Published DateLACONIA — For a group of local high school students, a recent visit to Honduras meant a chance to contribute, a chance to learn and a chance to reflect.
Seven students from Laconia Christian Academy together with six school staff members, graduates and chaperons have completed an eight-day visit to the village of Valle de Angeles, a town with a population of about 10,500 located about 14 miles from the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa. During their visit they helped to distribute food to needy families, build a tiny one-room house for a young university student, take part in local church services and even to play some soccer with their hosts.
It was an experience which exposed the students to abject poverty on the one hand and the graciousness and the resilience of their hosts who face daunting economic challenges day-in and day-out on the other.
The students also helped do maintenance work at a local private school that also serves the youngsters living at a nearby orphanage.
It was the third such mission trip for that Laconia Christian students have made to the Central American nation in the past four years.
“Seeing the poverty was eye-opening,” said Kassie Higgins, a junior. “The shock of seeing people desperate to sell whatever they have to sell. It makes you very thankful for what you have.”
And many residents of Valle de Angeles have very little.
During their visit the Laconia Christian group helped to build a small one-room house (about the size of a kitchenette) for a young woman who is now in college. The dwelling is just a few feet away from the house where her parents and brothers and sisters live. The Laconia group helped to construct the floor and roof for the house, which will have no indoor plumbing and what electricity it has will be provided by an extension cord running from the parents’ home.
The hardships notwithstanding, Matt McGuire, a junior, was struck by the cheerfulness of the people he encountered. “(The kids) can find happiness in the small things,” he said.
The students believe that their week in Valle de Angeles was time well spent.
“I think (this outreach) gives these people a sense of hope that they are not alone in what they have to face. It makes a personal difference,” said Brian McGuire, another junior.
The trip also has the ability to affect the lives of the students for years to come, according to teacher Karen Mitchell, who accompanied the students.
“The awareness (they have gained) makes a lasting impression on these students in their later years. They are much more likely to respond more generously to help others in need,” she said.
Michael Higgins, a Laconia Christian graduate who was part of the group, said the school hopes to expand the mission trip’s reach next year. Organizers are hoping to raise enough money so that a group of school graduates can go to Valle de Angeles for a week next January with a similar-sized group of students and chaperons going the following week.
Students from Laconia Christian Academy stand at an outlook overlooking the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa. In front, from left, are school headmaster Rick Duba, senior Ben Dadian, juniors Calvin Cregg and Matt McGuire. In back row, from left, are teacher Karen Mitchell, school graduate Gabrielle Duba, Margaret Duba, juniors Meredith Carter and Kassie Higgins, senior Michael Higgins, junior Brian Wentworth, and graduates Nick Lincoln and Alek Duba. (Courtesy Photo)
Laconia Christian Academy students Calvin Craig, left, and Kassie Higgins help carry mud bricks being used to build a tiny one-room house for a young woman in the village of Valle de Angeles, where a group from the school went on a recent week-long mission trip. (Courtesy Photo)