On my recent trip to Honduras with Food for the Poor, I learned a lot about our efforts to create sustainable projects. These are development projects that will pay for themselves and allow the recipients to be self-sufficient. Some examples of such projects are fishing equipment and training, vocational development, agricultural projects, and housing communities. On this trip I saw what is surely my favorite sustainable project, a truck driving school.
Honduras has what is called “a dry canal”, which is a four-lane highway connecting the Pacific and the Caribbean waters. The road is filled with trucks carrying goods, since the Panama Canal is too busy, even with its recent expansion. The problem with the dry canal is that the truck drivers on it are in general terrible drivers, causing many safety concerns. The government has decreed that all drivers must be certified, but there was no certification process or driving school available. Food for the Poor has developed a basic truck driving school to train and certify the drivers. The trucking companies are paying for this schooling. That money allows some of the people we serve in Honduras to also go to the school, at no cost. After graduation, they can earn good salaries and support their families. There are lots of job opportunities for them. This is transformational ministry!
The school is in a small building with several classrooms, one large truck and trailer, many orange traffic cones, computers, and an amazing computer simulator for training. As the student drives the simulator, they can see computer mirrors and windows and the dashboard and “windshield.” Various situations pop up on the simulator, which the student must contend with: sudden stops, dogs in the road, weather, other cars and trucks, and the like. Three of our group on this trip had the opportunity to drive the simulator. I believe they have been banned from ever driving in Honduras. Between them they broke all traffic moving violations, “killed” numerous computer-generated people, caused innumerable accidents and made us aware of how excellent such training can be.
The initial cost of the truck driving school was made possible by our donors, but this project has more than paid for itself and has now trained several hundred new truck drivers. There people can now house and feed their families. Their children can go to school. They have transformed lives and hope for the future.
The Rev. Carola von Wrangel