When I took on my project, my intent was to enhance the life of a community outside of San Pedro Sula, Honduras, by putting in a bridge. MyÂ project transformed this quarter, to a partnership with the government which is committed to changing a country with extreme poverty to a country of prosperity â€“ RIGHT NOW!
At the end of June, I went to Honduras for my game and what I saw was a beautiful country that is on the edge of going under. It is a country of 7 million people – 70% are under the age of 14 and 60% live in extreme poverty – and they are demanding a change. The key government people I met with on my trip are looking for a different way of doing things because what has been done in the past hasnâ€™t worked. The money has gone where the votes are and not where itâ€™s needed. They asked me to partner with them in turning around poverty in their country.
My original team was Rafael, a pastor in Honduras, Pastor Don Miller who is head of our international missions here and the University of Wisconsin, Madison chapter of Engineers Without Boarders. I am now in the process of forming 45 teams that will address specific issues such as health, sanitation, disease control, infrastructure, clean water education and many more. I created the possibility and outcome and I have an idea of what I want to accomplish and it is from this, that I get calls and emails from people who I donâ€™t know me but they have the expertise to do whatâ€™s needed are want to help. People are contacting me daily. My teams now consist of some of the following groups: Volvo Construction, Rotary International, the Minnesota National Guard, the South African Embassy, a local structural engineering firm, Doctors and Dentists Without Boarders, Dole Fruit, Cargill, Sea Foam and many more. A strong team player that has shown up unexpectedly is the government of South Africa. We have started conversations about what is possible through an alliance between the two governments.
I have watched the growth of Rafael. In just the past month alone, Rafael has been given a new office in the municipality building including admin support, he has been added to the city board, he is working daily with the mayor on the community, weekly meetings with top government officials and today, August 3rd, he met with the President and the First Lady to review our ideas and vision for the country. Itâ€™s not what you would expect to see for a pastor in a poverty community. This is only the beginning for him.
Ingiero Cesar Salgado is head of the Fund for Social Inversion in Honduras (FHIS) and second-in-command in Honduras. He knows the information on the extreme poverty in Honduras inside and out. I got to see his heart for the people of his country. Ingiero Salgado is not a bureaucrat, but someone who wants to make a difference in this country before it is too late.
In Honduras I experienced communication at whole new level. It wasnâ€™t the words that were spoken but the love I saw these leaders have for the people of their country. It radiated from their souls. It was the unspoken communication of the children who lived in extreme poverty but their spirits had not been broken. It was in all of the single mothers who despite everything they face, love their children more than I can express in words.
I envision a country that will not be the same in three years. They are demanding it and there is a sense of urgency. It will not be because of what is specifically done but it will be a change in thinking that will push this country to its tipping point that will send a ripple affect across Honduras and through Central America in whatâ€™s possible.
Who I am is leadership, love and generosity.
– Kathy Powell-Larson, Team Minneapolis