Project Honduras

We had the opportunity this past week to return to Copan Ruinas for a gathering of some of the many folks volunteering across the country of Honduras. The conference was called Project Honduras and was sponsored by people that run an English-language news website about current Honduran news. (For those of you interested in Honduran news, check out www.hondurasweekly.com). Approximately 200 people represented 7 countries with active NGOs in Honduras. We attended with some of the Honduran staff: German, Fredy, and Manolo. We thought that the bus trip was fast, but nothing compared to German's driving. In a Toyota minibus, we made the 4-5 hour trip in 3 hours. This was not accomplished without tires literally squauling in the mountain switchbacks sans guardrail: borderline stressful.

The conference featured a variety of speakers and panels/topics. The panels ranged from education, to child abuse, to AIDS, to community development, and many others. For you folks reading in the good ol' US of A, the conference also included appearances from USAID (the US government's humanitarian arm), as well as the new US Ambassador to Honduras; we have no desire for her job. We made several great connections and are looking forward to collaborating with several folks that we met in the Santa Cruz area.

Below are some interesting "Honduras" facts we gathered throughout the week.
  • Honduras has 103 endemic plants. In addition, there are 600 orchid species, 117 different kinds of snakes and is the most mountainous country in Central America.
  • There are 7 active languages groups in the country.
  • 3/4 of Honduran homes lack a father figure, and only 20% of birth certificates name a father.
  • ~40,000/8 million Hondurans are infected with HIV, and the north coast is experiencing a recent explosion of transmissions. 60,000 children are either orphaned from AIDS or are dealing with an immediate family members illness.
  • 51% of Hondurans are under the age of 26.
  • 1/3 of Honduran children have been sexually abused by the age of 12. 
  • There are more gang members in San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa (primary cities) than in the rest of Central America combined.
We're not huge numbers people, but some of these really drove home how bad the situation has become here. However, we thought that the most interesting element of the conference was the word choice of the Hondurans that spoke. Two words stood out.
  1. Crisis - Hondurans recognize that their country has been in a state of decline for some time and is in desperate need of a turn around.
  2. Development - It seemed that nearly every Honduran that spoke mentioned that their country's need was in "desarollo (development)." They mean that there is the need to create a long-lasting, relationship-based, self-sustaining lifestyle of the people in their country. (We'll talk more about this soon.)
Damos gracias a Dios para: La opportunidad llevar su amor a un pais con necesidades actuales. (The opportunity to carry His love to a country with real needs.)

1 comment:

  1. S&K - Appreciate the update from the conference - was praying that it would be a fruitful time. Why wouldn't you want to US Ambassador's job?!?!