HOI Launches New Partnership
by: Jerry Eickhoff
As previously announced, HOI has begun sending teams into southern Honduras to leverage the same successful approaches to improving public health, education, and spiritual development that we have used in Olancho for the past two decades. Two years ago we were approached by two large corporations based in the southern Honduran town of San Lorenzo, asking if we would be interested in establishing another base of operations in that area (location number three for HOI). The goal of the companies was to further their already considerable existing social responsibility efforts to help the people in the villages in this hot, dry and impoverished region.
We are happy to announce that after months of prayer and due diligence by all the parties involved, and ongoing negotiations to delineate the responsibilities and goals of the various parties, HOI signed a joint memorandum of understanding on March 20, 2015 at the Hotel Maya in Tegucigalpa. The two companies partnering with HOI are Agrolibano (Fundación Agrolibano), a very large melon producing operation, and LUFUSSA, the power generation company in the south. These firms are providing infrastructure support for our efforts and they also work with the leadership of the villages where we’ll partner, to develop plans for improvement and on the ground logistical preparation for the arrival of our work teams. Representing HOI were Board Chairman, Scott Luttrell and myself; LUFUSSA, Rolando Ramirez; and Fundación Agrolibano, Mrs. Pamela Molina, the foundation’s president.
(Left to Right: Rolando Ramirez, LUFUSSA Chairman; Pamela Molina, Fundacion Agrolibano President; Jerry Eickhoff, HOI CEO)
These companies were interested in utilizing our proven methodologies of partnering teams from the US with local leaders and residents by enacting long term, community developed, public health improvement plans. They were especially interested in HOI because of our faith-based approach. The firms understand, believe, and embrace the fact that our groups and staff help local residents achieve great results because God is at the core of our mission. It was quite refreshing to receive this partnership request from the corporate world. It’s also very encouraging to us that Honduran citizens and corporations of means are investing in the fundamental improvement of living conditions for the people who so greatly need a helping hand.
San Lorenzo and Choluteca, with about 500,000 citizens between them, are located two and a half hours south of the Tegucigalpa airport, and they are central to where we’ll be working in the surrounding villages. They sit very near the Nicaraguan border on the Pacific Ocean. The very difficult work week will end with a day on Tiger Island in Alma Palma, which sits about an hour outside of Choluteca, for a little R&R. This is a fitting end to a very rewarding effort working alongside motivated, talented, and appreciative Honduran citizens who want to take advantage of the partnership opportunities we can collectively offer them.
The San Lorenzo Hospital, largely funded and managed by Fundación Agrolibano (FA) and Ms. Molina, is improving daily and is becoming a model of efficiency in Honduras; however, there are still many needs. The first area the Hospital Administrator asked us to focus on was the establishment of a pastoral counseling service. That really impressed and encouraged us. The hospital team recognizes the importance of healing faith and support. To help in this regard, HOI has secured the assistance of Rev. Woody Spackman, the recently retired Director of the Pastoral Counseling Center at Emory University Healthcare. Woody and a Spanish speaking colleague, Jose Montenegro, have already been to the San Lorenzo Hospital and begun to develop their plans with the hospital staff. They have also engaged the local pastors and priests to provide the support network the people and patients of the area will need and that is so important in the healing and grief process. This is an early and exciting development. FA has agreed to support this effort and implementation will begin late this year and early 2016.
We will be offering some abbreviated site visit trips for leaders of potential teams at attractive prices so you can see for yourself the needs, the logistical situation, and the blessings that await you.If you are interested in learning more about sending a team to HOI’s newest location in the south, please contact our Short Term Missions Coordinator, Emily Grossman via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Come and join us as we spread the Good News and the good works!
Jerry is the CEO of HOI and has been heavily involved with the organization since its inception. He enjoys fishing with his grandsons and is a Civil War history buff.