The new year brought a new assignment for the Westras. We moved to Yoro, Honduras in the middle of January. Yoro and its surrounding communities have a population of approximately 40,000. It lies 7 hours from Tegucigalpa and 2 ½ hours east of San Pedro Sula.
We loved living in Valle de Angeles, just outside of Tegucigalpa. Valle de Angeles is a much smaller community than Yoro. Global Ministries received a request from its partner, The Evangelical and Reformed Church of Honduras, for us to assist in a larger context at their vocational education facility, The Center for Vocational Education and Evangelical Reformed "Dr. Ned Van Steenwyk" (C.E.V.E.R.) in Yoro. We hated to leave our safe little community, but as before we seem to grow where we are planted. After a few weeks of living in Yoro, we find that the people are helpful and friendly. The weather is mild and pleasant although we are told that it will get much hotter February through May. An air conditioner is certainly in our future. We’ve never needed one before living on the lake in Minnesota.
CEVER is an educational nonprofit institution that prepares students aged 14 to 30 in various technical areas. CEVER offers classes in machining, automotive repair, welding, woodworking, cosmetology, culinary arts, computer application, and others. Conventional high school classes are also offered.
Maryjane and I are working with the administration to develop new programs and a new income stream. Historically, the school has been supported through government grants and donations from churches as well as tuition and fees. Since the economic downturn, the government subsidies and donations have almost entirely stopped. The E & R Church is still supporting the school, but it is difficult.
We are building a program to sell the services of the school to the public. Services such as machining, automotive repair, welding, and furniture making will be offered as well as hair dressing and food service. We will soon begin selling pizza by the slice in the central park and offering the culinary school and restaurant for weddings, banquets, quinceañeras, etc. Our goal is to develop a sustainability program for the school while simultaneously exposing the students to real life learning situations that include customer service and customer interaction.
Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we settle into our new normal.
Don Westra serves in Honduras assigned to the Christian Commission for Development (CCD). Don's appointment is supported by One Great Hour of Sharing, Our Churches Wider Mission, Disciples Mission Fund and your special gifts.