Memories from my first visit to Honduras

As Told by Katie Reed

In April of 2012 my husband, Michael, and I went on a working trip to Honduras with Pure Water for the World. He had previously gone on a similar trip to Haiti with Pure Water and liked the work they are doing so much, we decided to volunteer long-term in Honduras with Pure Water rather than going into the Peace Corps.

Man in doorwayAs this was my first time visiting a developing country, it was quite a culture shock. Even in this slightly unique culture, Pure Water had the trip down to a science and everything ran smoothly. We met our group at the airport in Houston. I happened to be sitting next to an English speaking Honduran on the airplane and he informed me that the landing in Tegucigalpa is one of the hardest in the world, due to the position of the mountains surrounding the runway. Of course this made me nervous, but everything ended up just fine. We were picked up in a tour bus at the airport and thus began our week of installing filters, building latrines and learning about our future home.

One story in particular stands out in my mind. It was one of our last days in the community. We were building a latrine for a family.
In fact, I have seen this house and the latrine multiple times since beginning my volunteering time here. The house was situated on the edge of the road, on the edge of a drop off; sandwiched between a beautiful valley and a dangerous blind curve in the road. Living in the house was an elderly man, his wife, their daughter, and her newborn baby girl.

Pure Water asks the family to dig the latrine pit 3 feet in diameter and 7 feet deep. This man dug the pit by himself; to provide for his family.

We arrived with the materials and began working.The concrete was mixed and structure built in the road.

Building latrineWhile we were talking with the family, we discovered that the baby girl was suffering from a terrible rash that covered her entire back. We went inside to inspect their living conditions to see if we could find a reason for the rash. The house was two rooms. A kitchen with an adobe wood burning stove and bedroom that was shared by everyone. They were sleeping on thin pieces of foam. The cloth mattress cover was frayed and tattered. When the mattress was taken outside, the amount of dust and debris was astounding. The group decided something needed to be done. When we returned to Trojes, a couple of people bought a new foam mattress, I bought a blanket for the baby, someone else bought medicine for her rash, and we picked up some lavender for a soothing bath.

It was in this moment that I realized the conditions and the true cost of living in this beautiful, but struggling, nation. They are so rich in their natural resources – stunning mountain views, growing conditions for bananas, coffee, and corn. However, they know corruption and poverty and disease are wreaking havoc. It takes NGO’s, like Pure Water for the World, to provide basic things like clean water and healthcare. Honduras is truly a forgotten nation by many, including their own people who are fortunate enough to have good jobs and live in the large cities.

When we took the items back to the family the next day, their smiles and thankfulness made all the hard work worth it – as it always does.

The list of communities pining for the services of Pure Water for the World is growing every day. Local people have great admiration and appreciation for what Pure Water does.

Please help Pure Water for the World reach more than 500 children and family members in these communities this #GivingTuesday, December 2, 2014. Your contribution will change lives forever.

Thank you.