Contributed Photo/Courtesy Stephanie Hoopes: Pima students give a lift to young scholars in Roatan, Honduras during a humanitarian trip.
By Jon Johnson
PIMA – After 11 days, the convoy from Pima’s humanitarian trip to Roatan, Honduras returned home Wednesday slightly beleaugered but full of accomplishment and new life experiences.
For the second year in a row, Pima schools Spanish instructor Stephanie Hoopes organized the trip to the impoverished country to deliver much-appreciated supplies and perform a service project. As in the initial year, eight students from her Spanish classes were chosen to accompany Hoopes and her family on the trip. The students this year were Dillon Jones, Jarom Lopez, Emily Warn, Corin Salyer, Frank Gutierrez, Kacey Bell, Christian Stewart, and Brenon Hughes.
Working through 90-degree weather with 90-percent humidity, the group managed to complete their tasks even though it rained nearly everyday.
“I was so proud of those kids,” Hoopes said.
“The kids worked hard. It was a huge success.”
The group stayed at Clint and Leslie Colvin’s vacation home, but since the Colvin’s plan on selling it the plan will adapt for the next humanitarian excursion.
Hoopes gathered up roughly 1,000 pounds of flip flops, deodorant, hats, and clothing and delivered them to a school. The group also worked with Tom’s Shoes, which donates a pair of shoes to a third-world country for every pair sold.
“We sized all the kids for those shoes and then they got the clothes and all the things we brought,” Hoopes said.
The construction project involved building a block fence around a school that is next to a busy road to help protect the students. The block fence included cement pillars and chain link fencing to allow for airflow. Hoopes said the construction effort down there takes five times as long as in the U.S. due to having to overcome difficulties.
”We had to mix all the cement by hand and you can’t just go to the store and buy sand, you have go and buy sand and rock and you have to sift through it,” Hoopes said. “They didn’t even have a ladder. We were using crates. It was just bizarre.”
The Foreign Angels group had also gone to Roatan before the Pima group and stayed with the Colvins as well. The Foreign Angels group also handed out supplies and actually started the fence project by digging the footer, according to Hoopes.
It wasn’t all work and no play, however, as the group had some opportunities to enjoy the area by zip lining, hitting the beach, parasailing, snorkeling, and holding sloths.
With the housing situation up in the air, Hoopes said she will take one year off to raise even more money and supplies and then plan to take a humanitarian trip to Guatemala in 2020.
The trip was funded by people who made a $400 tax credit donation to the school as well as numerous others who donated money and/or supplies directly to Hoopes.
“Without it, we wouldn’t have been able to do any of the things we were able to do,” Hoopes said. “I wish there was a way to say ‘thank you thank you’ to everyone. I am so appreciative of everyone and how much support we got from the community.”