Peacebuilding en Las Américas

Peace Baskets Honduras: Hunger for Food, Peace, and Hope

by Ondina Murillo, PLA Coordinator in Honduras

This year has surprised us with the arrival of Covid 19. Little by little, the effects of this pandemic that has plagued the entire world have been felt. In addition to health complications, many have lost their jobs, businesses, and family members. Some have seen the deteriorated interpersonal relationships and had their homes destroyed by the violence generated by being locked up without the basic necessities of daily living. People organize to go out to protest the lack of the basics to support their families (food, toiletries and medicines). There is a hunger for food, for peace, for hope. The government responds to the need of the people with repression and bullets.

With the Peace Basket PAN/PAV (Bread/Peace) project, it was proposed to respond differently to the violence that Covid 19 has brought. This project has already benefited 10 facilitators deprived of liberty in the El Porvenir National Penitentiary and the Ingles neighborhood prison in the city of La Ceiba Honduras. Additionally, 20 families with greater poverty were identified due to their need because they lost their jobs or their informal economy in neighborhoods of La Ceiba. These families were identified through phone calls.

With the delivery of basic baskets, we achieved our goal of helping families in need. In addition to food, we offered a message of peace and words of motivation that are so necessary in this darkness that the virus has brought. The participants in this project continue to be encouraged to be agents of peace in their contexts.

Preparation of the information to be shared with the basket.

Knowing that the need goes beyond bread for the body, we also tried to respond to the emotional and spiritual need. With this idea and with the help of my family and colleagues like Vilma Vida, Lorena Luciérnaga and her husband Carlos, Persistent Patricia, two pamphlets were designed with interesting information about the Alternatives to Violence Project including useful tools for managing emotions and some alternatives to useful violence at this time where people are forced to stay longer as a family. A story was also shared where two friends who had lost hope in their life and a stranger brought them back to their spirits and the desire to continue their project and even be able to encourage others.

Budgeting and quotation of products.

The budget was prepared based on $30.00 U.S. dollars per basket that included basic necessities. With this budget, we proceeded to quote prices by phone at different providers.

Purchase of products.

With the help of private and specialized transportation with safe-conduct plus a letter authorized by the Peacebuilding en Las Americas coordinator, Mónica Maher, we spent two days visiting and purchasing the products from the listed suppliers. This activity was a bit complicated due to the long lines that are made keeping a meter or more of social distance to enter a public place.

With the products purchased and brought home, they were disinfected with water and a chlorine solution, which is recommended by the health authorities. Immediately after, with the help of my family, we formed each of the baskets, managing to organize thirty-two baskets that were distributed among the same number of families and prisoners.

Products contained in the basket.

The best prices in the city were obtained because we searched  in different sales centers. We created a basket made up of various basic products that are typical in the Honduran diet such as: Rice, beans, cornmeal, sugar, coffee, oil, powdered milk, fruits, garlic, cheese, butter, chicken, and eggs. We also included cleaning products such as: chlorine, laundry powder, bath soap, laundry soap, and in some cases of two older adults who have seriously health problems (cancer, diabetes), we included corn flaks, granola, fruit and medicine. The inmates’ basket contained personal care items such as: deodorant, bath soap and laundry soap, detergent powder, toothpaste and toothbrush, hair care cream, toilet paper, bleach, biscuits, sugar and oatmeal.

Distribution or delivery of the baskets.

The delivery of the baskets was made in parts according to the coinciding places on the same route. it took three days for delivery to the city. A facilitator was assisted in one part of the delivery. Each person received a pamphlet along with the basket, oral and written information about the program, they were also encouraged to share the tools it contains with others.

PLA is now receiving contributions for the Peace Baskets Project – PAN PAV. Our immediate goal is to raise $5,000. All donations welcome.

We are available to offer virtual presentations for your Meeting or group with our Latin American partners; if interested, please contact us to arrange:

To donate, you can send a check to the following address: Friends Peace Teams 1001 Park Ave. Saint Louis, MO 63104-3720, (314) 588-1122 or donate online.  Please be sure to indicate Peacebuilding en las Américas when donating! Thank you.

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