A new day begins in the city of Siguatepeque, Honduras, and with it a routine process caarried out by two girls at a child development center egg farm. They change the chickens’ water and pick up the eggs.
“Hey, here is another one,” says Keila with enthusiasm while they search for more eggs and the chickens walk between their legs.
The center is in a fresh environment with lots of pine trees. The 140 chickens lay eggs to feed the 257 children at the Pentecostal Student Center.
One of the desired outcomes of our programs is the physical development of children, but the rise in food prices has worsened our church partners’ ability to help the children grow healthy.
In Honduras, 70 percent of families in the rural areas live in extreme poverty, and in the past year, the cost of basic grains has doubled. The price of fertilizer has gone up 71 percent.
This egg farm is one of the ways Compassion Honduras is responding to the global food crisis, which has created great difficulty in the holistic development of the children.
The chicken project started as a dream of this student center in November 2008, and the dream came true through our Complementary Interventions program (CIV).
Like any new activity, the center faced many difficulties — especially when moving 200 chickens. Some of the chickens died and others were stolen.
“We decided to move again the whole thing to a better and safer place, and we currently have 160 chickens and 14 roosters,” says Sandra, the center director.
In spite of all the problems 140 chickens are laying eggs twice a day, and the center is collecting approximately 280 eggs daily.
The children now recieve a nutritional, healthy lunch based on eggs daily. The blessing goes beyond that because the children’s families can buy a cardboard box of 30 eggs for a low price, allowing the center to generate the necessary income to purchase chicken feed.
Pentecostal Student Center is now prepared and confident about the future. This activity gives them the opportunity to bless others in need.
“We have been able to rescue families from precarious nutritional conditions, and we are encouraged to keep working hard and bless many families and children in this city of Siguatepeque,” says Sandra.
In the meantime, Keila and her sister Keren continue with their chores at the egg farm, and have a great time playing with the chickens. Both know how important their work is.
In the warm city of Comayagua, another great CIV program is taking place at Vida Cristiana Student Center: a micro-project fish production that intends to help 312 children and their families.
For Yanira, the center director, this idea started as a vision to help many people, especially children who are living in extreme poverty with so many needs.
“We have seen the need of many families, not only for the lack of food but also because many parents do not have a job and as a result do not have the means to buy food for their children.
“We have seen children with headaches and stomachaches simply because they have not eaten at home, so we are here to attend those children who are going through these difficult times, and we feel blessed to have the opportunity to keep their weight and nutrition.”
It was a common desire within the church to strengthen the children’s nutritional lunch at the center during the global food crisis. Perhaps the biggest challenge was to purchase the material for the fish tank, which is sometimes difficult to find in Honudras.
But the church was always confident that God was going to provide the tools for this activity. They were able to obtain the fish tank material, and eventually began to set it up on the hill behind the church.
Currently, the fish tank has 2,000 fish that are being taken care of by young boys like 15-year-old Gerson.
For two months Gerson has been responsible for the fish tank, an activity he enjoys because of the benefits it will bring him and his friends at the center.
Every day he walks 2 kilometers to the site to do his job with enthusiasm and professionalism. His job is feeding the fish thre times during the day, and also activating the pump that add oxygen to the water.
“They have trained me over the handling and maintenance of this fish pond, also about agriculture and many things.”
In spite of having just two months of experience working with this fish tank, the center is starting to see the fish gain weight and size. They continue training young people how to take care of the fish pond.
In the near future, these fish will be part of the children’s daily lunch. According to Yanira,
“In six months, this cycle of fish will be ready and then we will start over with another 2,000 fish. There is a good market to sell the fish, so the fish pond can be maintained economically.
“We wish the children to learn to dream big and hope that this experience will help them to have the opportunity to become entrepreneurs.”