We are privileged to hear from Jill Sherman, one of the WOV Columbia-Willamette team members, about their first day in Honduras.
Our first evening in Tegucigalpa was delightful. We are staying at this very plush Marriott all decked out for Christmas. We met the World Vision staff and they uphold the reputation of WV staff worldwide – excellent, competent, highly qualified, and just generally wonderful! It is a peculiar blessing that God has lavished on this work – the excellence of its staff. I will wax eloquent throughout the week.
Dinner was at a very lovely restaurant just across the street from the hotel – the staff joined us so it was a pleasure to start to get acquainted. For future reference Dana is our official WV guide while we are here. Karla and Libia are with us for translation and just fun. Roger is our driver. He is not employed by WV but is hired to help arrange things for groups like us. He is truly splendid.
The meal was superb! The beef was recommended to us so we all gamely ordered that. Well – – it was some of the best beef I’ve ever had. I am feeling slightly guilty about the true spoiling we are enjoying. I’m sure it will pass! After dinner we returned to our hotel, met for devotions and tucked in for an early night.
Up early this morning and after a banquet of a breakfast, we packed up and hit the road. The drive was gorgeous – very green – many pines – hills and valleys and mountains. Really quite Oregon like in spots. I will also reluctantly mention, for all of you folks enjoying cool temperatures and lovely rains, we are struggling with sunny skies and warm breezy weather.
We headed out to a smaller town named Danli. After checking into a charming hotel – think Spanish hacienda style, we met with the FUNED staff and heard about their work. A bit of a backtrack – for those of you not in the know – our Women of Vision chapter has a micro finance project which we help support here in Honduras. FUNED is the acronym for this World Vision organization. In a nutshell, FUNED makes small loans to people who can not get conventional loans to start a business. Women are the primary beneficiaries of this program. There is much more to be said about it but that will suffice for now.
This is branch 14 of the 18 branches here. It is also the most successful with an almost 100% return on the loans. We traveled out and visited three clients.
Our first stop was in a small town where we visited Diana and her father, Jose, who make a lovely soft caramel candy. The raw ingredients are boiled down over a wood fire and stirred by hand. Then it is poured out onto a table to be cooled, rolled out and cut into candies. Our samples were yummy! Their candy is sold in local stores and they would like to expand their business as there is the demand.
Note to travelers – the secret to Pied Piper type popularity – the iPad! Again, I had the delight of sharing it with children today and got to see their wide-eyed amazement and joy. Upon leaving, I was asked when I could return so they could play some more!
Next stop was a coffee plantation. We drove UP into the hills for about a mile on a one lane dirt and rock road with breathtaking views on either side. Some of us laughed and some of us prayed but we made it to the top and came into a small village topping a ridge. This community is called Buena Vista – beautiful view and it certainly is. Again we were blessed with stories, children, brave women, strong men and coffee!
Our final stop was to see a woman who is a true entrepreneur. Rosa sells Avon beauty products, runs a corn mill, caters, and sells clothing and jewelry. She is the main support for her family of 5 and has had 11 loans. (New loans are not given until the preceding one is repaid).
I know this has gone long and I have not even had the chance to tell the stories of the amazing people we met. People who work long physically exhausting days – day after day and still greet us with joy and warmth and wearing their best clothes! Why did God choose to bless us so? No answer but we are forever grateful.
Time for bed. Hasta la vista.
And love to mine from me and love to all others from yours!