NASHUA — Ready to expand their leadership skills and help those in need, three area residents are preparing for a mission trip 2,100 miles away.
Later this month, the Nashua Honduras Outreach Team will leave for its eighth trip to Honduras in the past six years.
Art is a big facet of the program.
“Our main goal is to promote leadership through service,” said Ward 4 Alderman Tom Lopez, founder of the outreach team. “The idea is to take leaders out of their comfort zone and place them into a new community where they have an opportunity to grow in that new experience.”
Lopez and two other team members will be traveling to San Francisco De La Paz in Olancho, where they will stay from Feb. 29 to March 7. Several projects are planned for the weeklong trip.
Cristhian Londono, an artist from Colombia who works with Nashua’s Positive Street Art, will be putting his artistic talents to work in Honduras, painting murals and assisting with other beautification efforts.
Juana Fields, a case worker and Hispanic advocate at the Nashua Soup Kitchen, will also be embarking on the trip, with plans to replenish a school library in the region with Spanish books for children.
Lopez, meanwhile, will be working the possibility of installing a solar panel in one of the villages, in collaboration with Revision Energy.
“These communities are still Third World, and they are still developing their infrastructure,” Lopez said. “There is a great opportunity for them to develop and benefit from more modern energy sources.”
The Nashua Honduras Outreach Team will be staying at Project Eden, which promotes farming initiatives, such as tree nurseries and greenhouses; and sustainable living, by teaching communities how to grow community gardens.
“Project Eden also is interested in the solar potential because it is very much related to their mission,” said Lopez, who is looking forward to reconnecting with friends he made in Honduras on previous mission trips.
Books in Spanish for children are currently being sought by the team and may be dropped off at the Nashua Police Athletic League at 52 Ash St., or at the Nashua Public Library at 2 Court St.
“The Nashua community is very much enthusiastic about projects like this,” Lopez said.
A second Honduras mission trip is being planned for later this year by artist and musician Jyl Dittbenner and Samantha Cassista, who has been working with a village there to help residents build fair trade coffee partnerships in hopes of refining their products and making them marketable.
For information or to donate to the trip, go to involvedtoimpact.org.