A New Chapter in Punta Caliente
Ready for Change
This month we would like to introduce you to the people of Punta Caliente. Their story right now is full of so many sad parts that at times it’s difficult to talk about. But our intent is not to make you feel disheartened by the information we want to share. Rather, it is our hope that after reading this you will feel like you understand a group of people who so desperately needs just a bit of our help so that they can believe in themselves enough to turn their story around.
Towards the Heartbreak
Located in a shallow bay or bight along Roatán’s eastern coastline, Punta Caliente is a settlement of a few hundred people living in homes built on top of mangrove trees. The community suffers from some of the worst living conditions possible. ER International founder, Robyn Breaux, describes how seeing the area for the first time affected her, “Even though I’ve lived in Honduras for over 10 years and in that time have seen a lot of extremely impoverished regions, there was something about the conditions in Punta Caliente that brought me to tears.”
Each time the tide comes in the bight is flooded. When the ocean goes back out, setting water, mud, sewage, garbage, and debris are all left behind to litter the ground. Because of this, children can rarely play outside near their homes, they have to go elsewhere. The unsanitary environment combined with inadequate nutrition and a lack of proper footwear causes many people to suffer from preventable illnesses.
Most people here work in the tourism industry, but during the slow months or ‘low season’ on the island they are left without a job. No employment or chances to learn the skills needed for different job fields leaves most families getting by on very little. Often times they are forced to choose between putting food on the table and other necessities like purchasing materials to fix a badly leaking roof.
One of the worst parts of the situation is that there is very little hope that the children living in Punta Caliente will have a better future than the previous generations. The cycle of poverty they are living in is very deep. There are no neighborhood schools, and even if there were their families cannot pay for the required uniforms and supplies they need to attend.
For many of us reading this, it’s almost impossible to understand living a life like the one mentioned above for even a short period of time. We can easily feel overwhelmed by all the sorrow and become convinced that helping with such heartbreaking needs is beyond our abilities. Our first instinct is to want to run in the other direction from such a challenge.
But what if we ran towards these things that break our hearts? What if instead of being overcome by what we cannot do, we committed to doing just what we can, no matter how small the act, one day at a time?
This is exactly what ER International has decided to do. Last month they partnered with Bread for the Bight, a program led by David and Heather Granada that is focused on serving the people of Punta Caliente.
Plans to Grow
After a chance passing through Punta Caliente a couple years ago, the Granadas immediately felt drawn to help in the area. They were eventually able to secure a local building and turn it into a place used for weekly prayer and worship. After these Friday morning gatherings, they provide local women with everything they need to cook a warm meal for all the attendees. David also uses his skills as a contractor to assist with building and home repairs whenever possible.
Currently, ER International is supporting Bread for the Bight by passing out bags of beans and rice to families in Punta Caliente once a month. Robyn explained that this is the best way they can help the Granada’s efforts for now, but that they are actively working towards growing their reach in the community.
She said, “Right now there are not too many things available to the people that can help them see a way to change their situation. But a school with sponsorships for the students to attend and a backpack program for their families to have food for the week would be a way for them to get ahead. Education is so important. Instead of repeating the same cycle over and over again, if we can get these kids a good education we can possibly get them a better life and better circumstances. There are colleges on the mainland. We can get them to places where they can do better for themselves and help their families and get out of the poverty they are in.”
We Need YOU
The work in Punta Caliente is just beginning, and you can be a part of changing this story for the better. Our goal is to create a school, more worship services, children’s ministries, and more.
Donations that go directly to helping in Punta Caliente can easily be made by sending a check to:
2273 SW 15th Street #153
Deerfield Beach, FL 33442
Be sure to put ‘Punta Caliente’ in the subject memo. To give online, simply click the GIVE menu button and send a message letting us know you want your contribution to go right to Punta Caliente. Your support means the world.
ER International still has 15 students waiting for sponsorship right now. If you or someone you know would like to sponsor one of these children, the process is so easy. Simply click the 'SPONSOR TODAY!' button below.