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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Rebuilding continues in Honduras

A chain of people passed 400 concrete blocks down a trash-strewn dirt street to where Nina Hernandez's home once stood in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

Disaster recovery can take years, as many are finding one year after Hurricane Mitch. Hernandez's home was washed away. So was her sewing machine, which she'd used to support her family by making clothes to sell. Thanks to students from Wartburg College, Waverly, Iowa, Hernandez is rebuilding her home and life much sooner.

Through a program of Church World Service and the Christian Commission of Development, Wartburg students and faculty dug trenches, poured concrete foundations and erected walls for Hernandez's home. The students also gathered neighborhood children for songs and games during breaks.

"This will be a beautiful home for my mother and myself," said Hernandez, who hopes to find a job in a clothing factory when her house is completed.

"All stereotypes of poverty went out the window for me," said student Emily Decker. "[The Honduran people's] faith is an example for all of us. I've learned that the less people have, the more generous they are at sharing."

As world attention shifts to other crises, the students expressed concern for sustaining public interest in the rebuilding efforts, which could take another two years. They plan a future trip to Honduras to continue the work.


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