In June 2009, a group from our Church and one family from the Columbia United Church of Christ went on our first service trip to Honduras. We went to the little mountain village of El Pital, near La Ceiba, in the Pico Bonito National Park area. Our group is pictured below:
Group members were:
- Scott, Kevin and Mary Denson and Joy Amuedo
- Ellen, Ian, Emily and Jack Thomas
- Kevin and Betsy Fritsche
- Jeanne and Dennis Murphy
- Sarah Coller and Jessie Murphey
- Caroline Erickson
- Kristine, Dan, Christian, Sam and Caden Smith
- Allie, Walter, Jonas, Gabriel and Leila Gassmann
El Pital was ravaged by Hurricane Mitch in 1998. Since then this community of about 900 inhabitants, most of whom live in mud and stick homes and depend on subsistence farming of corn and beans, have been picking up the pieces.
Our group, which included a number of children and young people, worked to raise money to buy the materials for 10 latrines that we helped build there. Materials for one latrine cost about $150 to $200. Most members of our group were involved in the building of latrines, but others worked in the sewing co-op, the health clinic, in remote mountain schools or participated in other creative projects.
This trip was about more than building latrines, however. We learned so much from our experiences there, and the bridges of friendship and understanding we built are the most important outcomes. We were not on a mission trip to convert anyone to anything. We went with open hearts and minds, ready to grow and learn ourselves.
A great big “muchas gracias!” to all who supported this service trip by making financial contributions, helping with planning, buying fundraiser items, and being supportive with words of encouragement, wisdom and caring. Your support was crucial to the success of this exciting and important trip at a time when international goodwill and solidarity are more important than ever. We hope and trust that the bridges we built and the connections we made between Columbia, Missouri and El Pital, Honduras will enrich not only the members of our group but the whole of our church community. Below are photo slideshows in the following categories:
- Latrine Building Photos
- Photos by Allie Gassmann
- Photos by Kevin Fritsche
Latrine Building Photos
Photos by Allie Gassmann
Photos by Kevin Fritsche