Honduras Visit 2013 – The great news first!

Adobe Stove Pila Adobe Casa AdobeStoveCooking Casa and Clothesline Casa Plastic Sheet Roof Chicken Coop Lord's Prayer Espanol Hillside Village Village Road Village Cemetery Wood CasaJust one blog post cannot do justice in summing up everything that happens over a week’s time in a foreign country.   There is so much to tell about this year’s visit, but there is some really great news you need to read about first.

Over a year-and-a-half ago, young Marlon Sanchez fell from a tree and pulled his leg from his hip.  Surgeries at the local hospital were unsuccessful.  Last year, Jim Johnston and others from the Lawrenceburg Rotary Club met young Marlon and his family and decided to do whatever they could to help.  When returning home, Jim Johnston made contact with Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital and their surgical staff about helping this child.  Just recently, Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital and their surgical staff volunteered to perform the much needed surgery on Marlon.

Marlon is now six years old.  Yesterday, he and his mother Maria, boarded a plane in Tegucigalpa, Honduras headed to Nashville, accompanied by Jim Johnston and other members of the Lawrenceburg Rotary Club!  The surgery will take one day, followed by a week in the hospital, and then six weeks of rehab before they are able to return to their native Honduras.  There will be many expenses incurred during this procedure and visit, so if you would like to help, please contact the Lawrenceburg Rotary Club at 931.762.7917 or 931.762.4678.

Can you remember the first time you ever saw an airplane?  What about flush toilets and hot/cold running water?  Electric stoves?  Elevators?  The list goes on.  Marlon and his mother, Maria, will be seeing many things for the first time in their lives.  They will have no choice but to be overwhelmed, if not somewhat frightened with the experience that awaits them.  Please keep them in your prayers, and while you’re at it, say a prayer of thanks for Jim Johnston and Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital for making this life-changing surgery a reality for Marlon and his family.

Take a look at the above scenes from southern Honduras.  These scenes are not of the actual village where Marlon lives, but scenes we encountered during the 2013 electrical project performed by the Rotary Club of Spring Hill & Thompson Station.

2012: Back to Honduras – Part 4 – The Long Ending!

One thing that we look forward to each year is interacting with the families we come in contact with each day.  Each morning we visit the local store to purchase our needs for the day, and we always purchase containers of rice, beans, sardines, and snacks for families that need a little break.  This year, our great friend Sid Neuhoff gave our “food fund” a great send-off and because of Sid, many added families were helped.  We look for Sid to visit Honduras with us one year!

This year, we did not come in contact with as many different families as we have in past years.  Our work this year was concentrated on one family in particular.  If you want to find a family in need, you don’t have to look very far.  David Hartley has a special “knack” for finding those that need it the most.

One evening, on the way back from the jobsite, David yells, “STOP RIGHT HERE!”  

After their home was demolished from flooding, the family assembled a structure to keep them out of the elements. One day, they will hopefully have something more substantial.

Inside, David found three children, with the oldest being four years old.  Mom and Dad were still working in the fields.  In this economy, you work whenever work is available.  We left what we had that evening, and stopped by again the next evening with more!

Hopefully we will be able to help this family even more on our next visit.  Their original home was washed away in October 2011, during the severe rains that resulted in catastrophic flooding of southern Honduras.  Many families were affected by flooding and have yet to recover.  If we all help a little bit, we can make a lot of difference.

As stated earlier, each year the circle of friends gets larger and we would like to visit everyone we know as well as our past projects each year, which can’t always happen.  This year, our friends from the Rotary Club of Choluteca joined us for dinner one evening at El Potrillo.  The staff at El Potrillo was excellent, as was the breakfasts and dinners we had there.

The Staff of El Potrillo. This is an excellent place to dine and a great place to stay while in Honduras.

We also enjoyed dinner several evenings with Teresa and her great staff at the Barcelona Hotel in San Marcos de Colon.  Their fried chicken is known all over southern Honduras!

Staff of the Barcelona Hotel in San Marcos de Colon, Honduras.

Ann and Sharon were able to visit Jayacayan, the site of last year’s project.  Jeremy and I were able to attend the Choluteca Rotary Club meeting Friday evening.  Our Tennessee District Governor, Dick Bowers, was also there as was the others representing Lawrenceburg Rotary Club, who coordinated this year’s effort.  

Meeting of the Choluteca Rotary Club.

By sneaking out of the Rotary meeting early, I was able to catch up with David Hartley and Keith Clodfelter who were having dinner with the Osotro family, that we have known for years.

The Osotro Family. Esther, MaMa, Carolina, Jose, and Michelle.

Each year, we look forward to taking a day off to explore.  Friday started off with a visit to downtown Choluteca and its many streetside vendors.

The streets of Choluteca Honduras

Ever wonder what happened to all of the Datsun B-210’s?  They are now taxi cabs in Choluteca.

