Honduras School Build
Proyecto Aldea Global (PAG),
Home Repairs Ministries, Inc. (HRM) &
Six Christian Men From ATL
– Five men from Atlanta who are in a discipleship group together wanted to serve the
Lord in a unique way. Through much prayer, and several failed attempts to get
involved in a mission trip through our home church, God made it clear that we were
to go to Honduras and build a school. We added a sixth person to the team who is
the brother-in-law of one of our members and removed the need for an interpreter -
he lived in Honduras for 16 years and his dad is the Executive Director of PAG!
– PAG has a program whereby it assists communities in building schools. There has to
be a need, the government of Honduras has to commit to providing a teacher, and
the community is required to provide a certain number of man hours to complete the
– In our case, El Cerron Taulabe has two existing school buildings which house 168
students in grades 1 - 6. They were holding grades 1,3,5 in one building and 2,4,6 in
the other. Honduras committed to provide a third teacher if the community could build
the classroom. The community shared with us that they have been trying for two
years to get the classroom, the classroom all of you provided!
– I have selected a few of the pictures from our trip and will provide a brief description
of the activities that occurred while we were there. We took literally hundreds of
pictures and they are all available at the following website (you need to copy the next
line and paste it in your browser because I could not get the hyperlink to work):
Traveling to the Site
We were staying in a state park that was about 2,500 ft above sea level. We had to drive down to a road
that was at about 500 ft and then drive to the school site that was at 6,500 ft. The “roads” were
treacherous and we had to exchange our rental van after one trip up/down the mountain. We got stuck
on the way up and bounced so hard on the way down that the spare tire flew off! We were fortunate to be
able to swap the van for a PAG small pickup truck.
Four guys fit inside the cab and two
road in the back. None of the pictures
truly show how bad these roads were.
This was probably the only level spot This was the edge of the road for
during the hole drive and notice the most of the trip.
ravine in the middle of the road.
The building to the far left of the screen that is an aqua color is the “city building.” The roof leaked badly,
so the building hadn’t been used for a while and it was unsafe to be converted into a classroom (we
asked). The building directly behind the construction contains the existing two school rooms.
The above picture is a better look at
the “city building.”
The picture to the left was taken while
class was in session. You can see
the new classroom through the
4 windows in the background.
Construction – the Walls
The Executive Director of PAG has designed these cement buildings to provide efficient building and a
durable product. As shown in the picture on the previous slide, the community had poured the
foundation, cemented in the “studs”, and began to slide in the wall pieces. Here is us finishing the job:
Notice the “scaffolding” – it
is purely by God’s grace
5 that no one was injured!
Floor & Sidewalks
While some were working on finishing the walls, others were working on preparing the floor for concrete,
digging out for the sidewalks, and digging out an area that required a retaining wall.
We had to dig down about 5 feet to get
This is me leveling the
to the other classrooms’ footer which
floor. I spent several
will end up being a sidewalk to the Here you can see the completed
hours filling low spots
stairs to go up to the new classroom. wall and a crew of community
and compacting the soil
The real fun was filling it all back in after members digging out the
with a makeshift tamper.
we spent hours moving it out to make sidewalk. Although you can’t
(There is a picture of the
room for the retaining wall! see it in this picture, when all the
“tampers” in a later
photo.) I also was the shovels were flying, it was like a
well oiled machine.
6 butt of a few jokes due to
my “safari” outfit!
Roof & Sealing the Cracks
The person in the front of the left picture is Carlos. He is a professional and hired by PAG to weld the
roofs into place. We had a unique experience with our roof as the new classroom was positioned so
close to the “city building” that the school roof could not have a normal overhang. We had a solution, but
we had to convince the PAG representative that it was the right solution. We actually lifted a section of
the roof off the “city building” and cut notches in our metal beams to allow the school roof to sit flush with
the city building roof. Once everyone agreed, Carlos was given instructions and he masterfully made it
happen. I will point out the fit in the slide showing the completed school.
