Director of Service-Learning
Office of Service-Learning
4200 54th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33711
Honduras: Spring Break 08
Our spring break project to Honduras took us to an orphanage run by an NGO called Helping Honduras Kids. The orphanage, Hogar de Amor, is located approximately 35 minutes outside of the small city of La Ceiba. on the northern coast of Honduras. It is a small orphanage, currently housing 20 children, many of whom are in sibling groups which have been removed from their parents' care. The age range of the children is 3-14.
Our group of 13 did two concrete projects at the orphanage, and also provided fun and stimulation for the children who were on holiday during the week of Semana Santa. Most of the Eckerd students worked on the painting of a huge wall mural and 6 pillars in a courtyard area of the facility. The mural was designed by Eckerd Students, with special recognition going to Charlotte (Charly) Starnes for the concept. It covers a long and prominent wall leading to the auditorium/dining room of the orphanage. Individual students designed the 4 corner pillars with pictures of birds, plants and monkeys.
One of the group members, along with Professor Janus and help from our Honduran driver, built two large pieces of furniture to help out in the laundry room of the orphanage. There was a huge need for a sorting station, so we built a large set of cubbies for each child's clothing. Prior to travel, our group did fund raising in order to pay for paint, brushes, tools and lumber to accomplish these two projects.
All of the students engaged actively and effectively with the children of the orphanage. They played games with them, did a bead-stringing project, took them swimming in a nearby river, and took them on an afternoon field trip to the beach. While the students were cautioned about becoming too emotionally involved with the children, both for their sakes and for the sakes of the children themselves, it was a hard lesson to learn, and tears were shed on both sides when it was time to leave. This trip was meaningful and productive for everybody, and several of the students are already contemplating a return to Honduras.