“We won’t change the world over spring break. But we can learn about and observe the long term partnerships SHH has with communities to decrease violence and poverty for their kids.”
– Jamie Barter, James Madison University
UR Students Helping Honduras (SHH) is an organization dedicated to raising funds to improve education and living conditions in Honduras. We are one of over 70 chapters that sends students to Honduras in order to help build schools, making education a feasible opportunity for Honduran children.
Honduras has been known as the gang violence and murder capital of the world, and many Honduran children have resorted to joining gangs as opposed to furthering their education. Thus, the ultimate goal of Students Helping Honduras is to build 1,000 schools in Honduras in an effort to increase opportunities for education.
Every spring break, trips to Honduras are held in order for volunteers from UR to directly help with the building of the schools and experience the conditions there.
I went to Honduras this spring break, and I want to share my experiences because it was a much more valuable trip than I could have ever imagined. Our main job was to work in the work site: passing buckets of dirt to make a level ground for the classroom, delivering cement blocks to build the walls of the schools, digging up the dirt with pickaxes and shovels in order to make a front porch for the school. We were in Honduras for seven days and we went to the worksite for five of those days, for about 5-7 hours a day. Each day, we would get a lunch break with different Honduran meals, and we were able to spend time with the Honduran children and masons, who also worked alongside us. After working, there was an activity planned each day.
One day, we went to a Honduran house to make homemade baleadas, a delicious local meal that is a favorite to the Hondurans. Baleadas consisted on a tortilla wrap filled with refried beans, scrambled eggs, cheese, and avocados. Along with our baleadas, we made fried plantains. For dessert, we made pastelitos, which are fried empanadas filled with a sweet pineapple filling. The entire meal was unbelievably delicious!
On another day, we went on a hike. Some of the Honduran children have to walk 1-2 hours after school just to get home. Thus, they would walk 2-4 hours every day, which shows the incredible value of education. The Honduran children would live in the mountains, so they would climb between rocks and trees; there is no path or trail. The 2-hour hike up and down the mountain truly gave me perspective. I was sweating like crazy and my feet ached after one day of doing this hike, so I could not imagine how the kids do this every single day. For us, walking across our flat campus to Hutchison, for example, is a blessing compared to what these kids have to do.
Multiple times throughout the week, we played soccer and fun games with the children in the community. It was a great opportunity to practice our Spanish speaking skills and to spend time with the children.
This trip has not only made me more motivated to work harder within UR SHH but also further look into ways to help SHH’s mission of building 1,000 schools. I have not only learned so much about the organization, but I have also learned a lot about myself and many life lessons. SHH, thank you for an amazing spring break.