St. Charles Prep students, Mike Ginikos (author of today’s blog) and Josh Padgett greeted with open arms by children at International Samaritan nursery.

This blog entry was written by St. Charles Prep student Mike Ginikos (pictured left).

I volunteered with International Samaritan through my school. Though the other volunteers are from my school, I really didn’t know any of them. They were from different groups and had different interests. But this trip has allowed me to get to know the others and form bonds that others will never get to form. I have gotten to see sides of people that I did not think they had. The trip has formed a brotherhood among complete strangers.

While I am Catholic, born and raised, I am not the strongest in my faith. I was unsure on certain topics that the church addressed. But after seeing the dump, working with the kids, and interacting with the locals, my faith has increased exponentially.

I feel more comfortable and confident with my faith. I have become more motivated and inspired to go out and help out more in the community when I go home. I have learned that God does not give us things directly, but gives us things through other people.

In the garbage dump community, I saw more love and care then I have ever seen. The people in the community truly care for each other and want to help others succeed. The members were dedicated to bettering themselves and the community as a whole.

Their dedication also goes for their faith life. The citizens in the dump have a strong faith life. The people have so little, yet they still believe that God has a plan for them. Their faith has had such a strong impact on my faith life and my life in general.

Even though I have seen poverty in America, it does not even compare to the poverty here in Honduras. There is a big difference between the poverty in the U.S. and Honduras. In the U.S., there are at least ample opportunities for the people to get help. But here in Honduras, there is very little opportunity to get help. The Hondurans are harder working because they are willing to do anything to get money to support a family.

This trip has been an amazing experience for me. I have learned so much about myself, others, and my faith life. The biggest change everyone experiences the first time visiting is that nobody knows what true poverty really is. It hits hard and it sets in really quick. The feeling makes a person want to change his or her life whenever he or she gets home.

It may sound like a cliché, but a trip like this really is a life-changing experience. There really are people in the world that accept others with open arms and treat them as family. This is enough to change anyone’s attitude about life.

Blog post from Michael Ginikos, St. Charles Prep student who recently returned from a service trip in Ocotillo, Honduras

Look for more updates and photographs from the St. Charles Prep service trip at our Facebook Group.