by Tara Parr, 2018 TWP Tours Participant
A trip to a place with a different culture, a language you don’t speak, and the life challenges you may vaguely perceive but hardly understand is an adventure. The adventure that allows one to abandon the sometimes stale, mundane, or frustrating repetition of daily life is usually a brief experience but it still becomes the source of personal contemplation and growth.
It is awkward to be in a space of your host no matter how generous or maybe just because people everywhere are so generous. Despite the generosity I was scolded many times by many people to improve my pronunciation and learn more Spanish. I spent the night before my flight to Honduras dosing on the freezing cold floor of the Denver airport and could see there were a number of others who were doing the same. They all looked like they might be farm workers going home to visit. I felt a kindred spirit with these people though their looks were guarded. When I arrived in San Pedro Sula airport I faced another four hours travel to reach Copan. My reading of “Incidents of Travel” by Catherwood and Stephens who were on mules; and often truly plagued by insects made me all the more amazed by the steep mountainous jungle terrain which was everywhere. In my whole twelve day stay, whether on foot, by Tuc Tuc mini taxi, or in mini vans, the going was always steeply up or down with a lot of rocking sideways over potholes.
The difficulty of knowing the most important lessons of my travels lay in knowing the people who took me into their lives and showed me the Honduras of their hearts. It is a country and a life which the people are proud of despite their knowledge that for the most part any increase in their standard of living seems virtually unobtainable. (The ubiquitous presence of corruption that preys on the common person and an inequality of rights for women are very much a fabric in the culture). And for the people of remoter villages there is no guaranty of basic needs beyond what their own skills and wits can help them create out of little resource. And thus, the goal of the people of Trees, Water and People who sponsored my travels is to make knowledge of holistic and eco-centric sustainable living available across whole families and villages. TWP’s low key steady approach allows the local people in the equation to do the heavy lifting. The implementation of techniques and even philosophy are key to any success. People are urged and expected to problem solve their needs with empathetic listening and support from the organization.
The nuts and bolts of the program in Honduras seemed to be providing knowledge of things like starting tree nurseries in every community and getting those trees planted where they can provide fruit (all the citrus varieties, plantains and bananas, coffee, cacao, over story and lumber trees, apples and peaches and avocado and varieties of cultivars I didn’t recognize.) In some areas there were pines to replace the vast loss of Honduran pine due to pine bark beetle due to harsh climate changes and drought. The loss of pine trees and a fungus affecting the health of coffee plant all over the country is devastating. Even the most basic garden seeds were not available or being planted in areas where coffee has been the primary cash crop for over 200 years. And so the future could be quite tricky for these people.
One of the most inspiring TWP programs in the communities is to help people to have clean cookstoves; The Justa Stove; which saves fuel and removes smoke from the houses. Everyone with a stove or involved with helping to build these simple, but exacting necessities of daily life seemed to be grinning with pleasure and satisfaction.
Today, hundreds of Honduran families are faced with the impossible decision of whether or not to leave their homes due to unprecedented climate realities, risk of violence, and lack of economic opportunity. Through 7/31/19, we are matching your any funds donated to our projects in Honduras through our #RootsofMigration campaign here.
And if that doesn’t peak enough of your curiosity, consider joining us on our next tour to Central America and see it for yourself!