Every now and again we like to do a little road trip for “vacation.” Usually we end up doing more driving than relaxing, but it’s always fun to see a new part of Honduras.
At the end of Group #2 from Indiana we hit the road with Nick and Hilary (good friends that are here helping us out for 6 months). We decided to go visit the coffee plantation that we bought coffee from for our upcoming coffee fundraiser. We drove south west to Siguatepeque (see-gua-tay-pay-kay) first, which is 7 hours from our house, and spent the night there. The next day we drove 3 hours into the mountains to the town of Santiago, spent the night, got the full tour of the town and coffee plantation, turned around and went 3 hours back to Siguatepeque. Then it was just 7 more hours home the last day. (See, I wasn’t joking about driving more than relaxing. We even had plans to go somewhere else on the trip, but thankfully decided not to.)
Here is a picture of us in the hills over Santiago, with our host Fidel (left to right) who let us stay in his house, Nick, Jason & myself (Sarah), and Igor, the coffee seller, with his little daughter Marisella. They were fantastic hosts and it was a real pleasure to get to know them and see their town Santiago, which they assured us is the best town in the world.
The area of Santiago, La Paz is totally different than where we live in the tropical north. There the mountains are drier and covered in pine trees (yet there are still lots of bananas and pineapples). The houses are made of white-washed, mud bricks, with traditional tile roofs. It’s very picturesque. Here we are on the coffee plantation. This is one of the specialized coffee growing regions of Honduras, which produces a Starbucks quality brew. The high altitude and the fact that it’s shade-grown are some of the factors that make it such great coffee. Everyone who has sampled the coffee so far comes back for more (too bad I’m not a coffee drinker).
Coffee grows on these very tall bushes, underneath bananas, and other taller trees. When we visited the coffee cherries were still green. They’ll turn bright red before they’re harvested. Each of those cherries contains two coffee beans. Before drinking the coffee has to be shelled, dried, husked, roasted, ground, and finally brewed.
It was a great trip. We also collected plants as went along. We bought 100 coffee starts in Santiago and then our hosts gave us some starts for red bananas. On the way home we stopped at a place called FHIA, which is Honduran agricultural center. We bought 100 banana and plantain starts from them, along with a good 50 more trees, including mango, avocado, starfruit, durian, litchi, grapefruit, and pomelo. Nick and Hilary ended up spending the last few hours practically riding back in a jungle. That’s more fruit for our future on the property, which is always great news!
We really feel that education is the key to great change here. Because of this, we want Give Hope 2 Kids to be a blessing to local elementary schools. So far this year, through the help of our groups, we’ve been able to hand out school supplies to some needy schools and to do a deworming campaign. We have future plans to pass out more school supplies, to teach some English classes, and to help schools get computers for further learning and development.
One particular school is but a tiny room overflowing with desks and around 30 students in 6 grades. The teacher recently thanked us for the school supplies that we had given them. She said that before our gift it had been months since they had chalk to use. What a small gift and look what a difference it made!
Chalk, paper, and pencils are such simple and inexpensive things, yet schools can lack even those things here. We want to help provide the basics, to enable the teachers to do their job well, so children will love to learn. A love of learning will make the difference in these young lives.
Thanks to all who have donated and brought school supplies. Thanks to the 2nd group from Indiana for doing the deworming campaign. We couldn’t have done it without your help!
Well, we’re on week number two with groups here and going strong. So far this week on the first house we’ve got the roof finished and almost completed the wiring. For the second house we’ve laid a lot of block, put fill dirt in, and put together some rafters for the roof. Things are coming together quickly.
The Honduran workers have been busy this week putting a smooth surface on the office walls, inside and out. A few of us have tried our hand at throwing cement too and found it harder than it looks!
I wanted to share some more pictures from the first group from Indiana that came to help. They jumped in and helped on the roofs, the wiring, and lots of digging. We got a lot accomplished with this team and we want to express our thanks to them for all their hard work and great attitudes.
When we were up working on Saturday Ruby and her five younger sisters came along. They chipped in and helped and just had a fun time hanging out with the group. It was really great to see them and spend some time with them.
We have our first group from Indiana this week (with a second to follow next week). Already we’ve made some amazing progress with the expertise and muscles that the group brought. Thanks for all your hard work guys!
It’s been really exciting to see some roof on the first house, because we’re hoping to move into that house as soon as it’s finished. The office now has a roof and the Honduran workers have started putting the smooth surface on the walls in there. We’ve also got electricity in the storage shed and they’re wiring the first house.
The second house is coming along really fast. We’ve already got part of a wall up there and we’ve started filling in the foundation to the level of the floor. To help fill the house in, we rented a bobcat for the week — this makes a huge difference in how fast we move dirt!