Communities of Holistic Impact 3rd Trimester 2019

Year 2 of Communities of Holistic Impact (CoHI) wrapped up in November 2019. The big news of this trimester that we are pleased to share are the finalizations and inaugurations of the "Genesis Project" from each community. We first described the Genesis Projects in the First Trimester CoHi update 2019 as a challenge to each community to plan, coordinate, and execute a project utilizing only local funds and resources. We challenged them to put into practice many of the topics we covered in the first year workshops of CoHi. To recognize their local potential, resources, identify how to apply it to a local need, and execute a much-needed project in their community. The results are truly worth celebrating.

Las Lomitas

Las Lomitas Leaders

In August '19 Las Lomitas inaugurated their Genesis Project of a school fence. This came out of their desire to protect their school children(K-6) and teachers while at school due to the fact that the school is located on the main road through town.

Las Lomitas did a fundraiser selling T-Shirts with their community name/logo on it which brought in a significant amount of funds for the fencing materials. At least 40% of the local community participated by donating their manual labor to build the fence.

Local leaders readily shared how important the development process has been with us. They have focused on managing their funds well. From fundraising, to expenditures, to implementation of their project, they prioritized transparency with their community and are reaping the benefits of improved trust in addition to the physical infrastructure that they have created.

Inauguration day included a special celebration planned by and executed at the school and a lunch to follow, all provided by the community from their own project funds.

Lomas del Aguila

As usual, Lomas del Aguila took this challenge very seriously. Their Genesis Project "Cleaning Our Community" took place over several months and in several ways. Due to the widespread issue of trash and contamination in the community, they organized three clean-up campaigns - in May, July, and August, and plan to continue these campaigns indefinitely in order to maintain the community clean and healthy.

In addition, working with the local municipal government, community members installed 10 metal trash cans in public places and invested 72 days of labor in the development of a new concrete ditchline designed to divert contaminated greywater away from public areas. In addition to local municipal government involvement, Lomas del Aguila did a T-Shirt fundraiser for this project as well.

Heart to Honduras office staff, leaders from Las Lomitas and Caliche, as well as the local mayor joined the people of Lomas del Aguila for a celebration. CoHI staff were encouraged to learn how collaborative this celebration truly was, considering that family health issues had taken Dimas away from his normal, highly-proactive position. As he observed the efforts of his colleagues, he was visibly touched. School children led much of the celebration. The municipal mayor also atended the inauguration and is always happy to support local initiatives.


Caliche Leaders

In October Caliche inaugurated their Genesis Project of Road Repairs to improve transportation in and out of their town. Access is everything for some of these communities. If the roads are well maintained, the buses will come to transport people in and out for their daily activities...a full time job, continuing education, trade, doctors appointment, visiting friends and family, and supermarket purchases. More than 40 days of intense physical labor work from community members was dedicated to digging ditches to direct rain water and other runoff that will protect their road system during times of high flow.

It is beautiful to see how friendships blossom during these community projects. Restored relationships and hard work create an environment of change and progress. Representatives from a local business, Aquafinca, as well as a municipal councilman attended the inauguration as well.

Each community had a stage very well decorated for these inagurations, food to share and a very well planned program for their visitors to enjoy on this special day. They were moments to celebrate and place a marker in their minds to remember in the future when times get tough. The beautiful results of the inaugurations of these projects allow us to see some of the fruit of these 2 years of formation in the lives of these communities. Some of the inauguration programs even included skits put on by community members about the importance of team work and unity.

This cohort of three communities has truly become a source of positive social pressure to continue to improve, as well as a much needed source of mutual encouragement. We have been uplifted to watch suspicious observation of one another turn into smiles, back slaps, hugs, and deep conversation over the past two years. Communities tackle their issues in community. They grow in community. And many times, that community is found outside of their geographical borders.

All three communities share a meal in Caliche with local government, HTH, and one another.

November Workshop

In November, all three communities gathered in Santa Elena for a final workshop focused on "Holistic Project Management." This workshop distinguished between traditional methods of raising funds and managing project resources and a holistic approach that considers all manner of resources and where they might come from.

In addition to the actual training sessions, community leaders worked to "carry their community together" by tenuously balancing a ball on strings held by each member and then reflect on the activities application to community development.

Leaders stated "when you carry a community you need to: coordinate, balance, have everyone participate, recognize that for some it may be harder than others, look for new ways to do things when something is not working, listen to one another, not get frustrated, when someone drops the ball - you have to keep picking it up and trying again."

During the workshop community participants were also awarded certificates for their two years of faithful service to their communities and commitment to the CoHI program. Together each community also took time to reflect over the most beneficial aspects of their time in the program thus far, and to make recommendations for future improvements to the program. This feedback is very valuable to our team as we look to make this program the most effective possible.

As we finalized the session, community teams took turns sharing project ideas that fit into each of the four "holistic areas" of life in their towns and shared in what areas they had grown the most and what areas that there was still room for growth. These moments of public reflection are always encouraging. In them, we witness community leaders that previously could not even define holistic growth, stand before a large group of people and communicate some very profound insights into how their community is or is not growing and why that might be.

Finally, as we prepared to go, a couple of community leaders (spontaneously) stood up to share some parting thoughts on the year. They were very moving and worth sharing.

Pastora Jesus from Caliche shared how, before this program began, she was always embarrassed and shy to speak before community leaders - afraid that someone might laugh at her. Through this program, she shared that she now feels that she has a place at the table and something worth sharing.
Dimas from Lomas del Aguila wanted everyone to know that after they began to implement the recommendations from the "How to lead a quality community meeting" workshop, their attendance rose from an average of around 30 people to more than 60 in each community assembly!

These stories and testimonies indicate the type and depth of development that is happening in these communities. We continue to proudly stand beside these local servants as they seek holistic development in their communities. We are excited to see what Year 3 brings.

Two great years in CoHI!

Thank you to all of you who stay up to date, pray and give to make this CoHi initiative possible!

A special thanks to our US HTH Partners in Transformation that give financially to make “Communities of Holistic Impact” possible!

Upper Arlington Lutheran Church in Columbus, OH

Canonsburg United Presbyterian Church in Canonsburg, PA

Bayside Community Church of God in Safety Harbor, FL