Wednesday marked our team’s final day in Quimistan and Tejeras, and we finished at the house of Diane and her three children where we started. Marco, the furniture maker, brought wooden shutters to install in the four windows. The electrical team fixed an electrical switch that had been incorrectly tied to an outlet and drove the rest of the team a little crazy with talk of green and white wires. Another worker had started laying block next to the house for the latrine and wash area which will be completed later this Spring.
After lunch, we crisscrossed Quimistan buying bed frames, mattresses, and a plastic table and chairs for the new house. Once the floors had been swept and mopped a final time, our extended team gathered in Diane’s bedroom for a house blessing. The gray block and concrete house we found last week now looked like a home with beds, table, lights, doors and windows. Karyn, Diane’s third child who was seldom outside during our work days, was placed on the new bed by her mother and we prayed in English and Spanish for God to bless this home and family. Karyn suffers from a physical and mental disability and is only the size of a large toddler although she is four years old. HAF plans to support a medical treatment plan for her in hopes that she will develop as a normal youngster. Diane’s boys – Darwin and Windor – delighted in new shoes, jumped on their bed and eagerly started moving items into their new bedroom.
The team crossed the busy highway that cuts through Tejeras over to Guatemala and hiked up to the Tejeras church which also serves as the HAF feeding center where we helped serve food on Sunday. HAF-purchased spaghetti, rice and tortillas arrived and we fed about 90 children waiting in line patiently with their empty bowls and cups. The children ate with their hands and tortillas to sop up the food. Several young boys and our team had a push-up contest with the winner topping out at 25.
As the heat of the day slackened, we walked to the brick factory which employs many children in Tejeras. The 2-3 acre site has drying bricks laid out across the hill and two ovens where firewood is chopped by hand to fire the bricks. The work touched our team as we saw 9, 10 and 12-year-old boys doing hard labor mixing clay, forming bricks into molds, and loading a cold oven to make a few pennies per brick. A child may make 150 bricks per day while an adult can form and cut about 300. We discussed with Maynor Castillo and Dr. Tino that there are no child labor laws in Honduras and that many in Tejeras get skin infections working all day in wet clay. We left the factory and walked down both sides of the highway handing out bags of dried rice and beans– valuable nutrition for families with little access to nutritious food.
We had dinner with Dr. Tino and several of the volunteers and part-time employees at HAF who serve the community. We shared laughs as well as hearing about what we had seen – there are unmet needs in Quimistan and Tejeras such as better wells for water, family planning for women, more sponsorship for HAF-eligible students, housing, and student outreach. We leave Honduras with new-found appreciation for the people of Honduras and some better understanding of how we can follow Christ’s example. The team’s trip would not be possible without the many HAF employees and volunteers.