One of the things I truly love about living here on the island of Roatan, is the feeling of community. There is a little barrio (neighborhood) next to Upachaya filled with the most wonderful people. I feel closer to the people here in this barrio then I ever had with my neighbors in the United States.
Perhaps it is because it is a smaller community and here most everyone reaches out to help one another when in need. When I lived in the United States I felt less a sense of community. Less a sense of connection. However, that being said I did have some very nice neighbors along the years spent there, but again the connection didn’t seem to feel as deep or genuine as it does here.
I take responsibility for that as well. I was so focused on career, and being a workaholic that I spent little time cultivating relationships, or friendships with neighbors. Here it is different. Although I still have a bit of workaholic tendency, I take time to enjoy life by hosting projects and getting involved in the community.
I feel it is a true blessing living on this island as it is easy giving back to community and having a direct impact on lives. It doesn’t cost much in time or effort to make an impact, and here that impact can be significant. It can change lives. Even for a moment, or a day, those memories will often times live in the mind forever.
Let me share one of those ways that giving back to community is done here at Upachaya.
Let me introduce Dayry Mancia. Dayry (pronounced Di-tee) is eight, and the oldest daughter of my Caretaker, Victor. Victor is a Godsend and I couldn’t operate Upachaya without him, but he is an entirely different story. Dayry is a beautiful little soul and eager to learn anything and everything whenever she can.
When Dayry first moved to Upachaya as a result of her Father coming to work for me in 2009, she was 2. She would spend hours with me sharing activity books, coloring, watching Dora DVDs, and learning English. She is growing into a bright and intelligent young girl with a desire to learn as much as she can. So, I asked if she would be interested in learning how to use my sewing machine.
I figure it’s never too young to start. She is a natural. Her lines are fairly straight, and she is meticulous in her approach to sewing. Here you see her in the third dress that she has made. The smile on her face says it all and speaks to her pride in accomplishment.
I too, am so very proud of this young girl and her desire to continue to grow and improve herself. To learn new skills, and have fun in the process.
I also thank the Universe for giving me this opportunity to be able to give back to my community, and particularly to this beautiful little soul.