Honduras – Let’s go again!

The highlight of each new year is returning to Honduras with Rotarians from District 6760 and friends. We will spend one week in the Choluteca region of southern Honduras. We will visit many friends we have come to know over the years, and meet many more!

This year, our group will bring electricity to a total of 68 families. In the Las Delicias village near San Marcos De Colon, we will complete service for 22 homes. During this time, we will stay at one of our favorite hotels – The Hotel Barcelona in San Marcos De Colon.

After the work is finished there, we will move to the Rivera Hotel in Choluteca and complete the wiring for 46 homes in the village of Tapaci, just outside of El Jocote, which we “electrified” in 2008.

Last year, our project was to build a home for the family of Mario Sandoval and Dania Osorto. Windows and doors have been installed since we were there and I look forward to posting those pictures when we return.

Here is Mario, Dania, Daniela, and Mario Jr. in front of their new home.

OsortoFamilyHome

Honduras is a place where everything makes a difference in someone’s life.  Every minute spent, every penny collected, every tear shed, every dollar donated.

Many that are unable to visit in person have made generous donations to our club for humanitarian efforts while we are there.  Needs are plentiful there, but resources are scarce.  We may not be able to help everyone at one time, but we have helped many – one at a time.

Back in 2007, a co-worker and friend Rob Calk slipped me $200 cash a few days before we left.  He said “do something cool with it” and left it at that.   On the way to our project each day, we passed a very “run-down” house, bound together with plastic tarps and cardboard.  Adjoining this “house” was a foundation for a new home similar to above, and that work had been abandoned.

We stopped and learned that the single mom and 4 kids were all alone.  Their Dad had been killed earlier in the year.  He had started a new home for them, and those hopes left with his death, until she could save the money to continue construction.  In our best attempt at Spanish, we asked the mother what it would cost to finish the house.  She knew exactly the cost of the supplies she needed, and said she had neighbors that would help her with volunteer labor.

She answered with the figure in Lempira, Honduras currency unit.  After running a few calculations, she needed $200 USD.  Unbeknownst to Rob, he had just financed the completion of a home in Honduras!

That evening back at the hotel, some of the others learned of what we did with Rob’s money and laughed at us.  They said we should have given it to an organization, or someone responsible to oversee.  They predicted Rob’s money would be used to throw a party.  I just looked and said – “Right now, a party might be more important than the house – whichever they decide to do is fine with us!”

The following year, we rode down this path….a completed house stood where the abandoned foundation had been just one year before.  The former house was now being used for storage and chickens.  The house had obviously won out over the party.  I do have before and after pictures, but just cannot find them to post.  Rob did get to see both, by the way!  The family was most appreciative too, and yes they remembered us immediately!

This year will identify more needs that we will address.  If you would like to donate a few discretionary bucks, just let me know as we leave Friday morning, February 1, 2013.   We promise that donations will not be spent on beer!

I can’t wait to document this year’s trip when we return, and also to share the news of another amazing story – a story how a young child from Honduras will be admitted to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital for major surgery upon our return – thanks to the efforts of Middle Tennesseans involved in our projects!  As of today, he and his mom have received their medical visas for the trip.  More to follow.

Until then, we’ll be down there doing what we can to help – one family at a time!

Busier Times! (Part 2)

Picking up where we left off in Part 1, with the boat moving decision made, we enjoyed our remaining time at Blackjack Cove.

Years ago, we met a very special family in Honduras, one that has been instrumental in our involvement with the Rotary Club of Choluteca Honduras service projects.  We were very fortunate to have Sergio and Karla Salinas, and their two sons Sergio Jr. and Mario join us for several days

They arrived on the evening of July 2nd, after visiting other Rotary Clubs in Northern Alabama and Middle Tennessee.   AFter their time with us, they would visit more Rotary Clubs in Martin, TN and Lawrenceburg to show appreciation of our district’s involvement in Honduras. 

On the morning of July 3rd, we gathered at the Blackjack Cove Ship Store for a farewell breakfast with Harry.  For those of you that haven’t experienced Harry’s home cooking in the Ship Store, you have missed out.  Catch him Tuesday – Saturdays for breakfast and lunch!

Quite a few friends joined us for the ride down river too.  Everyone is fascinated by the locks, which is basically like a toilet tank we would pull into and be flushed to the river below!

Today’s drop would be over 60 feet due to the lower Cumberland River levels.

We made great time down river, passed the General Jackson, and decided we would stop downtown and fix lunch and wait on it to get there and turn around, a great site to see.

Mario did a great job as Captain and we arrived at Rock Harbor Marina around 3:00 pm.

Rock Harbor Marina lost its famed restaurant, The Blue Moon, in the May 2010 Flood.  We were pleased to see construction nearly complete on the new restaurant facility, to be opening soon…more on that later.

The evening of February 3rd, the Rock Harbor Yacht Club hosted The Rotary Club of Spring Hill, The Salinas Family, and others for a great evening meal – prepared by Sid Neuhoff and Keith Clodfelter.  Those two guys are always doing something good for others and we raised over $1400 for our future Honduras project that evening!

The evening of July 4th, we headed back upstream to downtown Nashville for “Let Freedom Sing” and its awesome fireworks display.

We were fortunate to have radio personalities Doogie Vance and Dagwood Buzz join us with tunes for the evening.  They made the evening rock!

And then……

Boom, Boom, Pow.

The next morning, we said goodbye to Karla, Sergio, Sergio Jr. and Mario.  Ruby, our Blue Doberman, was there this time and enjoyed meeting them!

July was a busy month, with Ole South ending the month with 42 sales and 35 closings!  Our great sales force, construction team, and administrative staff all pulled together in this period of extreme temperatures to make everything flow smoothly!  For every new home that sells, we’re starting more and we remain very optimistic about new home sales in Middle Tennessee!

As you can see from the many postings of this blog, Nashville is a great place to call home.  We at Ole South are ready to build that home when the time is right for you!

Until then, Good Evening!

Trey Lewis is a licensed Real Estate Broker in the State of Tennessee with Ole South Realty, 615.896.0019  direct 615.593.6340.  Specializing in new homes in the Greater Nashville area to include Nashville, Murfreesboro, Smyrna, Clarksville, Gallatin, and Spring Hill, Tennessee.