A history of service.
A history of The Port Isabel, Texas, Rotary Club, in conjunction with Rotary District 5930, is once again sponsoring work crews to Trujillo, Honduras. Our International partners are the Trujillo Rotary Club and District 4250.
Hands to Honduras began after Hurricane Mitch struck Honduras in 1998. Our first projects focused on the construction of low-cost shelters in five Honduran communities and has since expanded to school construction and the development of power supplies and water systems. In the beginning, it was sponsored by the Middlebury, Vermont Rotary Club.
In May, 1999, Tom Plumb, founder of Hands to Honduras, went to Honduras with Rotary District Governor Richard Bielefield and fellow Rotarian Rudy Loyola, to determine what Rotary Distrct 7850, could do to assist the victims of Hurricane Mitch. We visited five communities (Danli, Choluteca, Tegucigalpita, Marcala, and San Pedro Sula) and chose all but one (the project in San Pedro Sula was too big for our small district to tackle). The rest of 1999, 2000 and 2001 were spent raising money for and constructing low=cost shelters in these communities.
In 2001, 23 low cost shelters in Danli were completed at a cost of $30,475.00, 16 newly constructed low cost shelters in Tegucigalpita were provided with electricity and septic at a cost of $10,000.00, 25 low-cost shelters were constructed in Marcala at a cost of $50,000.00, and a 24 unit project was built in Choluteca at a cost of $48,750.00.
In 2002 and 2003, $3,500.00 was provided to help construct 12 low-cost shelters in San Lorenzo, $500.00 was given to connect a village near Siguatepeque with an existing water system (a cistern was also built), $400.00 was provided to a program known as Maestro en la Casa in La Esperanza to buy audi--visual equipment so the teachers could provide video education programs in private homes, $1,500.00 worth of donated school and medical supplies were provided to schools and clinics in Danli, Nacaome, and Marcala, $500.00 was provided to help pay for the creation of a medical clinic near Danli (a sonogram and medical supplies were also delivered to them), 22 soccer balls and several soccer balls were provided to a school in Jutiapa near Danli (where we built the low-cost shelters), and $330.00 was provided to the Marcala Rotary Club to build a roadside sign and an exterior office sign. Each year, Tom was a "go-fer" for District 7870's construction projects in Danli and San Pedro Sula.
In 2002, 112 used computers were provided to communities in Honduras, and in 2003, 72 used computers were provided. These computers cost $9,870.00. Additionally, 3 new computers were provided to schools or programs in Danli, Nacaome, and Santa Barbara at a cost of $1,960.16. Upgrades and repairs for the computers cost $465.75 and trucking to port cost $2,222.63. They were distributed to schools and programs in Nacaome, Danli, San Lorenzo, Choluteca, Marcala, Comayagua, Santa Barbara, Cofradia, San Pedro Sula, Tela, La Ceiba, La Mosquitia, and El Progresso as well as Guatemala City.
In 2004, 54 computers were provided to 3 schools in San Ignacio, Belize, and 82 went to schools and NGOs in Tela, La Ceiba, Progreso, San Pedro Sula, Cofradia, Santa Barbara, La Esperanza, Nacaome and Danli at a cost of $5,806.14). $500.00 was provided to provide finishing touches to the San Lorenzo housing project. $8,100.00 was provided to the Danli Rotary Club to build 327 personal water filters for homes in villages near Danli--Las Cortinas, Casa Viejas, Los Huertos, Santa Cruz, Esquillal, La Leona, Jutiapa, and La Vega. Additionally, Tom wrote a grant for $132,000.00 (not included in total spent since 1999) that was approved to build more water filters to communities near Danli. $4,000.00 was given to the Tela Rotary Club to build 36 latrines in the communities of Hicaque and Puerto Arturo near Tela.
