Karla, 14, and her father, Pastor Pedro, live in La Palmas, Honduras. Together they are making a difference in the lives of children in their neighborhood. “I’m part of the youth club [called] ‘Building friendships.’ This club is supported by the World Vision project, Fostering Hope at Home, where we work with children and teenagers on topics that will change their lives,” says Karla. “Due to the lack of a strong income, many parents spend most of their time working, leaving their children by themselves at home. This makes them an easy prey for gangs that unfortunately rule the neighborhood,” she says.
Eight-year-old Alan runs quickly to the field, bends down and picks a big, beautiful carrot. His father, Gerardo Rodriguez (46), opens the irrigation system to water his crop, including the carrots, which is Alan´s favorite vegetable. Little Alan and his family live in the community of Cerro Verde, located in the high region of Marcala, Honduras. Every morning after breakfast and a good cup of coffee, Gerardo walks through his fields to check the vegetables and determine if they are ready to be sent to market. At the same time, Alan says goodbye to his mother Mirna and walks to school with other children from the community.
The Church is empty, except for the pulpit and some metal chairs in a circle position. This is where we meet a sweet young married couple, Dunia Ardon (34) and Victor Santos (35). They serve at the church as Sunday school teachers and have been transformed by the Raising With Tenderness training, a Christian Discipleship methodology provided by World Vision.
Dunia recalls, ¨I grew up in a house were my mom had left us and I ended up growing up with my dad who was very aggressive. Many times, all I wanted was his approval and love but ended up getting beaten.”
The sound of the water is beautiful, bringing peace. And if you close your eyes, you can almost feel it—the cold drops coming from the mountain, straight to your home. The sound can bring life and joy to a community. The sound is heard in the community of Lanita Verde in Honduras.
Here is where we find Maria Sarmiento (40). Green trees surround her home and a small river runs nearby. She lives with her husband, her daughter Marixa (24) and her two beautiful granddaughters: Keylin (7) and Francisca, who is a 12-month-old baby.
In the community of Los Planes, located in Marcala, Honduras, we met Abel Lopéz who is 44 years of age. He proudly showed us his huge coffee plot where he has over a 1000 coffee trees. This season has been better than any he can remember. He says, “This has been the best harvest I've ever had, thanks to the support of the World Vision THRIVE program; I've been able to care for each of my coffee trees and increase my production to be able to sell it and make an earning to support my family.”
Beautiful red flowers and green trees line the path leading to the home of Mrs. Xiomara Zelaya. An attractive flower garden adorns her home. It wasn’t always like this. Having a garden wasn't possible a year ago.
“It was hard waking up each day at 4:00 am to go outside in the dark and try and find water in the little creek,” says Xiomara. Each day she faced a two kilometer walk in search for water. During the hot summer months, the creek would dry up and it took much longer to find water.
|Secundina’s hillside plot|
Early morning, with a soft breeze blowing up the hillside, we catch Secundina Aquino working the soil with a hoe on the plot of land that she is currently cultivating with her savings group. Secundina and her savings group are learning new agricultural techniques to farm tomatoes and green bell peppers.
Secundina is a strong, active woman who is driven to learn new agricultural techniques. But she didn’t always have this knowledge. Her husband Juan Ramón Ramirez worked as a day laborer on other farms and only earned five dollars per day during harvest season. She recalls, “It was a struggle to try to feed all of our children with only five dollars per day; it was never enough.”
She became an example to everyone in the church. She gives hope and teaches the love of God to children during Sunday school and her smile brings joy to all that surround her. She is only 14 years old and at a very young age, Julie* has seen the darkness of life, felt the pain of losing her loved ones, but at the same time found the strength to get up, move forward and shine. Julie lives in a neighborhood surrounded by gangs, drugs and violence. “Living in this neighborhood can be very scary. There is a lot of poverty, a lack of opportunities and broken families.
|Carmen and Kevin read a Bible lesson together|
¨My mother doesn’t love me,” eleven-year-old Kevin used to say. He is shy, but strong-willed. There was a time he would repeat this phrase to his mother Carmen Cruz, 32. Carmen remembers it was hard for her to learn how to love and show tenderness to Kevin because it wasn´t how she was brought up.
Carmen was raised by her grandparents because her mother couldn’t care for her. She remembers the lack of love and affection from her mother and that´s why she tries to be there for Kevin, to break the cycle and repeat what had happened to her. Carmen recalls seasons where Kevin would rebel in school and fight against his teachers and parents.
|Ermis cuts back excess leaves to increase his bell pepper production|
Walking up a steep hill, I arrive at a beautiful green bell pepper and tomato plot. It's early in the morning and the breeze is blowing from north to south. Continuing, I find Ermis Ramos cutting away excess leaves around the green bell peppers. He explains that by removing some of the leaves, the pepper will have more space to grow to full size. Ermis says, “I have learned new practices and techniques that were unknown to me, this new knowledge is priceless to me because no one will take it away.”