Our day was filled with project site visits and celebrations. Hondurans like to celebrate, and they like to include visitors in those celebrations. So, we spent our morning traveling from village to village to attend dedication ceremonies for new school buildings. We had not contributed to any of these projects. Nonetheless, we were honored guests. Our tour was led by leaders of the municipality (i.e., county), and we were accompanied by ten security personnel. They carried a diverse set of weapons including several machine guns and at least one machete. We’re not sure why such a large security force followed us. Perhaps this is the mayor’s standard entourage. Perhaps they wanted us to feel safe. In any case, we enjoyed becoming acquainted with them.
After a delightful lunch (complements of the community), we visited several potential project sites. We weren’t sure exactly why we were visiting these new sites. We went because the municipality wanted us to see them. Their implicit message was that they wanted us to continue our work in the municipality after we finish our current project in the village of Luis Garcia. We’ve grown quite fond of the municipality, ably led by Dr. Perdomo (mayor), Carlos and Alvin (council members). We believe strongly in working together with the community and municipality, and we’ve found great partners. At each project site, we took on predictable roles. Curt, Melodie, Jorge and Chris (our local Honduran partner) talked engineering, while Katie and Elaina befriended the kids. Brian took advantage of the great picture opportunities.
Today we celebrated the successful completion of new classrooms in Luis Garcia. Yes, we built them last year. However, a few finishing touches were still needed when we left, so the ribbon cutting ceremony was saved for today. What an amazing and emotional celebration! A crowd of more than 400 community members and local government officials shared in the event, which included lots of speeches and a short program by the school children. While it was fun for Alena, Katie, Melodie, and Brian, it was richly rewarding for Curt, Chris, and Jorge, who were part of last year’s “implementation” team and who had spent countless hours planning and fund-raising for the project.