The summer after my sophomore year of college, I participated in an internship abroad program and wrote for an English-language newspaper in Honduras (I learned to speak Spanish quickly!). About halfway through the program, I sprained my right thumb playing volleyball and was unable to write or type. My sprained thumb quickly became my best excuse to travel and explore Honduras.
I was headed from Tegucigalpa to La Ceiba and stopped in San Pedro Sula to change buses. Yes, San Pedro Sula is a dangerous city, and I was alone yet unafraid. Across the street from the bus station there was a little restaurant buffet, and I crossed the road to grab some dinner. It was evening, the moon was out, and the restaurant and bus station were busy with customers.
As I approached the restaurant, I paused to observe a tall, thin, dark skinned man (beautifully dark like the night sky) rummage through trash looking for food. I was a young, light skinned woman who stood out amongst the Honduran people. And yet, without hesitation or thought, my heart extended to this man and our differences vanished. There we were, two hungry people, one with the means to feed us both.
I invited my unexpected friend to join me in the buffet line. What transpired was so beautiful it brings tears to my eyes every time I recollect our shared moments. Like a child, he looked to me for guidance. I motioned to him to get whatever he would like, to fill his plate. As we moved through the buffet line, his confidence in our exchange grew and we both filled our plates. We approached the cashier, and I paid for our dinners. We sat at separate tables in the crowded dining room.
As I began to eat, I looked over at my friend. He had not yet started to eat. He was looking up to the sky. Praying. Tears streaming down his face.
My small, selfless action did more than fill a belly or two. It restored faith. In us both.