St. Mark’s sent its first youth trip to Honduras in 1989. For the past twenty-five years this relationship has evolved and grown and is now a deeply rooted expression of our mission as a parish “to engage boldly in the struggles of life and care for others with love, justice, and compassion.”
Originally, under the inspired leadership of parishioners Collie and Betsy Agle, our focus arose from a companion relationship with churches along the north coast of Honduras. Most were teen trips, but there have also been adult trips and mixed teen and adult trips. Projects included constructing classrooms, planting trees, and rebuilding homes after Hurricane Mitch.
In 2007, St. Mark's helped spearhead the effort to build an active network of churches and individuals in Washington DC to support remote local communities as they experience the environmental problems due to unsustainable practices such as slash-and-burn agriculture and deforestation. This network became known as the Trinidad Conservation Project (TCP). Roy Lara, a licensed Honduran agronomist and educator, is the director of the work in communities near Trinidad, Honduras.
In 2015, TCP identified a new international partner in Honduras: Groundswell International (another U.S. NGO) and Vecinos Honduras (its Honduran partner). As program director of the Trinidad Conservation Project in this new partnership with Vecinos Honduras, Roy has undertaken some new initiatives to include:
· focusing on reducing practices that contribute to climate change and encouraging those practices that help communities adapt to climate change, especially droughts.
· organizing community participant meetings and "farmer-to-farmer" field schools, approaches he believes will result in more widespread adoption of improved agricultural practices and more opportunity to develop leaders and empower others.
· asking other Vecinos Honduras staff to lead trainings and home visits in their areas of expertise. Early this year, Balvina Amador, an experienced Vecinos Honduras health facilitator, led workshops to teach women how to build less-costly wood-conserving stoves. In one community, women have already built stoves in two homes since Balvina’s visit.
· calling on village leaders to offer their time for community projects. As a result, a local pentacostal paster is leading a health campaign to clean up trash and reduce mosquito breeding grounds in his community.
To learn more about upcoming trips to Honduras, explore ways to support Central Americans both here and in Latin America, and to assist with fundraising for the Trinidad Conservation Project’s work in Honduras, contact Jen Dalzell at firstname.lastname@example.org.