The Syrian refugee crisis is at the forefront of the world’s concerns. But there are other places around the world where poverty and violence are forcing family members to leave home to search for a better life: about 60 million people today are refugees or displaced … including from Honduras.
World Vision is working to create opportunities in Honduras with one hope: to give people a reason to stay. Gennri and Marisol’s love story is a perfect example.
Gennri Herrera, 39, and his wife Marisol, 42, call Honduras home. And they wouldn’t have it any other way.
Like many in Honduras, the couple only went to school through sixth grade. That’s because, until two years ago in Honduras, kids were only required to go to school through the sixth grade.
So Gennri (pronounced Henry) and Marisol began to work and then start a family. They have four children—three boys and a girl, three of whom have sponsors in the United States.
World Vision began to promote savings groups in San Marcos, where the family lives. Gennri was interested. In 2004, he became part of a savings group.
Savings groups serve as banks for the poor all over the world. Banks in Honduras may charge up to 36 percent in interest, but a savings group charges far less. Members can withdraw funds from the savings group, made up of their neighbors and friends. They support one another. But Gennri’s group of 21 people did even more.
In 2007, they bought a coffee-processing machine from Brazil for $25,000. The massive machine sorts coffee beans, washes, and then dries them. The group, which began with nothing, is now a cooperative that has amassed savings and capital worth $280,000.
And Marisol? Marisol began to volunteer with World Vision. It was an education for her. “My information, my home, is all from World Vision,” she says.
Although she and Gennri only finished sixth grade, Marisol went on to get a degree in business administration from a local university. Today, she is Gennri’s partner. Together they employ a dozen people. They provide 125 farmers with a place to bring their coffee beans to sell. They run a youth group with 20 members, teaching them business skills and serving as community role models.
This couple lives to love. They love kids.
“We believe in youth,” says Gennri. All of the couple’s children are now in college except the youngest, who is finishing 10th grade.
They love the land. The water used to process coffee used to pollute rivers and streams. Gennri and Marisol have captured the dirty water and run it through a series of tanks to purify it using a natural microorganism.
They love God. “When we do things, we do everything in this business the right way, and honestly, we do it for God,” says Marisol. “God sees our work, God sees our purpose. Putting everything in God’s hands, that is success.”
They love one another. “I know her and I trust her,” says Gennri. ‘We are alike and we like the same things. We love the same risk. We love the same chances.”
Their coffee warehouse is piled high with colorful bags of beans, ready to be shipped to local markets and internationally to companies such as Starbucks—or to the nearby InLe Café, which World Vision helped start with a group of young women. The young women experiment with specialty drinks such as the Mocha Lenca, made with coffee, cocoa, and a little bit of corn. It is delicious.
Poverty is forcing choices that parents should not have to make in Honduras—searching outside their country for employment. Drug trafficking makes our world much crueler. But in Honduras, there are still places of peace and joy.
It’s in the warehouse where Gennri and Marisol and their co-workers let their hair down and celebrate. Marisol loves to dance. And when you take time to dance and to celebrate, it means that life is good and that even in the most difficult of circumstances, love conquers all.
Help build hope at home in Honduras by showing love to a child in need. Choose a child to sponsor in Honduras today!