Excerpt from the book I’m working on: Momentous Health, shaping a better world through a better self. Due out October 2016. This passage gives a glimpse into my trip to La Paz, Honduras over Thanksgiving 2013, where I visited the Children of Love Foundation.
A line meandered down the dirt road outside the chapel. Little hands grasped the wrought-iron gate as children’s dirty faces peered through, patiently waiting to get in. The chapel was simple––one large rectangular room, red brick walls, arched windows on each side that allowed light and fresh air to enter. Center front, beneath the peak of the tin roof, more light filtered through a lead-glass cross inserted into the wall. Its t-shaped reflection rested below on the shiny linoleum floor.
As I peeled the little boy’s soiled socks from his feet, I held my breath, focusing on not throwing up. The smell was overbearing, like getting a whiff of an overused Porta Potty on a sweltering day. This might have been the first time this child had had his feet washed in weeks.
I dipped a plastic container in a bucket, retrieved some cool clear water, and slowly poured it over the boy’s feet. The water dripped down his ankles, between toes and ragged nails, and into a second bucket below, the water now as murky as the reasons to why I was in this third-world country. How will shoes help where poverty affects 60 percent of the population?  I wondered, as I dipped the container into the fresh water again and again. The boy remained still, his little face unsure of how to respond to this cleansing. After finally washing away the grime, I dried the boy’s feet with a towel, then slipped new socks and proper-fitting shoes upon his now clean feet. He smiled. I smiled. We parted with a hug––language we both understood.