FMCA members interested in helping to eliminate poverty housing firsthand can participate in an upcoming Habitat for Humanity build in Central America.
Anyone can take a vacation and come back tan and a few pounds heavier. But only special people travel to exotic places in the spirit of helping others. You can be one of them. Are you ready for an adventure that changes the world, one house at a time?
The Global Village department at Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI) has put together a 10-day Habitat house-building trip to the Central American country of Honduras just for FMCA members, employees, and their families. The Global Village department runs nearly 400 short-term house-building trips annually to more than 60 countries. Some are open to the public; others, such as this FMCA trip, are organized for specific church, school, club, or corporate groups.
Honduras is the second-largest Central American nation and one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere. Mountainous throughout a large portion, its borders include a narrow Pacific coast and a larger northern coast along the Caribbean Sea. Its agricultural sector, which is responsible for the majority of the country’s exports, has yet to recover from the damage sustained from Hurricane Mitch in 1998. An estimated 30 percent of Honduras’ population is currently unemployed, and 66 percent of its residents live in substandard conditions.
In November 2005 Lynn Laymon and Linda Walden, F245876, will lead a team of 16 FMCA volunteers to help eliminate poverty housing in this impoverished country. The team will be building with the Siguatepeque Habitat affiliate. Located in the Central Mountains, Siguatepeque has been described as a garden city with a distinctly rural flavor. Habitat for Humanity Honduras builds simple, economical homes of cinder blocks reinforced with rebar and cement. Safe, durable, and resistant to earthquakes, they include a kitchen, living/dining room, bathroom, usually two bedrooms, and a small front porch. The work will be physical and demanding, but extremely rewarding.
“Organizing a trip for FMCA makes sense, since HFHI is an official charity of the association and FMCA members have been so generous with their involvement and support,” Linda said. Honduras was chosen because it is a country of tremendous need. In 2004 $8,000 of FMCA member donations to HFHI went to fund houses in Honduras.
The itinerary is as follows:
Saturday, November 5: Arrive in San Pedro Sula; transport to Siguatepeque; team orientation.
Sunday, November 6: Outing to waterfalls and lake.
Monday, November 7 – Friday, November 11: Build with local affiliate and local partner families.
Saturday, November 12: Travel to Copan Ruins; afternoon free; overnight in Copan.
Sunday, November 13: Copan Ruins tour; travel to San Pedro Sula in late afternoon.
Monday, November 14: Depart for home or extended travel in Honduras.
In Siguatepeque the team will stay in a simple hotel with double-occupancy rooms and private baths. Breakfast and dinner will be provided at the hotel or nearby restaurants; lunch will be furnished at the build site. In Copan and San Pedro the team will stay in moderately priced hotels, and most meals are included.
The trip cost is $1,250 per person plus airfare (from Miami, Florida, or Houston, Texas, to San Pedro Sula). The cost includes lodging, meals, and ground transportation while in Honduras; a cultural activity; the waterfall trip and ruins tour; traveler’s medical insurance (but not trip insurance); and orientation materials. An interpreter will be provided for the group, but fluent Spanish speakers are encouraged to join the team. Participants will need to arrange and pay for transportation from their U.S. point of departure to San Pedro Sula. This should be done in consultation with the team leaders, who will meet the group in Miami, or San Pedro for any who fly from Houston.
Global Village teams do more than provide volunteer labor. In this case, $350 of the trip fee is a donation to the Habitat Honduras building program. As houses in Honduras cost only $4,000 to construct, the team is essentially funding and building the home. The FMCA team will provide a double hand up to these deserving Central Americans.
In addition to being officers in the FMCA Chapter: Habitat for Humanity®, Linda and Lynn are experienced Habitat team leaders and previously have led groups to Honduras.
Because this trip is open only to FMCA members, employees, and their families, it does not appear on the Global Village public trip schedule. To view the trip flyer, visit www.habitat.org/gv/gvcustomdescrip.asp?TeamID=GV5279.
Prospective team members can apply online at www.habitat.org/GV/apply/default.html. On the application enter GV5279 as the event code, Honduras as the country, and November 05 – 14, 2005, as the trip dates. For a paper application or more information, contact Linda at [email protected], (800) 422-4828, ext. 2446; or Lynn at [email protected], (800) 422-4828, ext. 2398. You will be contacted by e-mail or telephone within two weeks of submitting the application.
Joining this team of like-minded FMCA members provides an opportunity to participate in group travel to a Third World country and make a difference at the same time.