Brookings residents Tim Stadelman and Valerie Cowan of Star of the Sea Catholic Church recently arrived home from a nine day mission trip to Honduras.
Both have made trips to Central America every year, some years with a group. This year, Stadelman and Cowan helped a private school repaint a van, set up a computer lab and open a school.
The Fundamental Caminando Por La Paz, Iglesia Catolica program owns a Toyota van that looks similar to those used by a private transportation bus service.
Presently, this company and a competing company have been feuding to the point that drivers have been killed, Stadelman said.
To prevent the van from being misidentified, a group sanded off all the old letters and painted new ones.
"Many of the kids and adults in this community believe this level of violence is normal," Stadelman said. "This is why we keep returning. Our small program is making a difference."
A computer lab not only was built for students, but for the adults in the community. For some this will be the first time they have ever used a computer. As in the U.S., these skills make a real difference in getting a good job.
"This year we opened a two-room school for our 25 seventh graders," Stadelman said. "Next year we will have two more classrooms, with help from the local Catholic church."
This year, the projects were made possible thanks to the help of Chetco Federal Credit Union, Northest Technical Services, Fred Meyer and Brookings Electronics.
"Although our program is small, it is making a big difference in one neighborhood in Honduras," Stadelman said.
Members of the community who would like to sponsor a child or help with school costs may contact Stadelman at 541-469-4385 or Cowan at 541-469-9238.