UofM Rotaract Helping Kids in Honduras

The University of Michigan Rotaract Club spent their Spring Break volunteering with Honduras Child Alliance (HCA), in El Porvenir, Honduras, for the second year in a row. With only a week to help HCA prepare a newly acquired building to be used as a school house for children in the area, the team quickly got to work, mixing concrete, painting walls, and building relationships with locals and other volunteers.

The HCA building “before”
Plans to fix up the HCA building.

Mixing nearly one thousand pounds of cement may seem daunting at first, but with 15 eager U of M students taking half hour shifts the work became easy. After hands were blistered and necks were sunburnt, the team walked away having poured two new walkways for the school. These walkways become essential during rainy season, when water levels can be a barrier for students making it to school safely.

Hayden Graves, Joe Emrick, and Sam Talsma mixing concrete.
Working hard laying concrete.

Showcasing not only physical strength but also artistic skill, the U of M team was able to paint the entire building and surrounding walls as well as a new mural for students and teachers alike to enjoy for many years to come. Multiple coats of paint are used so that the building is protected from water damage and the sun, ensuring it’s usable for a lifetime.

 

Walker Young, painting a new sign.
Putting finishing touches on the outside of the building.

Spending a week with HCA allowed U of M students to see what it might be like to volunteer with HCA for longer periods of time, giving them a chance to meet, mingle, and get to know the long term volunteers and staff. This inspired current Vice President of Rotaract, Zoë Anderson, to spend her entire summer volunteering with HCA. In addition to this sneak peak of long term volunteer lifestyle, spending their Spring Break with HCA allowed U of M students to discuss current events, world politics, and cultural differences with the people of El Porvenir and the other HCA volunteers, creating an atmosphere of curiosity and respect, ultimately leaving all parties involved more culturally educated, sensitive, and equipped to have difficult and eye opening discussions upon returning home.

 

Top row, left to right: Walker Young, Kaitlyn Colyer, Hayden Graves, Sam Talsma, Alex Forrest, Luis Orozco, Joe Emrick
Bottom row: Ayako Tischler, Avery Fessenden, Savannah Demil, Julia Kwapiszewski, Jeanie Tan Yi, Emily Albright, Kendall Wickstrom.
Not pictured: Kaitlin Hermanson

 

 

Thanks to generous donations from the Ann Arbor Rotary Club and fundraising efforts of the University of Michigan Rotaract Club, this relationship with HCA has been able to grow and strengthen, creating broader impact and a stronger sense of service for all those involved.

The finished product!

See below a video journal from the trip:

 

Learn more about the incredible work that HCA does and see how you can make a difference from near or far on their website.

Check out the University of Michigan’s Rotaract Club and their new website to see how you can get involved.

By Sam Talsma, University of Michigan Rotaract Club International Trip Chair