Amy Jo Frost
We are each a unique portrait of different experiences and circumstances.
Some experiences are more influential than others and leave deep, lasting imprints on our canvas. I graduated from The Ohio State University with a degree in agriscience education and the very next day boarded a plane bound for Choluteca, Honduras with a group of strangers. After just two weeks in Honduras and the experience of a lifetime, my unique portrait was forever changed.
In the weeks leading up to my graduation, I found myself burnt out on school, work, relationships, and life in general. I had become so bound to the schedule I kept that I forgot to enjoy life and allow myself the freedom to experience new things and relax. I was so focused on being involved, being productive without end, and scheduling my life minute for minute that the joy and passion I once exuded had almost disappeared. As I close one chapter of my life and enter a brand new one, being in Honduras allowed me to gain perspective on where I want to go and what I want and need to do.
One of the days we arrived at the school for a special program and I sat towards the front. As I watched the program, a little girl sitting behind me began playing with my hair and before I knew it, she’d braided it all down my back so it wouldn’t get in my face. She tucked pieces of hair behind my ears and wrapped her arms around me as I watched the program and for a moment everything seemed to stop… I saw the love the little girl was showing me.
She didn’t know me at all and had no obligation to show me any sort of attention, but she did anyway. For a moment, I looked out across the room filled with Honduran children and fought tears. In that moment I realized that all these people truly want is love and my heart is filled with love that I want to give them in any way that I can. Although we didn’t speak the same language, she still spoke to me and she did so through love and care. I’ll never forget the small act of love she showed me and will strive to show others the same love.
As an American and as a college student, it’s so easy to get caught up in work and earning money and basing success on both of these. While these things are important, they shouldn’t be our goal and definition of success.
When I allowed those to become my measure of success I felt burnt out and empty. The little Honduran girl reminded me that even if you have nothing else, you have a heart filled with love to give. You never know how that love may impact someone else, just like the little girl may never realize how she impacted me. But it’s selfless gifts such as this that fill us up and define true success, which is making an impact.
As I reflect on all that the trip meant to me, I see my love of relationships, passion for international agriculture, appreciation for relaxation and reflection in my life, and my desire to continue growing and bettering myself. I am in awe of all that this trip has meant to me. It’s meant developing friendships, discovering more about what I want to do with my life, and learning from the excellent role models that I’m blessed to be here with. I know the impact of this trip will stretch further than I can ever imagine and I hope my work with this isn’t finished. As I approach the next chapter of my life in graduate school, I hope this is only the beginning of my work in international agricultural education in Honduras!
Because of this trip, my future has been forever changed.
Thanks Amy Jo for sharing your experience on the Community Development study abroad trip in Honduras. Photos taken by Shelby Faulkner.