A lesson from Honduras

Published 8:53 pm Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A recent article on our Faith & Family page described the lengths to which people who live in a remote village in Central America are willing to go to give their children an education. It was an inspiring tale that shames us here in America for our sense of entitlement.

People in the Honduran village where former West End Baptist Church member H.R. Gray has retired want a school for the 36 children who live there so badly that they’re willing to build it by hand. They’ve used handcarts to deliver many of the materials, including a load of sand from a dump truck that couldn’t make it to the village on the substandard road. The men cleared the land with hand tools and searched the area around the village for the stones that would be used in the school’s foundation.

A teacher who has been hired to run the new school once it’s built was so eager to get started that she began holding classes for 25 of the students in an 8-by-12-foot home with a dirt floor. When they’re not in school or at home, many of the children spend their free time watching the men of the village build their new school.

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A donation of land by a fellow villager and the promise of an $8,000 donation from West End Baptist Church, here in Suffolk, was all the encouragement the folks in the village needed to get started on their project.

There were no angry meetings over the school’s location. There were no worried cries of opposition to the design of the school or the materials that would be used. No one complained that it would have fewer computers than schools in other parts of the country.

Indeed, both parents and children in the village exhibited a fervent belief that this new school would provide new and wonderful opportunities — so much so, in fact, that they’re willing to dedicate their own sweat and their own property to make the dream come true. There is no sense of entitlement among them. But there is a clear sense of gratitude for the opportunity that lies before them.

In this land of guaranteed public education, where so many students and parents alike take the gift for granted, such attitudes seem almost an alien concept. Much to our shame. Though it might seem surprising, it would seem that we have something important to learn from the people of a remote village in Central America, after all.