Bringing Hope and Encouragement After Hurricanes Eta and Iota
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” ― Margaret Mead
On November 3rd, Hurricane Eta a category 4 storm triggered major flooding and mudslides in Honduras and Guatemala. The wind and flooding have destroyed businesses, homes, and about 60 people have died as a result. Many of our staff and the families that we serve have been affected. Several have lost their homes and all their belongings.
Two weeks later Hurricane Iota, this time a category 5 storm made landfall in the same area as Hurricane Eta, bringing additional flooding to areas already affected. Given the saturation from previous rains, this storm caused even more destruction to already devastated families.
Our executive director in Honduras who lives in San Pedro Sula is personally assessing the damage and needs of our staff members, and those of the families we serve.
Thanks to generous donations made specifically for this disaster relief, Mentors International is present today helping provide the immediate temporal relief of replacing everyday items. Mentors International will still be there during the long-term recovery support. Through our mentoring, entrepreneurial and business development training, vocational classes, and micro-loans we will help support these communities recover and help these families improve their own economies. Mentors International has been serving in Honduras since 2004.
Last weekend mentors, teachers, students, volunteers, church groups, and community members came together united in the same cause. Uplifting families that have lost everything in these recent floods. They served in the Sector Planeta area where all of the homes were flooded several times during this two-week period that Hurricanes Eta and Iota hit. A wonderful spirit of collaboration was felt as bucket by bucket mud was taken out of these homes.
A former Stake President in Honduras compared this service event to the account when President Brigham Young said; “Go bring them in from the plains.” This former Stake President encouraged everyone to, “Help these families stand once again.”
For the first time in five weeks, Elia Cuellar (pictured above in the pink shirt on the left) was able to step foot in her home. Two feet of heavy, smelly, contaminated mud filled her house. All of her furniture was rotten. Memories, pictures, albums, books, clothes, everything was destroyed.
José, (pictured above) is a student of Mentors International, and part of this army of volunteers spent about three hours just walking the three kilometers to get to these flooded homes. Loaded with tools, they walked on roads with mud up to their knees. There were many hazards with broken glass and sharp debris, invisible and dangerous holes, and the smell of death and decomposition. José said, “I felt that I was short of breath and didn’t know if I had the strength to keep walking, but I am very happy to know that we helped those who lost everything. I thank God for being able to serve, even if it is just a little to those who need it the most.”
Tania and Maria
Tania and her mother Maria didn’t know what to do when they first saw their home. “Then a group arrived wanting to help us. They were strangers, but soon it felt as if we had been good friends of many years. I don’t know how I can thank them for what they did for us. Alleviating our grief, and bringing us hope.
Tania is pictured with her mother María at the far right in the back.
Senobia, (in the pick shirt taking the selfie) is receiving vocational training through our Center for Education and Mentoring as part of her Service Currency hours joined in this service project. She shared with us, “Venimos al mundo a servir a otros. Dios bendice a personas específicas a través de personas específicas.” “We come into the world to serve others. God blesses specific people through specific people.”