2004 also saw Hands to Honduras develop more focus....and concentrated on Tela, Honduras. The volunteer work crews were begun...and Tom met Lincoln Oviedo, his co-leader, and son of the John F. Kennedy School principal...he is a legal resident of the United States and has traveled to Honduras to assist us with logistics ever since. 30 volunteers--including 12 Interact students from Hopkinton, New Hampshire--traveled to Tela to work on the following (the projects cost $17,200.87):
At the John F. Kennedy School in Tela ($10,369.36):
Security wall and gate, desk painting, basketball court (paid for by Lincoln), rewiring of classrooms, creation of a computer lab, construction of a kitchen, taught art, repaired ceilings, provided a TV with VCR, constructed two book shelves, provided library books as well as a dozen computers, and we provided materials for a puppet show.
At the Estaban Guardiola school in Triunfo de la Cruz ($4,343.59) :
Painting of the entire school, construction of computer desks, a TV/VCR, an air conditioner, library books, 2 book cases, 10 computers, creation of a computer lab in existing space with wiring, provision of cement blocks to repair walls, provision of roofing materials and materials for new windows, and two doors. We also provided dental assistance for a child with an absessed tooth.
At the Daniel Orellana school in El Jazmin ($1,460.74):
We replaced a thatched school with a new 20x30 classroom and provided them with library books.
At the Heriberto Diaz school in La Ensenada ($1,027.18):
One new book case, 2 computers, materials for 2 latrines, and a pump and plumbing supplies for a community well.
In 2004, we also provided a vocational training facility for drug addicted street kids with 6 of our computers as well as $397.12 for a pump and the necessary electricity for their well and $119.44 for the electrical hookup for the guard's house for for the school. An ambulance was provided by the St. Michael's Fire and Rescue Squad for the Choloma Red Cross. Four volunteers (Tom Plumb, James Mount, Iain Hoefle, and Dennis Maloney) drove it to Miami for shipping (shipping and the drive cost $754.38. Rescue squad members flew to Choloma twice to provide training.
In 2005, 58 volunteers worked in Tela--including 17 Interact students. $46,899.84 was spent on projects. The projects were:
At the John F. Kennedy School in Tela ($12,552.07):
New appliances for kitchen, 3 new classrooms, painting of entire school, chicken wire on windows, sports equipment, some rewiring, and a footbridge across a river for students to get to school (paid for by Lincoln).
At the Estaban Guardiola School in Triunfo de la Cruz ($13,004.83):
3 new classrooms, rewiring of 2/3s of the school, new appliances for kitchen and new fans for the new classrooms, new classroom doors, a sewing classroom in an existing room was completed--it had been begun but the school ran out of money, new roofing and toilets for latrines, and chicken wire for the windows.
At the community center in Triunfo de la Cruz ($6,694.34):
A new rustproof roof (it is on the ocean) and painting of the entire huge building.
At the Heriberto Diaz School in La Ensenada ($2,009.59):
Painting of the exterior, one new door, new appliances for kitchen that was wired by our volunteers, and a water filter for the well that filtered everything including salt.
At the Daniel Orellana School in El Jazmin ($700.00):
Stuccoing and painting of the school built in 2004, a flagpole, fans and books, and electricity was brought to the school.
At the Amilcar Giron School in San Martin ($2,228.85):
New roofing materials installed by community, mosquito wiring for windows, and rewiring of the school.
At the Policarpo Bonilla School in El Paraiso ($2,320.42):
A new kitchen and new applicances.
At the Francisco Benedith School in Nuevo Amanecer ($3,923.87):
A new 20x30 school with latrines to replace an adobe school.
At Francisco Benedith school in Matute ($3,260.25):
A new computer lab built by community.
