Students head to Honduras during the holidays

A cross in HondurasTen Wake Forest University students will share the holiday spirit by spending a week volunteering in Honduras.

As part of the Honduras Outreach Project and Exchange (H.O.P.E) Scholars Program, the students and one faculty leader will depart for Honduras from Raleigh-Durham International Airport on the morning of Jan. 3. They will travel to the Agalta Valley, a remote mountainous region with an average annual family income of $400. Working beside the villagers, the students will help the Hondurans dig latrines, build additions to houses, repair roads and assist with other projects.

The students will return on Jan. 10, in time to begin spring semester classes.

This is the third year a Wake Forest group will go to Honduras during the holiday break. Cynthia Sheek, a senior from Davidson, N.C., and the student leader of this year’s group, also went to Honduras last year. During that trip, the students helped the Hondurans to rebuild homes destroyed by Hurricane Mitch.

To prepare for this trip, the group has met weekly since August. Various faculty members have led sessions on different aspects of Honduran life and culture, conversational Spanish and other relevant topics.

The purpose of this trip is to “work in conjunction with people of all faiths and in partnership with the people of Honduras to improve the quality of life of those living in the Agalta Valley,” according to Sheek.

Paige Wilbanks, Wake Forest’s coordinator of volunteer services, said, “Through this experience, students will return to the United States with a greater understanding of poverty and Third World culture.”

The project is supported by the Wake Wake Forest Fund for Ethics and Leadership, the same fund that provides support for Wake Forest’s international service trips to Calcutta. The service trip is coordinated with Honduras Outreach, Inc.

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