ACEL faculty and students have embarked on a lasting partnership with the city of Choluteca, Honduras and surrounding communities. What began with a fact-finding, planning trip by Dr. Jamie Cano and graduate student W. T. Agner in the spring of 2013 has grown over the past year into multiple humanitarian projects, an exceptional study abroad experience, and the promise of more alliances to come.
Upon returning from their trip to Choluteca, where they witnessed the needs of the children of the area, Cano and Agner joined forces with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences Staff Advisory Council and a group of ACEL undergraduate students to hold a college-wide clothing drive during autumn semester, 2013. Two months later, two vanloads of clothing, shoes, and toys were delivered to World Gospel Mission (WGM) for shipment to Choluteca. ACEL has a close connection with the WGM program in Choluteca, as it is administered by ACEL Alumnus Larry Overholt (MS 2000) and his wife Angie.
Undergraduate and Graduate Student Study Abroad
The next phase of partnership was the development and promotion of a study abroad experience to Honduras, held during the 2014 May term. On May 5th twenty-one students and faculty from ACEL embarked on a 15-day, life-changing, culturally rich, learning experience. Enriched by a cultural immersion with rural and small town (barrio) Honduran life, education, agricultural production and local government practices, students:
- developed an agriscience curriculum designed to meet needs of a vocational school in Choluteca,
- built a structure that would protect the school from invading birds, repairing ,
- built portable huts for local gardens in three locations,
- delivered more than 1,000 pounds of food and supplies (purchased with proceeds from a pre-trip fund raising effort by study abroad students) to 84 families in the island village of Boca del Rio Viejo
- worked alongside Honduran women to grind corn and pluck chickens in preparation for a meal in Siete de Mayo
- played with, taught, and learned from with children in villages and the countryside throughout the trip.
You can see and learn more about the students’ experience from their blog, http://osuacelhonduras.wordpress.com/.
Honduras Educational Development Experience
On May 28, 2014, a group of Ohio Agriscience Education teachers arrived in Honduras for a week’s educational development experience. The teachers were Joel Albright (Ashland-Crestview), Adam Staley (Clear Fork), Susan Metzger (Southeastern Ross), Sue Davis (Ridgewood), and Matt Elsass (Greeneview). They traveled to various points in Honduras, wrote and delivered a curriculum, “Introduction to Vocational Agriculture”, and built a hoop house on an island to introduce vegetable gardening to the local citizens. Following the experience in Honduras, the Ohio teachers then conducted a 30 minute presentation at the OAAE / HOT Conference in Wooster.