From Honduras

Building a Dream

He is a passionate man – passionate about his family, his home, his work, his coffee. Isabel Ramos Mejia is a coffee farmer in Honduras, devoted to his wife, Sofia, their seven children, and three grandchildren. Living for decades in a two-room adobe house, he dreams of improving the quality of life for his family.

Isabel and Sofia in front of their houses – new on the left, old on the right.

 

 

Working hard on his farm, he diligently tends to the trees that provide for their living, and he has little spare time. The coffee cherries grown on his coffee trees are harvested and processed, then sold, providing an annual income. Though they have just enough to make ends meet, Isabel continues day by day Read more

It’s a First … and Not the Last!

I honestly had no idea what to expect before my first missionary journey. It was far more difficult yet far more rewarding than I thought it would be. During our first team meeting I was told that I was going to be a dental assistant. Keep in mind I am 20 years old, on my first service trip, and barely floss. I have seen more of the human mouth than I ever hoped, but with that came the warmest smiles that were able to give me butterflies. The expression “it’s like pulling teeth” had nothing on the Honduran people: they were tough as nails. I witnessed one of TerraMica’s dentists, Marlon, pull out dozens of teeth, two tumors, and still receive nothing but gratitude from every single person.

There was one patient who couldn’t have been more than 8 years old and Read more

The Long Road to Serve

As I sit down to write memories of this trip, many come to mind. Memories of smiling children, feverish patients, muddy rivers, karaoke over breakfast, and amazing people.

For me, service trips are always about honoring the Lord, but also about the excitement of travel and seeing new places that most never get to experience. I love the opportunity to be taken into a local family’s home and learn about different cultures first hand. This was to be my 20 year-old daughter’s first mission trip, and I was excited for her. The night we drove to San Francisco to catch our red eye for Houston where we would rendezvous with the rest of the team, my daughter looked at me and said, “Mom, this is such an answer to prayer. I get to go and devote the next five days purely to Read more

Enhanced Senses

In my limited experience, I have come to find that there are two types of traveling. The first type of traveling is driven by the want to escape. Whether you’re escaping from your job, family, or just the stress of life, the point is that you want to escape your current location. The second type is driven by the need to explore. It is not motivated by the want to leave your location, but by the need to see, feel, and experience another. It is this kind of traveling that awakens your senses and opens your mind; and if you allow these experiences to change you, they will. Read more

Stepping Out …

Steven picking coffee cherries on a family farm in Guajiquiro, Honduras

It was in January that my fiancé and I decided to save for a service trip to Honduras! Although my Dutch passport had expiration issues, we still made it work for travel at the end of April. I was very excited as we were going to help build water reservoirs for impoverished coffee farmers in rural Honduras. As our departure date came closer, I began to feel concerned as I read and researched what to expect in Honduras. Two of the main cities have been rated amongst the most dangerous and violent cities in the world, so my worries were not unjustified. That being said, I have traveled quite a bit in my 26 years and I have never hesitated about visiting a new country – so these worries were a first for me!

The day we were leaving came fast, and both my fiancé and I were eager to get to Honduras, as this was also our first airplane ride and trip outside the country together. We had our checklist of what to bring and to wear – so we felt ready and in great hands as TerraMica operates there 52 weeks a year with full time staff on the ground.

Anne, Steven, and Jorge exploring Honduran roadside shopping

The descent into Tegucigalpa is very exciting and fun because Read more

Working Together – Pila Project

Not me, not you, just us!

After a long flight, my friend Andrew Gwin and I arrived in Honduras for a short trip to support rural poor coffee farmers by joining TerraMica in building “pilas” (water reservoirs). Exhausted but excited, our small team had much to accomplish … I admit, I felt a bit of pressure to get the most done with the amount of time allotted to us!

We arrived later in the evening so most of the first day was spent traveling and planning the next few days itinerary as we drove from the airport to our hotel with Jorge Sosa, TerraMica’s Honduras Country Manager.

How much could we possibly do with just the three of us? Keep Reading!

