Four of us (Betsy and I, and Mary Procter and Bill Matuszeski) went to Honduras in the early part of March to spend time with villagers in five mountain communities that were a part of our ongoing support to the Trinidad Conservation Project. Three of the towns had previously been in the cluster, while two new towns had been added.
On previous trips, we had been engaged in projects and lived in the communities. And a part of our presence there had been to witness changes in the communities regarding number of trees planted, fuel efficient stoves built, and house gardens planted. We gloried in how much organic fertilizer had been made, and how no one was using harmful tradition methods such as slash and burn, and chemical insecticides and pesticides.
This year, we experienced a different deeper layer.
Hondurans are going through tough times: a drought has pervaded the country; a plague is destroying the country’s pine forests, crops have failed, and a well known and respected environmental activist was assassinated. Some families may have to leave their villages because there is no source of income and food. They may have to migrate to dangerous urban areas if the drought continues. Security, drugs, and corruption continue to be realities.
Having to face all of this, it would be completely understandable if the people that we met were despairing. Yet, that is not what we saw. What we saw glimpses of were shining, smiling, faces and hopeful discussions.
There was also a sense of living in intergenerational communities (grandmothers and grandfathers, parents, children); much less attachment to things for a sense of well-being, But something else was evident, and that was their living in a faith that they would be empowered to care for themselves and each other. And that is the power of the Vecinos Honduras presence, embedded in what Roy Lara does; he is a skilled agronomist, and he cares for the villagers. He himself is carrying out his calling, that work with people in small communities can make a difference.
Here is another observation about the trip. A two way interconnectedness exists between the Washington and Honduran communities. We do serve an important role each hour we spend listening and observing in our five villages, and with both Roy and Edwin. It has to do with the caring qualities and energy that we bring to the relationship. So, we inspire by our interest and compassion. And, in return, we become inspired by what we are witnessing up close and from photos. It is truly a mutual exchange of energy.
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