Doctor Paves Way to Brighter Future for Honduras Families
COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Sept. 8, 2016) For eight destitute families in the small village of Tela, Honduras, "progress" means losing their homes for a multi-lane highway.
Because they don't legally own their homes, they risk being evicted within a few months as construction on the new road begins. But thanks to a caring Greenwich, Conn., doctor, hope is on the horizon.
For years, Dr. Claire Esposito has assisted these families with food, medical supplies, clothing and other essentials. She recently provided a generous donation to Food For The Poor to build safe, secure homes for the eight families on land donated by the municipality, plus six other families not impacted by the road project.
The homes will be built as part of a larger community development project that will give people access to clean water, install solar-powered lights that will illuminate the new homes and include ports for charging small electronic devices, and plant gardens to provide each home with vegetables and herbs.
In Tela, women and children have to travel long distances to rivers and streams to collect water to drink. Most local water sources are contaminated with waste and chemicals from nearby plantations, causing high rates of water-borne illnesses. Families often suffer from respiratory ailments due to smoke from indoor cooking.
Each concrete block home will have a kitchen, front porch, windows, a bathroom, concrete floors and a sturdy zinc roof. The homes also will be equipped with an environmentally friendly eco-stove and a water purification unit. All 14 families also will receive 100 pounds of rice to sustain their families for a year.
Esposito's love for the poorest of the poor in Honduras started 25 years ago when she was a student at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in Manhattan. She was given a three-month fellowship to Las Crucitas, a mountainside community in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Her assignment was to study and write a report on the people living in a community virtually devoid of all modern medicine.
"Little did I realize the trip would mark the beginning of a lifelong commitment to improving the neglected and disenfranchised forgotten people of remote, rural Honduras," Esposito said in an interview after returning from her most recent visit to the country with Food For The Poor in July.
Initially, Esposito sent large containers of toys and clothing. But she saw the people had much greater needs for food and medicine.
As her anesthesiology practice grew, so did her projects in Honduras. She purchased a beach house on the country's north coast and for 12 years it became a headquarters for mission trips she led to the local hospital. Her porch often served as a waiting room where visiting doctors, nurses and dentists served up to 100 patients a day.
Esposito's path crossed with Food For The Poor when she saw the charity's name on a water tower in the country. With families soon to be uprooted for a highway project, time was running out. When she learned Food For The Poor builds homes, Esposito provided the funds necessary for the charity to help secure a brighter future for those families.
"My money can go so much farther with Food For The Poor. They have a proven track record of what works and what doesn't work. They can do things on a scale I can't," Esposito said.
CEPUDO, Food For The Poor's partner in Honduras, is overseeing the implementation of the project in Tela and providing training to the families on how to maintain and use the eco-stoves.
"These people are in shock. They are in complete disbelief they are going to have a house. They won't get wet every time it rains. They're going to live like other people," Esposito said.
Food For The Poor began serving in Honduras in 1999, soon after Hurricane Mitch devastated the Central American country, and has built more than 12,000 homes to date. Because of the Honduras House Matching Program, Food For The Poor is now able to construct a double-unit house for each family selected to receive a home. This program was developed to address the critical housing shortage in Honduras. Funds are earmarked for a house match project, meaning that for each single-unit home that is funded, a double-unit home will be built.
"For generations these families in Tela have lived with the uncertainty of the changing tides and now they will have newly built homes in a nice community. There aren't enough words to express their gratitude to Dr. Claire Esposito for helping to make this dream a reality for them and the future generations to follow," said Angel Aloma, Food For The Poor's Executive Director.
Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the nation, does much more than feed millions of the hungry poor primarily in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance, with more than 95 percent of all donations going directly to programs that help the poor. For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.
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