Peacebuilding en Las Américas

Peace Baskets and Hurricane Relief

by Monica Maher 

In Central America, still reeling from Hurricanes Eta and Iota, the Caravan of an estimated 5,000 people from Honduras was stopped in Guatemala by brutal police repression; the desperation to migrate is driven by increasing poverty which now affects a shocking 70% of the Honduran population, with 45% living in extreme poverty.

In the face of such challenges, our Peacebuilding en las Américas (PLA) partners continue with amazing stamina and dedication.  The Peace Basket Project and Hurricane relief efforts advance, community gardens expand and Alternatives to Violence (AVP) online workshops proliferate, creating ripples of resilience and hope from individuals to families to neighborhoods to transnational communities.
In Honduras, shelters took in 37,000 people in Honduras made homeless by the hurricanes, while  many others went to live in make-shift tents on the streets or under bridges. Ondina Murillo of the Mennonite Church delivered Peace Baskets of food and hygiene items to 13 families who lost everything in San Pedro Sula and to seven families who live along the river’s edge of La Ceiba.  She also provided construction materials to four families in La Ceiba to rebuild their roofs.  Finally, she reached out to homeless families in San Pedro Sula with used clothing, as well as new mattresses, chairs, cleaning supplies, stoves and kitchen utensils.  In all, 28 families benefitted.
The Mencia Dubón family responded:  “We want to thank you for not leaving us alone in these difficult moments; your donation brought great joy to our family since we had to leave our house with empty hands.  Upon receiving your donation, we became motivated to return to our house and begin again, because before we had nothing, absolutely nothing to return with.  We are enormously grateful. May God repay you.“
In Guatemala, Lorena Escobar provided stoves and ponchos to 50 families made homeless by the hurricanes in the community of Limón in Chisec, Alta Verapáz.   She also delivered Peace Baskets of basic food stuffs and messages of peace to 30 families suffering from the hunger pandemic in Amatitlán, just outside Guatemala City.