People in Hondurans depend on their animals for livelihood, and Bill saw lots of problems. His initial effort focused on eliminating rabies in the area. The effort continued with preventative vaccinations and parasite control. Eventually, he took teams of veterinarians and laypeople from around the world on annual trips to vaccinate animals. Thirty years later, thousands of volunteers have participated in vaccinating tens of thousands of animals. The program grew to include teaching programs. Volunteers on the public health teams eventually worked in the schools.
A program like this doesn’t just involve Americans showing up once each year; people from other countries participate as volunteers, and a large group of Honduran people and organizations grew to support the effort.
In the early years, support from the Episcopal Church of Honduras was essential. Oscar Ochoa Mendoza rose as an Honduran partner in ministry. He facilitates the paperwork needed by the government and coordinates housing, meals, transportation, and much more. In years that followed, Oscar brought in the coffee and vegetable co-op, Cafe CorHorSil, to provide logistical support – transportation, storage, and security. Josefina Gross Echeverria was and is a major force in this ministry. She provided important early support of the public health teams and helped direct the work in building a model school at Santa Rosita. Dr. Oscar Gross is the in-country physician who provides necessary medical support, coordination with the government, developing relationships with local people, and was an integral part of building a new, state of the art birthing center for the poorest of the poor. The local military and city officials have helped with shipments, logistical support and hosted fiestas for the team and recognized their contributions. The local school system is a partner in all the public health work that has grown to include vision clinics and another mission, The Owen Project. The local government and businesses go out of their way to support the teams. There are hundreds of ordinary mountain people who participate with hands on work and joyful generosity of heart.
This mission may come from the United States, but it arrives in Honduras to the welcoming arms of people and organizations who have paved the way for the volunteers to go to work.
To learn more visit – http://lovehonduras.org