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The following article was sent to me as an e-mail message. It is placed here with permission of the author, Jennifer Hagel .


I loved reading your articles on Santa Barbara. I was just on a mission trip with my college group from Brooks Avenue Church of Christ in Raleigh, NC from May 12-26, 1997. The experience you described was very familiar, even though we spent most of our time in the rural village of Amacuapa(in a valley 1.5hrs by pick up from Juticalpa). Down there for two years are a student from NCSU that goes to Brooks Avenue, a Panamanian missionary, and two Honduran "missionary apprentices," ages 17 and 19.

Our group of 15 got a warm welcome from the village awaiting their north American visitors. They helped us carry in our luggage and personally welcomed each of us when we arrived at 10pm.

We stayed in Amacuapa, had work projects in Amacuapa and Bebedero(15 min away by pick up), went to the Amacuapa, Bebedero, and San Antonio schools(there is one school per village), and visited and went to Bible studies in three villages.

Before lunch we worked for 5-6 hours alongside the hondurans helping build their houses, mix and lay concrete floors, build latrines, make the windows of the church more secure, build benches with backs for the church, and get raw materials from the river such as rocks, sifted and unsifted sand. After lunch, we had a few hours to ourselves to take a nap in a hammock, go to the river to swim, bathe , and wash clothes on a rock, introduce volleyball to hondurans, or practice your Spanish by chatting with the apprentices or the 10-20 curious kids that followed us around. At 3 or 4 in the afternoon, we would visit a school to teach English, play games and donate school supplies, visit houses and get to know the people we were working with in the mornings and have a Bible study if they wanted.

We spent a day in Catacamas with a trip to Boqueron to swim in the ice cold spring water running from the old volcano, and a day in Teguc shopping-we stayed at the Grenada for two nights. Between Catacamas and Teguc, we visited the Juticalpa Church of Christ-considerably larger than Amacuapa's.

When we arrived in Teguc on May 12 at noon, we still had 6 or 7 hour drive to Amacuapa. The roads were paved for a while, but most of the way was dusty roads filled with potholes. We forged a rather deep river on the way, also. By the end of the trip I could relate to being covered in dust-even in my eyebrows and waist length hair. The cotton ball I cleaned my face with came out black-no exaggeration. Running water had just come to town, but with little pressure and the demand(population) grew so much between the time they started and finished that there are frequent breaks in the pipes. I got used to the layer of dust, cockroaches, latrines, and toilet paper thing in hours and had a wonderful two weeks. The people are incredibly nice. We were always welcomed in with a smile and fed coffee or what small amount of food they could give. The dust, bugs, pulperias, and pilas you wrote about reminded me of my experience. Maybe I can stay longer next time. I know my heart will always be there in that beautiful place. I enjoyed the chance to live as they do to some extent and live in their type of house. I treasure my pictures of the village from the top of a small hill with mountains in the background. I will cherish the nights I spent on those hills with friends looking at the wide expanse we are deprived of in American cities.

--Jennifer -


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