Forty trips later, Leonard and Lottie Brown have a lot of stories to tell – like the one about the summer of 1993 when Leonard took his first group of Wittenberg student interns to the impoverished Central American nation. Over winter break that same year the couple assisted a Habitat for Humanity work team.
Since their retirement in 1998, the Browns’ commitment to the people of Honduras has continued. It will be the subject of a Department of Geography colloquium presentation titled “Integrative and Participatory Development in Honduras” at 4 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 29, in 115 Carnegie Hall.
The challenges of life in remote regions of a developing country, including a lack of electricity until 1998, unsanitary water piped into their home and traveling roads that are only passable with four-wheel drive vehicles to get to a mountain village school, pale next to the challenges of obtaining funds to successfully continue programs they have started.
An increased interest in education by the Honduran people remains the most rewarding change the Browns have both witnessed and helped to generate.
“We have facilitated a scholarship program for ‘young ladies’ to go to junior high and high school,” Brown said. “We also developed a lending library system for rural schools with 73 boxes of 50 books each.”
Their involvement with the people of Honduras has evolved from being visitors, with a primary interest in collecting information for courses and helping with various parts of a development program, to accepting the responsibility for providing funding and directing some specific programs such as an “Educational Center” constructed and furnished for some 26 students in a little mountain village.
“We have become friends and family to many,” Brown said. “We now have electricity, computer and Internet connection, and we are teaching the students how to increase their knowledge using a computer.”
Since 1998, the couple has returned to Honduras two or three times each year, normally spending one-to-three months for a total of six months a year in the country.
Written By: Phyllis Eberts
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