More than a greeting …

Buenos días, que le vaya bien!gracias …

It happens to be that I cannot find a proper translation of the phrase “Buenos días, que le vaya bien” in English. The closest I can get to is this: “Good morning, may it go well.” In my limited English, it being my second language, I don’t feel comfortable trusting this as an exact translation, but I hope you get the idea.

In my years I have enjoyed cycling, so much that many friends introduce me as “Oh, and this is my friend, the cyclist I was telling you about.” Most of them do know that I am a biologist, and in my younger years, I spent many days in my family’s coffee farm chasing bugs, climbing trees, eating wild berries, and scraping my legs and arms with branches, poison ivy and dirt. I enjoy being outside as much as I enjoy a good meal, being with friends as much as I enjoy being alone. All this to say, I am no extraordinary man.

Looking back in life it can be said there has been a series of events around me that have shaped the person you’d see today. Don’t get me wrong; far from orienting this short story to myself, I want to focus in on God’s providence and that bigger purpose. The Bible says the God wants us to live life and in abundance, to love one another, love God above all things, to do justice, mercy, and be humble before Him. In my journey to do so, I am enjoying every step along the way.

One morning while riding my mountain bike in a village not too far away from the city I live in, I found myself on a narrow trail Read more

Trees for the Kids

1,000 TREES

You may wonder how trees can impact the lives of children. Even 1,000 trees … or more. We can’t wait to tell you! There is a children’s home in Honduras that houses almost 40 children who have been orphaned, abused, or abandoned. They are not up coffee-seedlings-by-tree-casa-hogarfor adoption – they have found their permanent home and their new family. The two women who founded this home and lead it have a deep faith in God, and they have a genuine love for each of these children. They are family. As beautiful as this is, it doesn’t pay the bills. There are many costs associated with caring for this big extended family – food, clothing, school uniforms, medical treatment, supplies, and day to day living costs. TerraMica has partnered with this home for a long term commitment. Why? We believe that true religion, true faith is exercised in caring for the needs of orphans and widows. And, quite honestly, they have won our hearts.

Our first step was to establish a bi-annual dental clinic, and we recently completed the second one a few months ago. These children, ranging in age from 1 to 18, had previously never been seen by a dentist! Working with a dental brigade in Honduras, we have now funded and administrated two dental clinics for these children. But that still doesn’t answer the questions about the TREES …. read on!

group-of-coffee-seedlingsTerraMica purchased 1,080 coffee trees to plant on the property of the children’s home. In three years, these coffee trees will produce between 15,000 and 20,000 pounds of coffee cherries, or about 4,000 pounds of green coffee per year. Keep Reading!

Emergency Water Relief

jorge and men working on water tank

Jorge Sosa of TerraMica (left) with the some of the Lenca families working on the water relief project.

Remote mountain location. Thirsty children. Parched crops. Limited access to water.

The Lenca Indians are a beautiful people. Direct descendants from The Mayan dynasty, they live and work primarily as farmers in northern Honduras in the Marcala region, close to the El Salvadoran border. At an elevation of 6,500 feet above sea level, water access and distribution is challenging, and during the long dry season, this life-sustaining element becomes a precious and scarce commodity.

Two months ago, 20 farming families (around 110 people) were suddenly left without water when their only distribution source was disrupted because of an aged water supply line Keep Reading!

A Roof for Penzotti Institute

Imagine you’re back in school as a child. It’s a rainy day, and school goes on. Everyone is called into the gym, which doubles as chapel and school assembly meeting place. You select your spot carefully, trying to avoid standing in a puddle of water or in the shower of rain falling through gaping holes in the roof. You wish the roof didn’t have holes, knowing that games and sports will be out of the question later in the day due to all of the water. You try to pay attention in chapel, but you’re working hard to avoid the ponds on the floor … and trying to avoid being jostled into a spot under the downpour from one of your classmates. It’s hard to focus with the rain pouring down. It’s difficult to hear and uncomfortable, but you’re grateful for your friends and the teachers … still, you can’t help wishing someone would help the school fix the roof so there would be a dry, comfortable place for assemblies, chapel, and sports. Keep Reading!