Also in 2005, 137 computers (and an additional 36 monitors) went to schools in Tela, Triunfo de la Cruz, Nuevo Amanecer, Tornabe, La Ensenada, Matute, El Jazmin, and San Martin. They also went to the water department in Masica, the fire department in Tela, the tourist police in Tela, the national police department in Tela, a group home in La Ceiba, a day care center in San Pedro Sula, a detox, vocational center in Progreso, an elementary school in Progresso, a bilingual school in Cofradia, a high school in Santa Barbara, an elementary school in La Esperanza, the Honduran Girl's project in Nacaome, a health clinic in Danli, a high school and an elementary school in Danli. At a cost of $4,428.77. We also provided walkie-talkies to the Tela tourist police at a cost of $156.75 as well as a one way window so victims of child abuse could identify their abusers in safety. Materials for partitions to separate the three branches of the tourist police were provided. . Additionally, the Bristol Vermont Rescue Squad provided an ambulance for the Tela Red Cross. Costs were borne by others. Dennis Maloney provided the rescue squad and fire department with EMS training.
Tom moved to Texas in 2005, and the efforts for Tela were taken over by the Charlotte-Shelburne Rotary Club. Tom moved his efforts to Trujillo.
However, in 2006, Tom worked on two projects on his own in Tela. Hands to Honduras replaced a one room bamboo and thatch school 2 miles up a mountain above Tela. We provided $1,618.00 for the community to purchase materials to build a new 2-classroom school. We also paid $2,650.00 to rent a bulldozer to create a road up to the school and we provided new desks for $740.00. In El Sauce, we provided $1,300.00 to help construct latrines for the school...two 3-stall bathrooms.
In 2007, 36 Rotarians and others built a new three classroom school to replace a small 2 classroom adobe and thatch school and 3 new latrines in the Community of the Tigers for $7,658.71, a new two classroom school to replace a one classroom barn board school and 3 new latrines in 18 de Abril (Rodriguez) for $9,635.65, two additional classrooms to replace adobe and thatch classrooms, repairs of their latrines and repainting and rewiring of their 3 existing classrooms in Remolino for a cost of $10,145.65, and repaiinting and rewired the 9 classrooms, replaced their toilets, and replaced roofing over 2 classrooms at the Bonilla Nunez school l in Trujillo for $6,636.23. We also replaced some roofing at a school in Colon for $153.48. Total costs for projects was $34,229.72.
In 2008, 53 volunteers along with villagers, built two new 20x20 classrooms for $6,355.84 and wired them for $225.13 at a school in Silin, two new 20x20 classrooms for $6,316.86, 3 new latrines for $1,534.14, and wired the new classrooms for $269.55 at a school in Buenos Aires, a new 20x20 kindergarten for $3,683.29 with wiring for $245.81, and 3 new latrines for $1,544.94 in the Pech Indian village of Moradel, a new 20x30 school at a cost of $4,517.25 in the Cunda community, and a new 20x20 kindergarten for $4,158.49 with electricity $129.66, and 3 new latrines $1,551.79 in 13 de Junio. We also provided electricity for the Rodriguez school $256.23, painted the guardhouse and classroom at the naval base for $57.38, built a 26,000 gallon river water storage tank for the 3000 residents of Barrio Cristales for $7,020.00 and provided power to the 30 households and school in Rodriguez for $18,197.50. Additionally, we provided 144 desktop and 9 laptops to schools in Tela, Triunfo de la Cruz, San Martin, Ensenada, San Isidro, Jazmin, Matute, Cunda, Rodriguez, Remolino, San Martin, Trujillo (United Nations school), Pech, Tiger, Silin, Buenos Aires, June the 13th, Guadalupe Carney, Cofradia, Progreso, and Atlantida at a cost of $6,861.00 and science equipment for 9 schools. Two Brownsville Rotarians provided training for the teachers in Trujillo in the use of computers and science equipment. Total project costs were $69,342.25.
