Honduras Trip Report – February 2020
From Charlie Miller – February 2020
I’m just home from Honduras, and while things are fresh in my head, I want to post a report. This account will be different from others: I’ll spare you the long narratives, and give you in bullet points what I experienced. But most importantly I will forward to you a letter I’ve sent to the men who work with me in Honduras. In it you will see a break down not of what we have spent over the past ten years, but a projection of what we expect to gain in the next ten years.
TCI’s mission statement positions us as making long term, systemic investment in the developing world. Investment is the key word. We don’t give, donate, or spend on things that won’t have a return. We try to be strategic, but human at the same time – generous, but not
naive or “easy.” Here are the bullet points in no particular order of
value, cost, or impact.
1) Developed our first work study program whereby girls can intern as
a librarian, or set up a small business financed by TCI. In this case
selling cosmetics bought here at Dollar General.
2) Our Direct Giving program whereby we gave $100 to each household
to make a major improvement to their home. A surprisingly big success.
3) Refurbish the soil, the air, and the general atmosphere by planting
3,000 hard wood trees.
4) Rebuilding the roof, and retiling the floor of the town’s Catholic Church.
5) Financing the Catholic community’s ” Sisters of Mary outreach
program to the most destitute, sick, or abandoned.
6) Financed the rebuilding of the community center.
7) Scholarships for every school student, plus uniforms and shoes for
8) Special “gifts” to those in immediate need- a child with epilepsy
but no money for medicine, a very young woman (girl) pregnant and left
9) The school food program for those kids from the poorest villages
and long walks to and fro.
10) Fabric for a seamstress.
11)Uniforms, hats and shoes (and blood pressure cups) for our two
12) The hiring and paying for a village kindergarten teacher.
13) The painting of ( unpainted) government buildings.
14) The development of land for housing for those returning home from
15)Strategic partnerships with Engineers Without Borders (water), the
Ministry of Education (loans to teachers who go months or years
without being paid), and the Catholic Church ( see above).
16) Meeting almost daily requests for something: a school dress, money
to get out of town, or just a handout to someone too ashamed or proud
In other words, much of what is most valuable and rewarding is in contradicting our mission statement. There is no concrete return for getting a pregnant girl to the city ( just in time), other than to do what we were put on earth to do. The five villages that TCI serves are in flux. Many families are on the move, some leaving, some returning. Maybe the idea is to help this remote valley remain as stable as can be, allow it always be home for those who stay or go, and try to create some peace in the valley.
The last day I left some ladies from the Church asked one last favor: when i return could I bring a priest with me? I immediately called my
old friend Father Suriano who has been ministering to the disadvantaged in
Milwaukee for fifty years. “Sure, but I need a few months to learn
Spanish.” No hesitancy here from a 85 year old guy. So shines a good
deed in a sometimes dark world.