February 26 to March 3, 2016
The first stop from the airport in San Pedro Sula was at a school where we were delivering uniforms (navy skirts or pants and white shirts gathered from Goodwill, etc.) and books. An American man from Tennessee was there installing a water system so that water coming out of any faucet on the school grounds goes through filtration. His goal is to put this system in all 100+ schools in Honduras. This school was the fourth.
After a lovely breakfast at our hotel we boarded a bus for our destination, in the town of Comayagwa a compound called El Ayudante, “the helper.” For most of the trip the route was a divided highway newly paved, SO different from the roads in 2009. We were told that the government is working very hard to improve the infrastructure. The difference is amazing.
El Ayudante has a medical and dental clinic; a lodge/dorm with common room and kitchen; housing for the staff families; a workshop; storage shed and a meeting pavilion for community meetings and movies. It is a Christian organization run by two American families and a few single Americans. The two little girls, three little boys and two chocolate labs made the atmosphere very homey and lively.
The water filters we are installing are better than the ones in 2009. These are much more effective and easier to maintain, I think. Regardless, the majority of the people seem to be understanding that they cannot use their streams for ALL of their needs. Several children have told us that their stomachs don’t hurt now that they have safe water to drink. It’s working. I have a renewed sense of hope for the world. (Well, at least this part of the world.)
Another day we helped preparing the pits for the latrines. The families receiving the latrines were responsible to have a certain sized (deep) hole dug. We brought the re-bars, concrete, corrugated metal, etc. and led the work. Lots of young boys pitched in and were a tremendous help.
The terrain was very hilly but because of improved roads, the bus rides were not as hair-raising as the trip in ’09. The terracing you see in the picture above is for coffee. There were coffee farms everywhere. We saw beans drying in the sun sometimes on the ground and sometimes on huge tables. Fascinating …. and very delicious!
To reflect, because of coffee, this area of Honduras may be more prosperous than the tiny village we worked in in the Northern part in ‘09. The crop there was sugar cane and work was very difficult and low-paying. I don’t recall seeing the reddish tinge to children’s hair, a sign of malnutrition because of incomplete protein.
All in all, the trip was very educational and satisfying. We did make a difference to the lives of the people there and they had a positive impact on our lives. I’m glad I did it.