Honduras trip raises poverty awareness among students

By Katherine Brachelli
March 29, 2007

Lauren Peters

Stepping off the plane and nervous to be in a third world country, junior accounting and Spanish minor Lauren Peters, eagerly awaited visiting the villages of Honduras. No television, no radio and cold showers, a common lifestyle of the people living in Honduras are used to, were just some of the living conditions that Peters was going to be facing.

With the intention of being educated on the issues of hunger and poverty, with Heifer International, Peters was able to witness a firsthand account of how people in third world countries, such as Honduras live their everyday lives.

Honduras is the second poorest country in Central America and one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere with 53% of the population living below the poverty line, according to cia.gov.

“Poverty and hunger is so prevalent it is really saddening to see it in real life,” Peters said.

Peters said that it was her grandmother who made her gain interest and want to take part in the trip, because her grandmother buys a cow every Christmas through Heifer International.

Heifer International is a non-profit organization whose goal is to end hunger and poverty by providing families with livestock, establishing a renewable source of food and income with milk from a cow or goat, eggs from poultry, meat from rabbits or wool from llamas.

Ann Servey, associate professor of accounting and host of the social justice trip, said, “Heifer’s goal is sustainable development by empowering those in need to break the circle of poverty.”

After witnessing Heifer International work with the people of Honduras, sophomore accounting major Rick Marx, said, “It definitely was a hand up, instead of a hand out.”

While in Honduras, the students had the opportunity to become more educated on the issue of poverty by visiting the Heifer offices, listening to a human rights advocate, participating in a housing project in a Mayan village and spending time at a boys’ residential school.

It was not until Peters was taken around the country and shown some of the sites that her premature feelings of nervousness faded. Peters admitted that after seeing the conditions of the villages in Honduras her perspective on life has changed drastically.

In addition to Peters and Marx, two other Cabrini students gave up their spring break from February 24 to March 4, to be educated on the issues of hunger and poverty. Senior accounting major Josh Lange and sophomore marketing major Mike Orloski, were the additional participants with the Heifer International Study Tour to Honduras.

Peters said the most influential experience was being with the children, because they know no other way of life and they have no knowledge of how the rest of the world lives.

Every year more than 10 million children die of hunger and preventable diseases, over 30,000 per day and one every 3 seconds, according to bread.org.

Peters no longer takes the simplest things for granted such as hot water. She even noticed that after being in Honduras she had made minor adjustments to her lifestyle like not leaving the lights on when not needed, and not leaving the water on while she brushes her teeth.

“Showering in cold water was hard for me, but to the people of Honduras it is just a way of life,” Peters said.

Now Peters and Marx are focusing on trying to spread the word about Heifer and make sure that people realize that there is more to this world than just material things and money.

“I would definitely do it again,” said Marx.

“It was an experience I’ll never be able to forget, to see the people and just experience their way of life was an eye opening experience to say the least,” Peters said.

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Katherine Brachelli

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