Sustainable Housing Project

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Help build the dream for a family.

Many of the most basic human needs may be at least partially met when a family has a dignified house in which to live.

Vidal's old house.
Some of our neighbors in Choluteca, Honduras live under leaky roofs in houses that do not provide security from the weather let alone protection from outsiders who might want to harm them. They do not provide a place where the family can sit together for a meal or where they can find privacy when they want to be alone. Children do not have a place to study when they come home from school. Parents can not expect a place to come home and relax when they get off from work. Trying to meet the needs for shelter, security and self-esteem consume a large part of their efforts.

I think that I will forever have the vivid memory of going to visit Vidal's family after we learned that
one of the children was ill. It had rained all night. As we stood off at a distance from the house wondering how to make our way through the waters that had flooded around their house, the family came wading through the muddy water to meet us on higher ground.
Building Eva's house.
Another instance also left an impression. Eva suffers from chronic
asthma. I am convinced that she would have soon become even more critically ill if she had continued living in the conditions of a damp, smoke-filled house. Every time it rained everyone in the family would suffer through the night trying to stay dry. The dirt floors of the house ended up with puddles of water collecting from the water dripping in from above and from the water that would seep in from the surrounding ground outside the house. The only place available to do the cooking was inside the house in a homemade adobe oven. The smoke blackend the underside of the rusting tin roof was proof of the difficulty of preparing years of meals.

The Shalom Church in Choluteca has joined forces with churches and universities in the States to begin to make a positive long-term impact on the lives of several families. We started out with the goal of building one house each year. So far, for 2015, we have plans for building three new houses in Choluteca and the surrounding region.

One of the three houses will be a new model home at the vocational school. The home will be built by a team of high-school students along with help from The Ohio State University. The model home construction will serve several purposes. It will provide a valuable experience for high-school Vocational Agriculture students in Ohio to work with experts from Ohio State in designing and building the house. The house will be a model that will implement innovative construction design ideas that can be copied when we build other new homes in the future. Along with the house, the Vo-Ag students will design small animal projects and a garden space to help make the home more sustainable. The model home will be used for housing students who want to come to the school from remote areas outside the city of Choluteca.

Ohio State students have been an encouragement to us by coming and helping in various ways over the last 15 years. This year a team of Engineering students will come and build a second house in one of the villages where we work. They will be coming up with thier own design and we will be able to evaluate the positive aspects of both houses.

The Shalom church will also be involved in helping to build a house for a young couple from the church. Over the years, our church has been involved in building nine houses. Each of these houses has been an emergency relief effort. In the future, we hope to begin moving towards a sustainable model where the owners are able to pay at least a portion of the cost over a period of several years.

We are working at transitioning towards a community development model of home construction. Our goal is to design a house with locally available construction materials which will be cheaper to build than those that are presently being built. Once we have a new efficient model to offer to potential home owners, we hope to encourage community members to get involved in helping with the construction process. We are also considering options for working with a credit union that will provide long-term loans with reasonable interest rates for new home owners.

Possible Action Steps:

  • Would you like to make a donation towards helping a Honduras family have a secure home in the future? The total materials cost for a house has been about $5,500. 
  • Would you like to come work alongside our church members in the construction of a house? Contact World Gospel Mission for information on how you can join one of our construction teams. (3783 East State Road 18, Marion, Indiana 46952/ Phone: 765-664-7331)

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