Conscience Raising in Honduras
Angie Bradley and Janet Springer
On January 24, 2000 the two of
us boarded a flight to San Pedro Sula, Honduras. We
joined a group from the UCC Catoctin Association
organized by the Rev. Gerry Hanberry of Glade Church in
Walkersville. The association is in partnership with the
Inglesia Bethel Church in El Progresso, Honduras, with
the goal of rebuilding houses in Finca Ocho, a small
farming community located in the middle of a banana
plantation. The community had been destroyed by
We believed that building
a house would be our main objective and accomplishment.
After ten days of living and working to accomplish
something bigger than the self, the house building
became a metaphor for the relationships we built with
our peers, the people of Finca Ocho, and the members of
Inglesia Bethel church. If I were to pick one word to
describe the trip, it would be enlightenment.
When we arrived at the
airport in San Pedro Sula, we were greeted by unfamiliar
people who had such joy in their eyes when they saw our
group. At that moment we knew we were in for much more
than building a house. Touring Finca Ocho, we noticed
that the people there possessed a sense of pride and
community despite the devastation left by Hurricane
Mitch. We visited the homes, school, and churches that
were flooded. We could still see the 12-15-foot flood
lines on many of the buildings. We were told that people
stood on the roofs of these buildings awaiting rescue.
While building the house
we worked side by side with the future home owner and
others in the village who had had homes built for them.
The kids also were proud to be involved in helping their
neighbor. For eight days we swept the ground with a
broom made of tree leaves, hand sifted sand for cement,
mixed tons of cement by hand, filled between the cinder
blocks as we placed each row of block, dug a hole 5' by
10' to fill the foundation and carried all the dirt via
wheelbarrows until we finally put the roof on, installed
the wood windows and doors, and laid the cement floor.
We had been assured that
our presence would bring to these people hope and a
feeling of worth knowing that people from so far away
care about them, renewing their faith in humanity. We
were told that when we touched the people in the village
we would be sending love, and when we sent love we would
in turn receive love from these people. How true it was.
The man for whom we built the house would come each day
to shake our hands and thank us for being there. The
children would walk by and reach out their hands and
touch us while calling our names. And when we touched
their arms or shoulders in return, their smiles would
radiate through us and leave an everlasting impression
of their happiness, well being, and feeling of hope.
So we completed our
building project and delivered the medical and school
supplies that we brought to the children of Finca Ocho.
Many thanks to those of you who contributed to our
collection. We regret that you were not able to see the
smiles or feel the gratitude of the children upon
receipt of your gifts. You made a difference in their
However, there is still
much work to be done in Finca Ocho. Many houses need to
be built (about twelve hundred dollars per house),
children need school and medical supplies and
scholarships for continuing education: books and maps in
Spanish, band-aids and neosporin, and money ($400 per
child per school year). Send supplies or donations to
help the people of Finca Ocho to Glade United Church of
Christ, Honduran Partnership, P.O. Box 236,
Walkersville, MD 21793. For information, call
301-845-6773. Thank you for sharing our experience.