I hope and pray that you and your family are doing well. I’m sure all of us have been impacted in some way by the Coronavirus and the government’s reaction to it. The consequences have the run the gamut, from death and unemployment to shortages and inconveniences.
While the reaction in the United States to the virus has been dramatic, it is even more so in Honduras. In many ways, they are suffering like us: businesses shut down, schoolhouses closed, masks and gloves required. In other ways, their response has been more extreme. Food shortages and travel restrictions are much worse. Compounding their problems are widespread poverty and lack of basic services.
Imagine barely making enough money to feed your family, you consider yourself fortunate to have a roof over your head, and a refrigerator is a luxury you can’t afford. Then, in response to the virus, your job is eliminated. You have no savings. No stored food. No food stamp program. No unemployment check. Your whole community is in the same situation, so there’s no one to turn to for help. That’s the situation many Hondurans face right now.
Hope & Help for Honduras is trying to do what we can to help. Below is an article about our special assistance effort during Coronavirus. These are tough times for everyone, and you are already contributing, which makes it hard to ask you for more. But perhaps you know someone who is looking for a way to help. If so, please let them know of our on-going mission and our current special assistance efforts.
Special Assistance Effort During Coronavirus
People in Honduras are only allowed to go out to take care of business one day a week (based on their ID card number). There are police roadblocks to enforce these travel restrictions. Hondurans are used to buying food daily since many do not have a refrigerator, so this is much more than a minor inconvenience. Add to that the fact that most are now unemployed and the situation is much more dire.
Since our teachers are on half-salary right now, we are trying to purchase basic food necessities for them (beans, rice, corn, and condiments). Arrangements have been made to purchase and deliver the food to them. $10 will buy a bag of food and there are 27 teachers, so we are trying to raise $270/month. If you would like to donate, please do so online here, or send a check to Hope & Help for Honduras, 2270 New Hope Rd, Greensburg KY 42743.
Hands for Jesus Christian School Responds to Coronavirus Shutdown
The Coronavirus lockdown in Honduras started in March. Students have not physically been in school since then. The school year in Honduras starts in February and runs through November, so the shutdown started early in their school year.
Fortunately the students have their workbooks and textbooks, so they are studying at home. Additionally, the teachers send homework daily. Teachers are also making use of the internet to provide the students on-line instruction. You can see from the photos below that the teachers are doing their best to continue teaching the students.
While studying at home is a hurdle, at least there is a mechanism for schoolwork to get done. However, there are many other problems created by the Coronavirus shutdown. Most families could barely support themselves on their normal income and now they have no income. One result is that several parents cannot afford internet service, so their children can’t interact with the teachers. Another result is that some parents do not have money to pay tuition. Since so many parents are not paying tuition, the school could only pay their teachers 50% of their salary for April (and this may continue until the shutdown is over).
Please continue to keep the students, teachers, staff, and parents in your prayers.
Jimmy and Bonny’s Adventure
Jimmy and Bonny Abbott are missionaries to Honduras. Bonny has helped at Hands for Jesus Christian School for many years, and was the inspiration behind our charity, Hope & Help for Honduras. Bonny is still very involved with the school, and heads our Sponsorship Committee (determining which students are eligible for sponsorships). They recently returned to Honduras, but ended up having more “adventure” than they bargained for. Below is their story, in Bonny’s own words.
We flew to Honduras on March 4th, planning to visit and work at Hands for Jesus for two weeks. Shortly after we arrived, we began to hear rumors about the Covid-19 and borders closing. We decided to fly back a few days early—leaving on March 16th. On March 15th, the president of Honduras decided to close its borders and allow no one in or out. No one was allowed out of the house except to get food and only two people per vehicle. Each day we booked a new flight, it would be canceled. I called the office of my state representative as well as the US Embassy (the embassy had already sent all but a few of their employees back to the States). No commercial flights were allowed in or out of the country. We received a call on March 23rd saying there was a cargo plane going out on the next morning and asking if we wanted to be on it. YES! Only 2 hours later someone posted on social media that the flight for the next day was a hoax—don’t meet (they said) or you will be robbed. We were sick. Finally we were able to get in touch with the embassy again and found that there really was a flight out the next morning and we were approved to fly.
All roads in Honduras have roadblocks (no one is supposed to be traveling). We had a letter from the embassy and a Honduran friend to drive us, so we set out at 4 am the next morning to meet in the capital city (Tegucigalpa) at 6 am. From there we were checked out medically, put on a bus, and transported to the military base 2 hours from the capital. We were only allowed a small suitcase, so we left most of our clothes and personal items behind in Guaimaca. We boarded a C-130 and flew to Norfolk, Virginia, arriving at 11 pm. What a flight!! Ear plugs and tiny jump seats are the norm on C-130 planes.
Only a few days after leaving Honduras, about 100 people came to the compound where we live to beg for food. Fortunately, a missionary family there was able to share beans and rice with all 100 families. Hondurans are used to getting food on a day-to-day basis. Most have no refrigeration and no way to store food. Now families can only shop one day a week for 4 hours in the morning according to the last digit of their government ID. Food is scarce and many families are hurting. They are unable to work and therefore unable to obtain food. Government assistance is minimal if at all in Honduras. We are glad to be in the States but also miss our Honduran friends. Our hearts break for the situation there.
We are so grateful for Jimmy and Bonny’s safe return!