Impact’s founder, The Journey North Community Church, headed to Honduras on Tuesday 3/3/20 on their yearly trip to serve the children of the Manuelito Project in Honduras. After 2 flights totaling approximately 7 hours, and a total traveling time of 14 hours, we finally landed in Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras.
Once we landed in Tegucigalpa, we had another 1.5 hour crowded bus ride (18 people came along on the trip!) to the town of Talanga, Honduras, which is the site of the Manuelito Project. Poverty is evident in this town, which is not uncommon for Honduras. Many of the streets in the town of Talanga are made of dirt and are are narrow. The stores are brightly colored but most are not in good repair. You can often find ox carrying sugarcane around the town. This town relies heavily on agriculture, with some of the most prominent being sugarcane and livestock. Homes are also in poor repair. Most have dirt floors, thin tin roofs, and no bathroom.
We entered the Manuelito Project through the front gate, which has security guards manning the entrance 24/7. In Honduras, it is a good sign to see security guards as there is a great deal of crime in the country. This Project is a safe haven for the children. Many of these children came from difficult backgrounds, including crime, drugs, abuse, and homelessness. It is a sad reality that many of those who lack food and housing will huff shoe glue. This is very inexpensive to purchase, and allows the person to forget about their hunger and situation. Here at the Project, the children can escape their situation. When they live at the Project, they receive loving care from the staff, shelter, 3 meals a day, medical care, and education. Currently, the Project is housing nearly 30 children.
Also on the site of the Project is a school to approximately 150 children in the community. There are public schools in Honduras, which are free to attend. However, the children are responsible to cover the costs of their uniforms and school supplies, many of which cannot afford. The school at the Project provides an education free of charge, including uniforms and school supplies. These children receive a Christian education as well as one meal a day. For many of the children attending the school, this is the only meal they will receive in the day. Sadly though, you can find the children eating only a portion of the food, or sometimes none at all, to bring it home for their families to eat as well. Children will often hang around at the Project on Fridays, as they are hesitant to return home, knowing it is likely that they will not eat all weekend.
This week, our goal is to be the light of Jesus for the children. We are doing this by working on the completion of a new school, painting their dorms, completing some handyman tasks (such as fixing washers and dryers), teaching, and simply spending time with the children. We’ve been able to do lots of crafts with the kids and also play games, especially soccer. One evening, we had a campfire and spent time in worship together.
It is evident that the children enjoy spending time with visitors. They are very affectionate, and can often be found giving us hugs and kisses, braiding the hair of the female visitors, and verbalizing their affection. It is likely that many of these children did not receive loving affection from family prior to their move to the Manuelito Project, and so many of them crave it now.
Within the next few days, we plan on purchasing and delivering food to some of the poorest families in the community of the children that attend school at the Project. This is an eye-opening experience for many of the first time visitors, as it can be rather shocking to see how impoverished the community is. These families work for only dollars a day, which isn’t enough to make ends meet, as food prices are comparable to the United States. Many families are unsure as to where or when their next meal will come from.
We look forward to this week to see what God has in store for us, the children of the Manuelito Project, and the community. More to come later on this week!