Wow!  What a whirlwind week in Honduras.

Friday was full of festivities on our worksites in El Rosario.  We spent the morning laying several more courses of block on the homes we started.  At noon, the nearby school, Escuela de Juan Pablo II, fixed a bountiful lunch for us and entertained us with their singers, dancers, and school band.  We had a dedication ceremony to celebrate the week and then we joined the local community and our skilled masons in a game of futbol.  I think I’ll stick to basketball, thank  you.

Saturday we traveled to the town of Copan Ruinas and were able to visit the 1,300 year old Mayan ruins there.  Several of us took an opportunity to visit a remote Chorti Indian village called La Pintada–a 30 minute hike from the nearest dirt road.

La Pintada makes El Rosario seem affluent.  It is a village of about 200 people living in mud huts with thatch roofs.  The children were all barefoot.  The women in the village make corn husk dolls and do some weaving and then send the children down to Copan Ruinas to sell them.  This is their only means of subsistence.

Chagas disease is rampant in the village.  The disease is caused by the insects that live in the mud and thatch that come out at night and lay eggs on the sleeping children’s lips.  When the children ingest the eggs the disease takes hold and is often fatal.

The Centers for Disease Control calls Chagas a Neglected Infection of Poverty (NIP) because it flourishes solely due to poverty housing conditions.  Fortunately, Habitat for Humanity has begun replacing some of the thatch roofs with metal and is covering the mud with stucco.   A simple solution for sure, but it remains out of reach for many villagers who struggle daily just to provide food to eat.

I feel blessed to have been able to spend some time in Honduras this past week seeing and touching first hand what Habitat Wake’s tithe support is accomplishing in the midst of extreme poverty.  The warmness and gratitude of the Hondurans we worked with will stay with me forever.  Keep an eye out for updates on future travel opportunities to work with Habitat in Honduras.