Cara Mia, my dear heart indeed, (though named that by her father for the song), had what we knew in advance would be a life-changing experience when she traveled to Honduras this past summer. The trip was sponsored by World View in Chapel Hill in coordination with The Heifer Foundation, whose work Cara has supported for years.
She saw many wonderful sights as a tourist and had many uplifting experiences as a goodwill ambassador, but she also came back from the trip with a keen sense of a very different side of the global economy, a new perspective on the rich material culture we enjoy, and a strong practical understanding of how sustainable agriculture, gender equity, and humane microfinancing can bring new life to struggling Third World communities. Best of all, she met some endearing Honduran people who welcomed visitors, shared their celebrations of success with new agricultural endeavors, and showed themselves willing and able to respond to the Heifer philosophy and to “pass on the gift” many times over in response to the support they had received.
I was most interested in the farming and infrastructure. Above is part of a system being developed for composting manure to produce methane at a farm school sponsored by Heifer. The gas is then piped directly to a cookstove. Rainbarrels and cisterns were a common sight, as it was the rainy season, though clean water was a scarce commodity. Communities sometimes shared major equipment like a corn grinder.
Cara started with a countryside bus trip made necessary by a change in plans after the international airport in Tegucigalpa closed due to a jetliner disaster caused partly by short runways. After orientation in a this large capital city, she traveled to mountain communities of indigenous Lenca and then on to Mayan ruins, as well as the Chorti Maya who are the builders’ descendants, before returning home. So she saw a wide range of economic levels of existence.
The agricultural scenes just seem to radiate more hope. As a teacher, Cara was left with many enduring images of children whose chances of healthy survival and education had been improved by the efforts of their parents, with the help of Heifer. Below are boys at an orphanage near Tegucigalpa with Heifer Foundation cows.
This is just a smattering of the images and lessons from Cara’s trip. The slide show I selected is also just a fraction of the images she brought back, though you will see some beautiful landscapes and ancient Mayan architecture. She presented at the NCAIS teacher’s conference in November and has had several other opportunities to share what she learned. I look forward to seeing her continued response to the experience.