Chet (our interpreter) convincing
them to do it “our way”
This picture shows us
To make the roofs even
filling in cracks where the
Carlos stronger, the metal beams
panels come together with
are filled with concrete
a “finer” cement mixture
before the top of the beam
i.e. we sifted the rocks out
is welded on.
7 of the sand while mixing
Cement & Retaining Wall
We spent a lot time mixing cement! There was a large sand pile on the side of the school and we had to
manually mix all of the cement. For those who are curious, you need 55 shovels of sand for every 50lb
bag of concrete (it was in kilos, but I think it was roughly 50 lbs)! We went through 60 bags of concrete
and no one escaped without a turn as the concrete mixer.
Here are two community members mixing cement
inside the school. You moved all the sand into a
pile with the cement mix, then re-piled it a second
time, and then a third time to ensure it was mixed Here is the building of the retaining
correctly. After the third pile was made, it was wall. In an effort to make the wall
turned into a “volcano” with the water being poured even stronger, they had us fill the
in the middle and the walls of the volcano being holes in the concrete blocks with
mixed into the water until it was all a big pile of rocks and when they didn’t fit – we
cement! gave them to Nate!
Pouring Floor & Moving Dirt
Once the retaining wall was built, we had to fill it back up with “mucho tierra” (a lot of earth). We lost
count of the number of wheelbarrows it took to fill the area, but it was well over 60!
rocks These pictures show the
pouring the floor. They
Here is the finished retaining leveled a couple of 2x4’s
wall with all the dirt filled in & and then used them to
If you remember me compacted. I spent an entire plum against. The project
mentioning a “tamper” in day working on this area, so manager from PAG was
an earlier slide, there are everyone called it “Dave’s very particular about how
two in this picture: Chile wall”. Actually, there are two the cement was finished
is holding one and the Daves in the group, so the and would not let us un-
other is leaning against locals called me “Grande experienced concrete
the wall beside me. David” i.e. “big David”. finishers take a crack at it!
Inside Drying – Painting
While the inside was drying, the front door was hung (it was not easy since it was metal, custom made,
and didn’t exactly fit when it arrived) and we painted the entire exterior.
rocks Notice the ladders. They built
the first one out of two small
trees & some 2x4 scraps.
After we broke it 3 times, they
built one solely out of 2x4’s. I
started painting on the “tree
ladder” and they asked me to
move onto the 2x4 ladder
because they were afraid I
would break it again.
During our fourth day on the site, there was a town meeting where we were able to explain why we were
there and allow the town’s people to ask questions. While the meeting was going on, all the men went to
work and accomplished a lot in the 30 minutes that we met with wives and children. The picture below
was taken early as somewhere between 50 – 75 people were there when the speaking began.
Chris Schueler spoke on behalf of
our group and explained that it
was the love of God that led us to
help their community. He told
them to thank God for the school
for it is He that provides and we
are merely the tools that he used
in this particular instance. He
closed by reminding them that
God is the One who is all powerful
and can provide what they need.
It may have taken two years to get
classroom they were hoping
for, with without God, it wouldn’t
When we opened the floor questions, the only questions that were asked were: “what church are you with?” and
“where are you from?” We explained that we did not come through a church and that we are members of a
discipleship group where we study and worship the Lord together. They were very surprised that we came on our own
and were not part of a bigger group. The lead teacher of the school came forward and thanked us profusely for
building the new classroom and promised that they would take full advantage of it.
Quick side story: the main teacher comes to the town on Monday and stays with a local family till Friday. She rides
11 home with the second teacher one night a week to ease the burden on the family. The horse is not very big and it
takes them an hour each way when they are riding the horse together!
Each day there were a couple members of our team who would play soccer during lunch with the villagers
that were helping. This was a very rich time for those who participated and I even gave in on the final day
and joined in the game.
Chet, Chris and Nate from our team. “Grande David” applying the defense
Notice the hand crafted screen behind the against a student con mucho talento!
goal to prevent the ball from hitting the
We are Done!
