The island of Helene is part of Roatan but is separated by a narrow mangrove channel. The only way to get there is by boat. Once on the island there are no roads or cars, only walking paths. The homes have no running water and up until a year ago there was no source of water on the island. Since then a well has been drilled giving the people a source for fresh water. There is no electricity at all, anywhere. Anything powered is run by a generator. You may wonder, what’s so special about this place; I think it is the people. They are the happiest, most grateful generous people I’ve met in a long time. The woman who requested desks for Helene is Darla and I got to meet her and her daughter on Sunday also. She is from Helene and teaches on the island but lives on Roatan. In other words, she spends weekends on Roa w/ her husband and daughter but during the week she and her daughter live with her family on the North shore of Helene. She walks over the mountain every day to teach. The other ladies we met brought us chairs to sit in, cake, drink, they hugged and kissed us and thanked us many times. It really meant something to them that we were trying to help. It is hard to believe that a government has no interest in the school system, that there is no money allotted for furniture or books or teaching materials. It’s like the teachers are told, here’s the classroom, there are no supplies or desks for the kids to sit on but make it work. Education DOES NOT MATTER IN HONDURAS. It is not a priority.
Sunday morning we were delivering the rest of the desks that were finished to Helene. I left the house @ 8 and met Nidia and Linda and Janisha at Oak Ridge. I finally got to meet my friend Linda. We have been FB friends for awhile so it was nice to meet. Linda is the awesome lady who paid for the desks that we delivered a while ago to the kindergarten near us. This trip down here Linda brought bags of school supplies! We had to wait for Kiveth to come with the boat. Once he arrived around 9:15 AM we loaded the boat, got fuel and headed to Helene. It was a nice day on the water, the seas were pretty calm.
We got to Helene, carried the desks and school supplies that Linda brought with her up to the school. Luckily there were some students to carry most of the desks, it’s a dirt path up a hill to the school.
After I took photos of all the name plates we walked down into the village and hung out. The kids were playing Dominoes and it seemed like quite a serious game! I don’t think you could go anywhere in the US and actually see a Dominoes game going on!
After sitting there for a little while watching the kids play and the intense domino game, Darla and Nidia decided we would walk to the other side of the island. I honestly envisioned myself crawling up the side of a mountain on my hands and knees, blood running down my legs, scorpions in my hair, the whole drama scene. I was sure I needed a machete!
We set off for the “other side of the island.” They CLAIMED it would only take 15-20 minutes, taking into consideration that everything runs on island time, 3 days to get there. We walked back up the hill to the school, I was out of breath already but I persevered. It was either that or hang with the kid and his BOA. Onward.
Before leaving the village we passed a mango tree, absolutely laden with fruit. Nidia asked for permission (always ask, it is not your tree and since you asked, they will say yes) to pick a mango. Janisha went in the restaurant and got salt and pepper on a piece of foil to dip it in and she and Nidia ate the mango while walking over the
Himalayas hill. Next we came upon a cashew tree, it had so much fruit and they smelled so good. Once they get over ripe the smell is not that pleasant. The fruit of the cashew can be eaten but the nut on the end must first be processed before you can eat it. It is quite a time consuming process, hence the cost of cashews.
The above photo is why I live here. I love the colors of the sea, they just make me happy. I’ve always wanted to live on an island and being surrounded by this water all day every day is a dream come true.
After we walked around and looked at the stunningly gorgeous waterfront we decided to head back OVER THE MOUNTAIN. It seemed shorter on the way back, but just as hilly. On the way we saw several pineapple plants, one had fruit.
We hung around in the village awhile longer. When Kiveth came he was talking to some guys who were fishing and they had lobster and lion fish for sale. The lion fish looked pretty good size. But, eww, fish.
It was a long day with wonderful people, I’m so glad I went along. Meeting the people of Helene and seeing how grateful they are for everything you do for them makes this all more than worthwhile. I went home that day, hot and sweaty, my hair was a tangled rats nest and my skin was parched from the sun and the salt air.
What a wonderful way to spend a day, I love this island life!
Great post! It is a shame the government doesn’t make education a priority or even attempt to help these people. Bless you heart and Nidia for all that you do!
Like someone said, if education were a priority all the bad government people would be thrown out of their jobs and the well educated socially responsible people would take over. Education will never be a priority unless there are huge changes in the government.
Bless you for all that you do for the people there. It is indeed a magical place. In Miami dominos is very popular with the Cuban population, as is chess. You can see them at tables at outdoor restaurants and in parks playing both. We are now headed east for the next 15 or so months. I already miss San Felipe. Be safe enjoy your life.
Thank you Walt and thank you for helping out. The best part of all that we do is meeting these awesome people who live in the small villages and have happy fulfilling lives bare of all the things that make people in the US happy. Simple happy gracious people.
Great memories of a great day, as I’m working on downloading my pics as well. I already can’t wait to return!