SUYAPA, HONDURAS -- Ramón Barahona and his wife, Sonia Salquero are great farmers, parents, and community members. They live with their six children in Suyapa, Honduras. In fact, they're such exemplary farmers that they were featured in our most recent promotional video.
Recently, Ramón and Sonia lost their home in an electrical fire. Made of wood, the house burned quickly, destroying all that it contained. Luckily, nobody was home at the time. In addition to losing their home Ramón and Sonia also lost the materials they used for making and selling plantain chips--a significant part of their income.
Sustainable Harvest International field staff Consuelo, Franklin, and Oscar were passing through Suyapa when they saw the house smoking--very little of it left standing. They immediately stopped to find out what happened.
Here's what Franklin reported:
Ramón was very hurt. His voice broke at times, especially at the thought of the children that had suddenly become homeless despite all the work he and Sonia were doing to provide for them.
"Look at the innocent children," Ramón said. "They keep playing. They do not know or realize that we do not have a home anymore. How will I provide a roof for them? Where will we sleep?"
As Ramón spoke, he constantly intertwined his fingers and crossed his legs. Sitting there in the plastic chair, he watched everything that he and Sonia worked for for so many years suddenly disappear.
Sonia sat on the floor, helplessly watching her home burn. She didn't move from where she sat. She repeated, "What are we going to do? Now that we have nothing?" with a shaky voice and tears rolling down her cheeks. The children kept playing as the house burned.
Community members in Suyapa were surprised at the tragedy and its magnitude, especially for such a humble and hard-working family. Though their neighbors offered their support and promised to help however they could most families in the Suyapa area live in poverty and can't help financially, which is the kind of help that is needed most.
One week after the fire, Ramón and Sonia were celebrated along with the other families who were graduating from our 5-year program. As a stellar farmer, Ramón was asked to speak to the crowd that had gathered. Though still very enthusiastic about carrying on the work he's learned through working with our dedicated field trainers, Ramón is worried about being able to keep going with the work. Rebuilding a home is both expensive and time-consuming. In the meantime, they still need to keep tending the beautiful forest garden that provides them with plentiful food to eat and coffee to sell. Currently, they're staying at Ramón's mother's house, where all eight of them sleep on air mattresses in the living room.
The good news is that everything is going to be okay.
Because of skills learned through Sustainable Harvest International, Rámon and his family have the capacity to rebuild their home and their small business and recover from this disaster much quicker than they would have otherwise. Support is needed to meet their immediate basic needs but in the long term the family will continue to be leaders in their community.
Want to help out? You can! For this special situation, we are running a VERY SHORT campaign to help Ramón and Sonia raise part of the money they need to rebuild their home and get back on track.
Our goal is to raise $850 by July 29th to cover the cost of building materials. This is only 35% of what is needed--the rest will come from local organizations and government institutions. Members of our field staff have generously offered to help Ramón and Sonia rebuild when the time comes.
Find out more about the campaign by visiting our fundraising page. Have questions? Want to learn more about how you can help pitch in or spread the word? Shoot us an email at email@example.com.
Special thanks to Sustainable Harvest International Honduras field staff Consuelo Hernandez, Oscar Robles, Franklin Paz for their support of Ramón, Sonia, and their family. Also to Nathan Johnson of Yoveo Media for donating beautiful footage of Ramón's family for use in our campaign video.
NOTE: Our mission is to provide farming families in Central America with the training and tools to preserve tropical forests while overcoming poverty. This particular project is a special case and is not a general fundraising campaign. If we raise the $850 before July 29th, we will immediately stop the campaign.