brought to Tecoloste. The children were so excited to have many of us play with them and then teach them. Of course, they loved all of the new and exciting things that we brought every day. One day we brought bubbles and I can remember Suzie making huge bubbles with a blowing maker. The kids’ faces were in awe! It was like Christmas morning, yet over Bubbles instead of gifts. I started thinking “wow”, we are so spoiled in America. We don’t get that wow factor from our kids unless it is a new iphone, ipad.or whatever the newest and greatest electronic on the market is. Here these kids have the biggest smiles and are filled with joy just to be popping bubbles. It was such an eye opening moment for me, to see all this happiness with having nothing.
Yet, what I noticed the most were the women of Tecoloste. They were the hardest working women I had ever seen. They were digging ditches, moving dirt and cement blocks; all the while still looking to us if something needed to be painted or cleaned. They were everywhere; if we started painting a room 10 ladies showed up right besides us. When we started painting the fence, women and children began helping us. They were so excited to finally have someone care about their tiny community. As we continued to work, relationships were growing even with language barriers. It was as if we were more than just friends striving for the same goal. The love that grew over the next few days was unending. I have never felt so much love in such little time. You could feel God’s presence working through all of it day in and day out. To be so connected with people in such a short time, that you are in tears when you leave.
Tecoloste touched my heart forever and I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to go. I think of them often and strive to live with less. To live with such grace and love without having much and still be grateful and jubilant. Tecoloste changed me forever!