In 2009, 54 volunteers built 2 classrooms to replace a portion of a barnboard school for $6,985.57 and 3 new latrines for $1,844.48 in Guadalupe Carney, 2 20x30 classrooms for $5,752.45, repaired their latrines for $120.94, brought power to the 15 houses and the schools and cultural center community for $9,952.27 in Moradel (Pech), a 20x26 classroom with wiring for $3,323.56 and 3 new latrines for $1,902.20 for the school in Rio Claro, a 20x25 classroom in Monte Cristo for $3,236.09, provided power to the villages of Caribbean Mission for $5,774.18, Cunda $8,599.81 and La Brea for $7,703.45.. We also built 3 latrines in Cunda for $944.53, provided water to the Rodriguez school for $45.67 and wired the school for $77.06 (most materials on hand), built a dam for San Martin for $818.47, a 42,000 gallon river water storage tank for San Martin for $11,594.04, provided screening for four schools for $720.02 and repaired the latrines in Silin for $264.20. We also provided 150 computers and teacher training for area schools at a cost of $6,482.63. Total project expenses for 2009 were $76,141.04.
In 2010, 28 volunteers built two 20x30 classrooms for $6,510.98 at Guadalupe Carney, one 20x30 classroom for $3,165.40 at Monte Cristo, a 51x75 multi-purpose playground for $2,874.56,at Rodriguez, reforested the Cristales/San Martin watershed with a 1,000 donated trees for $159.83, wired the Pech cultural center, old 2 classroom school and 2 tourist cabanas for $514.63, minor repairs to school door in Cunda for $63.51, re-roof Pech houses for $1,383.04, wired the June 13 elementary school for $148.89. Total 2010 project expenses were $14,820.84.
In 2011, 42 volunteers built three classrooms in Ilanga Viejo and brought electricity to the school ($13,358.25), kindergartens in Cunda ($2,705.85) and Bella Vista ($2,702.14), and a classroom expansion and new roof for the school in Las Crucitas ($2,476.52). We provided sports equipment to Guadalupe Carney and Rodriguez ($692.26). We also provided new waterline for Colonia Buenos Aires in Bonito Oriental ($146.07). Our water projects in Barrio Buenos Aires is almost complete ($10,570.54)and the filter tank portion of our water project in Barrio San Martin is also almost complete ($16,715.61)...with the clean water tank ($4,604.37 to date)and a well next in line ($423.39 to date).
In 2012, 12 volunteers built a 3 classroom school with latrines in La Lemus to replace an open air thatched roof school serving 88 students. 65 desks and 3 blackboards were also bought. The Buenos Aires sediment settlement/slow sand filter tank was also completed. A back up well was drilled for the San Martin community water system and the clean water tank was started. The water system for the mountain village of Buenos Aires was completed. We also gave each resident their personal Sawyer water filtration system (in 2013) for the 15 families and school. The well for Barrio San Martin was also drilled. We also started a microloan program for disabled residents to start businesses. Bill Mann of McAllen , Texas provided $1,000.00 to start it. Loans are made for up to $100.00 at 3% interest. Nine small businesses have been started,,,mostly revolving around the sale of used clothing door to door and tamale sales.
In 2013, 50 volunteers (mostly high school students from Vermont and New Hampshire) built a kindergarten serving 30 children and an elementary school classroom relieving overcrowding serving 55 of the 800 students in Barrio Capiro. We built a kindergarten serving 65 students on the community of April the 25th and a kindergarten (and school supplies) serving 17 students in Guadalupe Carney. That kindergarten has been named “Kinder Tom Plumb.”
In 2013, we also completed the clean water tank for the 6000 residents of Barrio San Martin and created the filtration modules for both Barrio San Martin and Barrio Cristales thanks to a volunteer engineer from La Ceiba (Jim Baran). Jesus Romero was trained in how to use and maintain the modules. We provided the funds (thanks to Corpus Christi Rotarian Gene Seaman) for the construction of a water tank serving 58 families in Barrio Capiro. We provided funds to hire a carpenter to repair the roofing at the Meriga school in Barrio Cristales….the community provided the roofing necessary. And, thanks to Wells Fargo bank and the Historic Brownsville Rotary Club, we provided furniture for a library in Las Champas.
