Submitted by Phil Schedlbauer
After some ten years of encouragement, I finally made the trip to Honduras. I went with few expectations, this being my very first use of a brand new passport. Once on the mountain, I was very impressed with the friendliness of everyone that we met. The second day at Lalagua, we inspected the water system and shown the planting practices for beans, corn, coffee, and other crops. My lack of Spanish skills did not hamper my understanding of what was being explained, only my inability to ask questions. The next day we hiked to Mescales, where most of our work was done. The mountain views were beautiful and the small glimpses of family life were in sharp contrast to life in the U.S.
I found the tribe to be a hard working group that was willing to work together on the projects completed in the lower villages. There was always a group of men and teenagers willing to help at each site. The teenagers carried the forty pound boards two at a time to the work sites, a distance of 1/4 mile to two miles, without a complaint or hesitation. I enjoyed each project. I have learned how to frame a small house, install the roof, and to construct latrines while working with the locals. I was not prepared for the gratitude expressed by individual families, students, and teachers for the simple gift of a latrine. The ceremony (student skits, songs, speeches, music) at Sunday's soccer matches was very unexpected and never to be forgotten.
I have made donations to charitable causes, but this was the first time I have directly involved with the benefit of those donations. The joy of students receiving school supplies and soccer balls, students and families posing with their new latrines, sharing a 3 liter bottle of coke with a group of children, working together on projects was very fulfilling and humbling. We were welcomed into many homes and treated like honored guests where ever we went.
I look forward to returning to the mountain to work with the locals on other projects that we can assist with. I would like to thank NYHelp for providing me this opportunity and I encourage others to make the trip.