2018 Team

2018 Team
2018 Team in the original church built for Suyapa

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

March Preparations are Under Way

Francis and I have recently returned from Honduras where we started the "in-country" planning steps necessary for our spring mission trips. I stayed only a week, but Francis stayed an extra week to do a few more projects for MHL.

Santos stands in his kitchen doorway
Two major duties that we planned were to choose most of the families who would receive homes from our mission groups and to check on the families who received homes this past March. I am happy to report that the families of Elena, Juri, and Santos are doing well in their homes. We did purchase a table, chairs, and a small plastic clothes dresser for Juri because their only furniture was the bunk bed we gave them. Santos is busy building kitchens for all three families. Those are almost finished.

We were unable to select all of the families while we were there, but Marta will continue to send options so we can finalize the process. We did visit the following families, which ACOES (Fr. Patricio’s organization) and Marta Sosa will research further to be sure everything is done properly to finalize the selection. I've included a photo of each above the information.

Jefferson’s family includes 8 members with 2 more on the way. The house was two rooms, one of which had a wall that was a mattress on end. The other room had no roof – hopefully, they have a tin roof now to shelter them – and only one wall made of pieces of tin.

Eric’s family has 4 members. Eric is a bright young man who earned a scholarship to Taular, the top ranked school in Taular. He goes to school with other scholarship students from 2:30 – 7 p.m. He then takes a 40-minute bus ride to Nueva Capital and walks the rest of the way home in the dark. His home is one room with walls of wood. At this time they are storing building supplies – like sand – inside the home in the hopes of being able to use it for a new concrete floor.

Sandra is the mother of 5 children. She rents her home from her older sister. The floor is wood with a thin layer of concrete on top. The walls were mostly thin slats with plastic sheets around them. She and her sister earn money by making and selling tortillas.

Sandra’s sister lives in the one-room home adjoining them. Her house is similarly built. She never married and has no children of her home, but helps her sister in any way she can.

Those of us who have been to Santa Teresa’s recognize Luis, the day-time gatekeeper of the school. He has a wife and 3 children. They rent a room and have been asking ACOES for a home for 3 years. We hope to surprise Luis with a new home in the spring.

Keyssy and her sister live with their mother in a room rented from a friend. There is no father in the picture, and their mother is suffering from terminal cancer. We hope to cheer this family with a home right next to Luis’s family, whom we know will help watch over the girls while their mother is sick.

Alva is a single mother with 3 children. She owns a plot of land with a thin concrete pad, which we will need to replace. She makes and sells tortillas to support her family.

Rosa Cruz lives with her husband and 3 children. Her husband supports the family by packing groceries at a supermarket in Tegucigalpa. They have a one-room wooden house with no pila. 

We saw many typical sights as we drove through or walked the "roads" of Nueva Capital. The ladies pictured here are trying to earn a little money by cutting firewood and then selling it. That often means a long walk from where they cut it to where others might purchase it.

Although extremely poor, children are always happy to see us. The two boys here are obviously very good friends. They were enjoying each other's company.

We often had to walk muddy paths to see the
homes of the families because our 4-wheel Toyota
could not travel these rutted and rock filled roads.
Driving on muddy roads in Nueva Capital

Typical roads in Nueva Capital when it's not raining

At military headquarters we met with Col. Chicas (second from right). He was very gracious and agreed to help our groups with a large transport truck and soldiers. That will make our work much easier because we will not have to carry the wood and supplies to the home sites. Julio Rivero is in the purple shirt and white cap; I am in the blue shirt, and Francis is wearing an orange shirt. The lady in white and the soldier to the left are members of Colonel Chica's staff.
My last Saturday in Honduras we made the 4.5 hour drive to Montaña de la Flor to dedicate a water project. Our good friend Julio is the son of Chief Tomas, who recently passed away. His absence was noted when we made the trip to La Ceiba for our dedication ceremony. Francis has visited with the Tolupan quite often, and they all know him by name. Many of them make a point of greeting him. I do not get to visit this area as frequently, but I am amazed at how these people survive here. The mountain is beautiful! All of the people who came to the ceremony either walked or rode their horses because there are no roads to most of their homes. Some of them still dress traditionally. On my last two visits I gifted Chief Alvaro with a couple machetes. These seems to be the one tool that every Tolupan man owns. After a 2-hour visit, we made the 4.5 hour drive back to Tegucigalpa. We made one pit stop to see Gloria and her daughter Franci. Franci, with Mission Honduras LeMars support, has had multiple surgeries on her leg to lengthen the bone. Since her last surgery she has struggled with an infection. Francis wanted to check on her leg and recommend the next steps they should take.

Francis speaks at the dedication

Posing with some Guaruma residents,
who now have clean water
Young Tolupan mother with her child

One man stops cutting wood to wave when we go by
Chief Alvara is happy
to receive his machete

Driving through one of
multiple rivers on the way to
La Ceiba in the Montaña de la Flor region

Introducing a new baby
to the congregation prior
to baptism
Each time I visit Honduras I discover new things about their culture. During this trip I attended Sunday mass at the Basilica de Suyapa with Marta and her children. It's a large, beautiful church that draws tourists as well as locals. At the end of the service but before the priest left, quite a few people got out of their pews and started surrounding the altar. I was confused as the priest began to take a baby or small child from each of his/her parents, raised the child toward heaven and stated his/'her full name. I was told he was introducing them to the congregation before their baptisms at a later date. I enjoyed that tradition.

I feel good about what we accomplished while we were in Honduras. I am excited for those of you who will be missioners in the spring to experience the joy of helping others. 

Check back periodically to follow our preparations for March.