When we left, the school was built, the exterior was completely finished, and all concrete was poured
except the area above “my wall”. The interior still required some finishing touches and the community
was planning to complete that in the next couple of days. Thanks to your generosity, the school is even
going to be furnished before the next school year!
I mentioned earlier
that a later photo
would show how
the two roofs were
worked together. I
was amazed at
how well we were
able to make this
work out despite
all the challenges!
Pictured: Back Row, me (David Winters); Chris Schueler, Eric Powers, David Streib, Nate Benard, Chet Thomas
Front row: The little guy was always around and tried to help, but I didn’t get his name, the second guy was a hard
worker, but very quiet, the third guy (in front of Chris) is Gabrielle – ‘the perfectionist” in charge of this build, Carlos
(professional), Nadine – the person at PAG responsible for all school builds, Juan Carlos (our favorite student helper),
13 and a guy that always showed up for food and photos, but he never actually helped and we don’t know his name!
The Last Day – CANDY!
We decided to buy a bunch of candy on the last day and give it to the students as they exited class. The
school day ends around noon since it is so hot. We okayed it with la professoras and had a great time
interacting with the children.
Preparing the candy for
Once they were all sugared up, we taught them how to rocks
throw a football
of candy to
After all children had candy, we had the teacher
14 identify the best students by performance and
attendance – each got an additional piece of candy.
Juan Carlos – our favorite helper!
Nate Bernard: Consultant Analyst, Private
Specializes in Project Management for Banking and
at Merrill Lynch
CFO of Intellione Technologies Corporation;
Director on HRM, Inc. board
Chris Schueler: Director, Global Security
Operations for IBM Corporation
Eric Powers, Corporate Counsel & Asst. Chet Thomas: Civil Engineer, Urban
15 Corporate Secretary for Crawford & Company Design for the Georgia DOT
The table to the right shows the full
financial picture of the mission trip
One lesson learned: do not buy
foreign currency from Travelex at
ATL. I have done it before and was
told it was the best way to go, but the
beating we took on the exchange
rate was not worth the security of
doing it in the US.
Donors provided 57% of the funding
needed and our group provided the
Although the furniture for the school Filled
costs just over $1,000, we chose to with
donate $206.32 to HRM, Inc. for
providing the tracking of the
donations and the receipts to the
donors. It cost them a lot more than
that to provide the services and we
are very thankful for the partnership
on this mission!
A Couple of Misc Photos
Here are a couple of photos that did not fit in my chronological presentation:
We have a new definition for an after work drink!
This is a picture of where we
stayed. We had the two left The photo to the left
most cabins which slept 3 people is a picture of “El
each. We were very lucky that Presidente”.
our site was relatively near this Basically, each rural
“state” park. Even though it is a town has a president
Honduras park, the park is and vice president
responsible for funding itself and that provide
relies on income from visitors to leadership for the
maintain the park. Even with community.
that challenge, the park is very
Tools? All these guys need is
inexpensive and contains acres
a machete. Seriously, they cut
of beautiful wilderness.
everything with it!
Thank you to everyone who supported us on this trip! Also, thank you to those
who didn’t have an opportunity to participate this time, but took the time to read about the
trip. We were touched deeply by the gratefulness of the community that we served and
are thankful that God is gracious enough to use us to execute His perfect plan – especially
when He doesn’t need us!
We had such a positive experience on this mission trip, that we are intending to do it again
next year. During our next trip, our goal is to document everything that we can to make it
easier for future groups to execute the same mission for God.
Even though we built the 77th school through this PAG program; each trip is literally
planned from scratch and there is almost no learning curve benefit due to each group
embarking on the journey with little to no information.
It is our hope that we will be able to create materials/tools for future groups that travel to
Honduras to participate in the PAG program that will give them a better understanding of
what is required up front and to ensure a successful mission trip.
Thank you again for your involvement. with
Although you may never have the opportunity to
meet them, you have touched many lives and