Following the visit of our medical team in July, we returned to Honduras in August to work on community development projects.
Upon our arrival in San Marcos, Intibucá, we met a very warm and welcoming community of friends. As we went back and forth through the village, we would pass by a house with four little pals sitting on stone steps. They would call out greetings in Spanish and we would return their greetings in English. To our delight, soon they were shouting out greetings in English! These happy children brought such joy!
As we write below, we are looking forward to returning to San Marcos in December for the installation of the water purification system. We will be participating in a village celebration of gratitude for purified water and health for many more little pals and their families for years to come.
The Water Project
Friends of Honduras has partnered with Living Waters for the World (LWW) to build a water purification and bottling facility in San Marcos. The people of San Marcos are nearing completion on construction of a building that will house the water treatment system. Thus, a primary goal of this trip was to meet with the San Marcos Water Committee to do the critical planning for the administration and operation, and of the water system, as well as for the health education surrounding the proper use and need for purified water. In LWW terms, this is called the “development” trip.
During our three days of meetings with the committee, we made time to visit the construction site to see progress on the water building.
We also conducted tests on the treatment system water source so that the committee members could learn concepts of water quality assessment. The tests also help us to know what type of system can be used (UV or ozone treatment) to purify the water.
Results of the bacterial contamination tests are shown, with contamination indicated (black) for the source of our water. No contamination is indicated (clear-yellow) for a small manual-pumped well nearby.
The health education piece of the project is taught emphasizing two basic themes:
Use of purified water and hand washing.
Fulfilling a promise, we delivered seven additional LEGO Mindstorms Robotics Kits for the fledgling robotics program in the school in Guanacaste. So now with eight kits available, the boys and girls will have a much easier time building their own designs and competing with one another on design challenges. We even provided an infrared emitter ball, so the students can design a robot to play soccer! Many thanks to CBC High School in St. Louis for supplying the kits for Honduras.
The Scholarship Program provides tuition for students in grades 7-12 who would otherwise not be able to attend school past the 6th grade.
While on our trip, we were able to meet with the principal of the school along with each of the eight students whom our program supports. We learned that all of the students walk two hours each day to and from school–except for one student who walks four hours each day. They also work in the fields or sell vegetables after school and on weekends. In spite the hardships, their education is a priority to them.
One of the students, Santos Vasquez is now in the 12th grade. He received an internship to teach beekeeping to local communities.
Another student, Yesenia Bautista is in 8th grade and wants to be a nurse or doctor.
Both have excellent grades and winning personalities. They expressed how grateful they are for the opportunity to continue their education.
St. Vincent de Paul Conferences
The St. Vincent de Paul Society (SVDP) is a lay Catholic organization that aspires to live the gospel message by serving the poor with love, respect, justice, hope and joy and by working to shape a more just and compassionate society.
For the last year, a group in Guanacaste and one in Aguacate have been in formation to become recognized as formal SVDP groups, or “conferences”. While we were there, leaders of the Honduran SVDP visited and installed both groups as official conferences.
We are very proud of them and their devotion to those in their communities in extreme poverty.
Miguel Manueles has been our Honduran coordinator since our work in the community began nine years ago–when he was just nineteen. During this trip, we were able to attend the wedding of Miguel and his bride, Karla, and experience a traditional Honduran wedding.
One of the wedding traditions is the Lasso Rosary placement, which signifies the unity the couple now shares.