By Mike Tenbusch | September 23, 2022
What a joy it was to be a part of Ronia Romero’s barnstorming tour across the United States this past week! Ronia leads our mission in Tegucigalpa and has personally led the charge for bringing water to her community there. Over the last week, she has traveled with us to Ann Arbor, Chicago, Columbus, Detroit and Denver to meet with school partners and others raising money for water through the IntSamGlobal5K. It literally took four of us (Andrew, Sarah, Tucker and me) to keep up with her across all five cities!
Of all our conversations together, the one that jumped out at me was when a trip team leader from Grace Community Church asked Ronia what her hopes were for our first-ever immersion trip to her community next month.
It was a beautiful question, because we as a team all have our own hopes for what we will experience on the trip, and it kind of caught Ronia off-guard for a moment, as she had been focusing on our hopes and not thinking of her own. Then she unloaded.
“I need my girls to see how they can avoid getting themselves into relationships with men at too young of an age,” she said. “And I need my boys to see that this whole machismo culture isn’t just hurting girls. It’s hurting them too!”
The pain and passion in her voice were clear. Honduras has been called the most dangerous place on earth to be a woman. She’s seen too many promising scholars fall behind or fall down altogether in response to pressure from men, usually men much older than them. Men promising a way out of their current challenges faster than an education takes. As much as our scholars love Ronia, she was pleading for our help to break through the cultural gravity pulling some of them down.
“Who are we to talk on such a sensitive topic?” was our first response. But then, “Who are we not to?” Each of the seven of us called to go on this trip brings a lifetime of trials and triumphs, wisdom hard earned from bad times and good. Why would we hold this or hide it when a friend is asking for help?
As I reflected on this question this week, it caused me to think that I have come up short this year by failing to bring our book club together since last fall. Last year, the book club was such a powerful place to discuss difficult topics like the one Ronia wishes to discuss with our scholars. There’s so much to be gained in hearing and sharing our stories among friends.
Please consider joining Ronia and me virtually in November to discuss American Dirt, a powerful story about the journey of migrating to the United States. The pressure to immigrate is something felt so heavily by our scholars in three Central American nations. We’ll ask some of them to join us and share their perspectives too.
You can email me or click the link below to sign up. Also, please scroll down to see some highlights from Ronia’s journey across our America.
Ronia with Ms. Curran’s 7th grade homeroom at U of D Jesuit
Ronia prepares to give a pep talk to Regis Jesuit’s team captains running in the IntSam Global 5K
Ronia meets the team from Grace Community Church to plan their upcoming trip to Tegucigalpa
Enjoying dinner with our friends from Arrupe Jesuit in Denver
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