By Allie Gassmann
A group of 16 members and friends of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbia, MO (UUCC) embarked on the fourth UUCC service trip to Honduras on June 13 and returned home on June 20, 2017.
We left for the Kansas City airport in the wee hours of the morning.
We arrived in San Pedro Sula, Honduras by 1:30 pm. We were picked up at the airport by a private bus, and our guide, David, told us all about Honduras and the areas we were driving through on our three-hour trip to La Ceiba.
In La Ceiba we stayed at our beloved Gran Hotel Paris, relaxing in the pool and at the bar and enjoying a very nice evening meal.
In the morning on June 14, we left for El Pital in the Cangrejal River Valley, about an hour drive south from La Ceiba in the mountains. This time we stayed in the guest house that was built by Cito and his family.
Cito’s mother founded the sewing cooperative that has become a true community center. Cito is our foreman and decides on all our projects, then makes sure the projects get done. We had lunch and then got right to work painting the clinic and starting on the latrine construction.
The next four days we kept very busy building latrines…
painting the elementary school…
painting the clinic…
and offering Pap smears in the clinic all the while strengthening friendships of old and making new friends.
In the afternoons we did things like hike up to some beautiful waterfalls and swimming holes, just hung out at the guest house, played soccer, made music and sang and played games of various sorts.
It was lovely to be living so close to Cito and his family. Cito and Keyla’s two children, Brittany and Breslin, spent a lot of time with us, and we got to know the whole family so much better.
One afternoon some of us met three people from the microfinance organization Adelante to drive up further into the mountains to Rio Viejo and meet two women who are part of Adelante. It was impressive to see and learn about how they were able to start up businesses and to really better their lives and the lives of their families with the help of Adelante. We will definitely continue to raise funds for this worthy organization!
On June 18 we headed back down to La Ceiba, but on the way we dropped by Pepe Herrero’s who has a lovely place along the river with great rocks to jump down into the water from. Unfortunately our time there was cut short by torrential rains.
Our last full day in Honduras was our tourist day, and we went zip lining, then bathing in the hot springs nearby. The zip line goes over the rain forest and one has a view down over the ocean. It was a wonderful way to end yet another great Honduras service trip!