On a Mission

Hello. I arrived safely home in the early hours of July 4th after a smooth trip. Delta tantalized me with the possibility of delaying my return for a day for a $600 voucher, plus hotel and food. Sadly, in the end they did not need my seat after all.


The story of our week in the tiny mountain village of El Playon, in the central highlands of Honduras, begins with Hurricane Mitch back in 1998. In response to the devastation then, the Maine Conference of the United Church of Christ began a relationship that continues today, the Maine Honduras Partnership with the E&R church in Honduras. Our trip was the last of many to this particular village, although work will continue in other locations. Since 2007, 15 simple but safe block homes have been constructed here.

Upon arrival, both homes were at a similar stage of construction. Most of our work involved carrying blocks, screening sand, moving dirt, and filling cracks between the blocks with cement. This home was being constructed for a young family with two small children.


For the majority of the time, I worked on the home that was much farther away, about a 3/4-mile walk through the village. Below is Juancito, a 20-year-old man with Down syndrome, whom I have known since 2008 and who will live here with his grandmother. This family exemplifies the type of situation where outright assistance is very beneficial.

Juancito worked long and hard and was always quick with a smile and a thank you.


The cinder block homes usually replace those constructed of clay and sticks, in the form of homemade bricks. With adobe brick construction, wall crevices can harbor dangerous insects like the chagus bug, which carries a potentially fatal disease. The new homes have two bedrooms, a simple bathroom with shower, kitchen, and living room. The family then adds improvements, such as a wood-fired stove, window grills, patios, and more.

The materials to replace a home cost about $4,000 and are donated by the members of the mission team. The homes being replaced are generally not as nice as this one.


Stay tuned for photos of the homes at the end of the week. I wanted to get a post up and am only about halfway through sorting through my photos.

Several men in the village are skilled masons and serve as site managers. Here Wilmer uses plumb lines and a plumb bob to level the next course of blocks. Megan and I were on the team that constructed a home for Wilmer and his family back in 2008.