At the straw market, you can find just about anything you would want, especially fresh fruit.

After a few hours in Choluteca, we headed to Coyolito, where we would catch a boat over to the island of Amapala, also known as “Isla de Tigre.” 

Supplies delivered to Coyolito for the ride over to Amapala.

We visited this island on last year’s trip and felt the need to see it again.  I have always said Amapala would be a great cruise ship port and I just learned that representatives from NCL, Carnival, and Princess Cruise Lines were on the island exploring that possibility the day before we were there!

We boarded the boat at Coyolito with Romario and who we will call Captain Smiley.  He never stopped smiling the entire day!

Coyolito, where you catch a water taxi to Amapala Island, shown in the distance.

The boat ride to the fishing village and restaurant is about 45 minutes.  I am not sure what the exact charge per person normally is, but we paid $100 US for all eight of us for the boat for the entire day. 

The fishing village and restaurant as seen from the Gulf of Fonseca.

I cannot remember, nor could pronouce the name of the beachside restaurant, but here it is.

Beachside Restaurant on Amapala Island, Honduras

The food was awesome!  Not only cooked to order, but caught to order.  Very possibly the best shrimp I have ever had.

Cleaning the day's catch on Amapala Island. From the boat to the skillet!

Huge portions too!

Fish and Shrimp combo, freshly caught and cooked while you wait.

Early Saturday morning, we left Choluteca for Tegucigalpa, anticipating extra traffic on Saturday morning.  The traffic was even worse than anticipated.  There was still time to enjoy a Big Mac inside the Tegucigalpa airport before our flight to Miami.

Mc Donalds inside Tegucigalpa airport

A long, great day seeing the sunrise in Choluteca, and the sunset in Miami.

It is truly amazing how many of the same places and same scenes can create different, yet wonderful memories year after year.  We will be returning to southern Honduras again next February, and who knows…maybe before.  If you would like to join us, or just participate financially, lending a helping hand in Honduras is a truly rewarding experience.

Trey Lewis is VP Sales & Marketing for Ole South Properties Inc, Tennessee’s largest independent home builder,  615.896.0019  direct 615.593.6340 or email TLewis@olesouth.com.  Specializing in new homes in the Greater Nashville area to include Nashville, Murfreesboro, Smyrna, Clarksville, Gallatin, and Spring Hill, Tennessee.

2012 – Back to Honduras – Part 1

Every February, workers representing various Rotary Clubs throughout District 6760 converge on the Choluteca region of southern Honduras.  There have been many projects over the past ten-plus years, most of which have been dedicated to improving life in remote villages through the addition of electrical and fresh water systems to the homes.  All of these projects are organized in conjunction with the Rotary Club of Choluteca, Honduras.

Projects like these require a lot of labor and a tremendous amount of money – money that has to be raised.  Sources of funding range from Rotary Clubs, Rotary International Grants, individual donations, Honduran Municipalities, and the residents themselves.

There is no secret that our country’s economy has been in recession, which has made it very difficult to raise money.  This year’s project was coordinated by Jim Johnston and the Lawrenceburg Rotary Club with a focus on providing electricity to approximately 28 homes, a small school, and a church in the remote village of Limon de Linaca. 

There was not enough funding available this year for a larger electrical or water project, but there was enough left over to build a home for a local family near El Carazal…. which is where our group entered the program this year.  “Extreme Home Makeover – Honduran Style.”

Participating on behalf of Spring Hill Rotary Club this year were Jeremy Bisceglia, International Service Chair, Pastor Ann Bassett, Sharon Elvin, Les Bosarge, David Hartley, Eddie Hartley, Keith Coldfelter, and Trey Lewis.

While we were digging, mixing cement, and laying block, Ann and Sharon spent their days teaching at the local school.  Ann is fluent in Spanish, which helped a LOT!

 

The children were so attentive and well-behaved.  They also learned an amazing amount of English during the week!

We even served as a school bus for several children.  When they reach where they need to stop, they just beat on the roof.

While the children were at school, the dogs kept an eye on the jobsite.

There will be more highlights of this year’s trip forthcoming.  How we got there, where we stayed, what we ate, the work that was involved, the friends we have made over the years, and more will be covered so stay tuned!

Thanks for reading!  If you would like a recap of our 2011 trip to Honduras, CLICK HERE

For now, why not take a look at some of the animals we befriended on our visit:

Again, thanks for reading!

Trey Lewis is VP Sales & Marketing for Ole South Properties Inc, Tennessee’s largest independent home builder,  615.896.0019  direct 615.593.6340 or email TLewis@olesouth.com.  Specializing in new homes in the Greater Nashville area to include Nashville, Murfreesboro, Smyrna, Clarksville, Gallatin, and Spring Hill, Tennessee.