Falmouth churches plan next trip to Honduras

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FALMOUTH — Members of two churches planning a relief trip to Honduras next February recently hosted a woman from that country.

Marisela Araujo, solidarity program director with the Honduras-based Christian Commission for Development, spent nearly 10 days speaking with students at Falmouth schools, attending the Foreside Community and Falmouth Congregational churches, and spreading the word about the need to improve the lives of many Honduran people.

That’s something that Larry and Janie Anderson of Falmouth, who housed Araujo during her stay, worked to achieve in church trips to Honduras in 2006 and 2008. They and other southern Maine volunteers, doctors and nurses worked with people in the medical field through CCD and delivered medical supplies and helped with construction projects.

In 2008 the Andersons’ 16-member group saw more than 600 patients in El Triunfo and Las Chacaras and helped build a bridge between El Triunfo and Las Uvas.

A five-mile run in Falmouth last June raised more than $3,000 for supplies for February’s trip. More than 20 people are on board for the journey, which will take them again to El Triunfo.

A concert will be held at the Falmouth Congregational Church at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 23, to raise more funds for the trip.

While many mission groups will stay in the vicinity of the Honduran capital, “we really were anxious to serve in under-served areas,” Larry Anderson, a physician, said last week.

While El Triunfo has served as their base for lodging and eating, the volunteers will venture out to nearby remote villages “where people … have never seen a doctor before,” he said. “Even if they have access to some medical care, they do not have access to medicines because they can’t afford them. So it’s a rich experience on both sides, for us to meet the Honduran people and for them to receive medical care.”

Anderson called the experience “transformational,” adding that “these things that we take for granted – clean water, education – you realize how important those are in our lives.”

Although he and fellow Mainers had planned their next trip for last February, Anderson said, a military coup forced it to be canceled. Some of the money for that trip was used to bring Araujo to Maine, he said, not only for planning purposes but to have the 43-year-old help raise awareness about her people’s needs.

For Araujo, last week’s visit was her first to Maine.

Her group works with civic groups, churches, youth and local governments to promote development in Honduras through education, solidarity actions, human rights defense and health. According to information she shared with local residents, 22 percent of Honduras’ population is undernourished, 57 percent lives below the national poverty line and 1.5 million people live on less than a dollar a day.

Araujo said she was particularly impressed with the level of interest she saw from Falmouth students as young as fifth grade about her country’s plight.

“Sometimes I couldn’t even finish, to answer all of their questions,” she said. “… It’s such a good thing to see that they care about others.”

Janie Anderson noted the financial barriers many Hondurans face in receiving education beyond the elementary level. Araujo, who has been with the CCD for 10 years, was one of the fortunate ones; she was among a family of nine children in El Triunfo able to make a better life for themselves, thanks to a father who worked hard to ensure they would all be educated.

She in turn has worked to help other Hondurans have the same opportunities.

“It’s wonderful to do this type of work; it’s rewarding,” Araujo said, noting that while her organization faces financial challenges in its work, “we do it with love.”

Log onto hondurasmission.us for more information.

Alex Lear can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net.

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Marisela Araujo of Honduras spent nearly 10 days in Maine helping people from two Falmouth churches and other volunteers prepare for a trip to her country next year.

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