In 2014, we had 15 volunteers and we built a water storage tank for the 33 families in the Pech Indian village of Moradel. Thanks to a Rotary District 5930 grant for $5,417.00 (a 50/50 grant) we built latrines with a wash basin for the 65 children at the kindergarten in April the 25th, the 160 children at the 3 classroom school we built in Ilanga Viejo, and for the 17 students at Kinder Tom Plumb in Guadalupe Carney. We also used the grant to bring electricity to the kinder in April the 25th and wired the classroom. We also built the control rooms for the filtration systems for the water systems we built for Barrio Cristales and Barrio San Martin. We also dedicated the Barrio Cristales slow sand filter with PDG John Jetter on hand from District 5830…the source of the Matching Grant that paid for it.
In 2015, we had 7 volunteers build a slow sand filter tank and clean water tank for the Pech Indian village of Moradel.
Additionally, in 2015, the Port Isabel Rotary Club was awarded a $102,475.00 Global Grant from the Rotary Foundation to build a community water system for the 3000 residents of Colonia Eduardo Castillo in Trujillo. The grant paid for a dam and sediment, 1.8 miles from the site of the planned 54000 water tank. The grant also paid for the 1.8 miles of pipeline from the dam to the tank and pipeline to the 350 homes and businesses to be served. A chlorination system was installed to chlorinate the water. The community provided all professional and manual labor through assessments from all recipients of the water. Monthly water fees will be increased from $3 a month to $6 a month and will pay for a water technician, a secretary/bookkeeper, and a health hygienist. It will also incorporate funds for a reserve fund, water system maintenance, an audit, and chlorine as well as office expenses. The project was completed in April, 2016.
In 2016, 8 volunteers from Texas and Montana installed a chlorination system and control room for the new water system serving the Pech Indian village of Moradel. Our volunteers also built two new classrooms (a total of six) in the community of Guadalupe Carney. Thanks to funding from the Port Lavaca, Texas Rotary Club, residents of Silin built a second storage tank at a higher elevation to improve water pressure and increase storage capacity for the 135 households within Silin. They also added pipeline to the new tank from a dam in the mountains.
During 2016, we also planned a new Rotary Foundation Global Grant with representatives from water boards in 8 rural villages near Trujillo. Thanks to amazing support from Rotarians around the world, we have raised the matching funds necessary for a $136,300.00 grant to increase the size of their dam, improve water pressure through the replacement of undersize pipeline (smaller pipes flow into larger pipes currently reducing water pressure...the dam is 12 kms from the existing 90,000 gallon tank and the communities stretch out for an additional 6 kilometers...so those furthest away seldom get water), repair their sediment filter, repair a 45,000 gallon reserve tank, and to install a chlorination system. The application is pending a decision from the Rotary Foundation.
In 2017, four volunteers (3 from Texas and one from Vermont) and residents built a new kindergarten classroom in the community of April the 25th...the first one was built in 2013. Thanks to a $6700.00 grant from the Port Lavaca, Texas Rotary Club a second tank at a higher elevation was built and pipeline installed between the dam and the new tank. The two tanks were also connected. This project allowed for greater storage and pressure insuring all 135 families receive water.
In 2018, construction began on our water project in Agua Amarilla serving 8 rural villages. The dam was widened deepened and heightened and 10, 8 and 6 inch pipeliine were added and replaced.
Additionally a one room cement block school was constructed to replace an adobe school in Las Cajas. This school was funded and named after William Mann of McAllen, Texas. We cancelled the work crews due to unrest in Honduras.
We also painted the kindergarten in Trinidad.
In 2019, 2 volunteers from Canada, worked with residents in Maranones to build a kindergarten.
We also rewired the kindergarten in Trinidad, provided cyclone fencing for security, and rewired the kindergarten and installed fans.
A new 21x29 school is under construction in Las Cabras by the community.
And, a new water project is planned for 5 communities near Rigores that will serve 5000 people. We will be applying for a Global Grant from the Rotary Foundation.
Please consider joining our next work crew in March, 2018. No experience is necessary and volunteers pay their expenses. See logistics for details. And, remember, we are all volunteers....flexibility is key to a successful experience. And please donate!!