Dads of sponsored children repave Honduran roads
October 14, 2011
Fathers of CFCA sponsored children in Honduras work on road
repairs. The road was destroyed during heavy rains.
When heavy rains washed out the main road to his village near Santa Rosa, Honduras, 31-year-old Gabriel took a stand. He rallied support from other fathers of CFCA sponsored children and helped build a new path connecting their lives to their livelihoods once again.
Like many villagers in this region lined with tobacco and coffee bean fields, Gabriel earns his income by planting beans and corn. But the damaged road isolated him and other residents of San Jose de Copan. They could no longer travel by horseback or motorcycle to nearby communities to sell wares and secure work.
Weathering the storm
Torrential rains from the severe storms raced down the mountains and eroded the main access, sending sewage into the street and nearly collapsing an already crumbling bridge. The damage affected travelers, including vendors who supply the neighborhood grocers and residents who were forced to traverse a gorge to reach other communities.
Residents were unsure how long they would be disconnected since local authorities rarely maintain roads outside the city and any repairs are often delayed or inadequate. So they relied on what they've learned through CFCA's Hope for a Family program and empowered each other to fix the problem.
Women began selling tamales and bread to buy materials and hire masons to repair the road. Their efforts inspired the involvement of husbands like Gabriel, a father of three, whose daughter Nallely is sponsored.
Gabriel and his children, Christian, Nallely and Elvis, proudly stand
on the road rebuilt by their community.
In all, 19 families totaling more than 100 people used finely pulverized stone, sand and cement to make the repairs. Together, they leveled the street and compacted the soil to stabilize the new surface.
Gabriel and others laid rocks, shaping them in a pattern so they would fit tightly together. By reinforcing the road, volunteers also were able to bolster and repair the old bridge.
During the three-week project, Gabriel learned how to mix and pour concrete and found joy in volunteering and working with a team for the community's common good, he said.
"It helped me interact with other people who volunteered without being paid," Gabriel said.
Completing this project motivated participants to begin planning repairs for other dilapidated roads in the community. They have talked about getting a garbage truck for the neighborhood and installing cans around town for trash pickup, said Julia Lopez Garcia, the CFCA subproject coordinator serving the community.
This community's achievements are all part of the benefits of the Hope for a Family program. Through sponsorship, children receive an education, nutrition, health, clothing and more. Their parents learn ways to build stronger families, through mothers groups or skills training.
"We're not just giving them financial support and tangible benefits," said Ana Martinez, project director for Honduras. "We want to empower them to accomplish these things we know they can do."
While there was a clear need for repairs, villagers did not wait for help to come to them. They organized themselves to make a change and strengthened community ties in the process.
"It is very exciting to see the families be the creators of their own changes and being active members of their communities," Martinez said. "These types of projects don't just bring improvements to their community, but bring everyone together to create a sense of community in each one."