The twins Ana Cecilia and Ana Ruth were in shock when they read their names on the list of students who were chosen to participate in the Student Exchange that Holy Family Bilingual School has with St. Mark's Episcopal School in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, as part of a cultural exchange. Students are chosen because they have good grades and good behavior coupled with maturity and an excellent attitude. That was the good news!
The most difficult part of the trip was about to begin.
Tia Brenda immediately scheduled an interview with the Juvenile Court to get permission to allow our two minors to leave the country for a cultural exchange program to the United States. This is a very complicated and difficult process because the girls were orphaned and under the legal protection of Our Little Roses. Juvenile Judges are reluctant to allow permission to extend authorization for passports to minors who have been in situations of risk because of the high instances of child trafficking and abuse that has been prevalent over the past several years in Central America.
Finally, after much checking and investigation one of the judges took the responsibility and initiative of signing the authorization and immediately the passports were able to be obtained. The first hurdle was overcome but the second one was crucial for the trip to become a reality. Tia Brenda and the girls traveled to Tegucigalpa to the American Embassy for the interview with the consul who would either grant an entrance visa or deny it. All the papers that OLRM's obtained were placed in an envelope to be given to the consul before the interview. On the day of the interview, the adrenaline level shot to its maximum level when their names were called and the interview started. After checking the papers and asking some questions, the consul said: "Your visa is approved"!! The girls were so excited about getting the visa!! It was a joyful and happy trip back to San Pedro Sula full of anticipation for the upcoming trip.
Ana Cecilia and Ana Ruth were able to represent Holy Family School at the Student Exchange and during the week they attended St. Mark's Episcopal School as any other student. Ana Cecilia says: "I loved the Spanish Class. In the classroom I was asked to come-up in front of the classroom to read in Spanish. It was so easy for me, but not easy for them." "I used to think that Spanish was an easy language, but I realized that it was not because I heard how the students were struggling with pronunciation". Ana Cecilia also said "I loved the trip to Epcot. It was a learning experience and I got to know cultures of many other countries." "I saw two monks! I only had seen monks in the movies, but they were real".
Ana Ruth said: "I felt the butterflies in my stomach when the plane was taking off and then when it was landing" "This was an experience that I was waiting for and I just can only say to the other girls from OLR that they have to study hard and behave, so they can have this opportunity." said Ana Ruth.
Our Little Roses congratulates Ana Cecilia and Ana Ruth and challenges them to keep up the good work.