NY/HELP Honduras – 2007
The big project for NY/HELP this year has been education. With your assistance, we have aided local elementary schools for years, but education beyond the sixth grade has been difficult for the children from the mountains around La Laguna. Since the 1990’s, we sponsored a “boarding house,” where up to ten children could attend secondary school or CEVER (the vocational school), both located about 20 miles away in the county seat of Yoro. Last year, the government finally agreed to open a middle school near La Laguna, so many more children could continue their education to the ninth grade level. However, a school building was needed, and so our focus this year has been on helping the community construct classrooms for the new school. Funding for this project has been aided by the donations from many friends, the Women’s Fellowship, the Workers Union, and by a generous gift in memory of Betty Ronan of Arcade.
NY/HELP sponsored two trips to Honduras in 2007 – the first in February and a second one in August. During these trips we worked on the new school, as well as other community projects and, of course, the clinic. Participating in the August trip were two of our people from Arcade: Jeff Dorfman spent much time painting the new school room, and Dr Gordon Comstock continued his “second practice” in the medical clinic.
We still have four students spending the school year in Yoro: three at CEVER (the UCC-related vocational school) and one girl in senior high. We have continued to work with our friends at Sustainable Harvest on agricultural, stove-building, and small business projects, and may soon expand our efforts to include projects in communities on near-by mountains. We have continued a project to provide tin roofs for the poorest families (who are selected by the tribal council) – this not only gives them much better housing, but by replacing thatch roofs, the insects which live in the old roofs (and transmit disease) are also eliminated. Latrines and water projects have continued to be important measures to improve the public health.
Hurricane Felix hit Nicaragua and Honduras shortly after Jeff and Gordon left. By the time the hurricane got to La Laguna, the winds had died down, but torrential rains have ruined almost half the corn crop. A number of houses were also destroyed. This disaster will leave many families, who rely on subsistence agriculture, at the brink of starvation until the new corn crop comes in next February. We are working with Sustainable Harvest to try to assist these people. Donations can be given through NY/HELP or (for general relief) through the UCC’s New York Conference.
NY/HELP has continued to try to show our faith by our acts. We have taught a lot there, but have learned even more from our hosts in La Laguna and the surrounding communities. Thank you all for your help this year and in the past. We depend on contributions from congregations such as ours for the continued existence of NY/HELP and its mission to help those sisters and brothers in Honduras, whose need is so great.
Gordon and Ginger Comstock,
for the people of NY/HELP Honduras.