Activities have ranged from a sustainable agriculture project, the provision of pure water to both FunaVid and the neighboring community, creating eco-tourism facilities, plans for a substantial algae project, assistance to the community, restoration of the mangroves and lagoon by the shore, working on the installation of electricity from renewable sources (solar and hydro power) and of course School of Christ activities. FunaVid, aims to restore the local area and promote the Inga system to the local farmers. This work is undertaken in association with CURLA professors, who are also teaching rural high school students in sustainable farming, including the Inga system. Classes and internships are held at FunaVid.
Intern students and at right front, Maritza and Ruth, the catering staff. Photo Dr. Dodson 2013
This is based on the Inga alley cropping agroforestry system (see What is Inga alley cropping?). There are six Inga plots on FunaVid land on the mountain, planted by Dr. Guillermo Valle. A new larger plot of about 6 hectares is being planted high up the mountain as an Inga demonstration facility, and a seedling nurseries and a large seed orchard have been created. Dr. Valle and associates from CURLA have taught sustainable farming, including Inga alley cropping, at FunaVid to rural high school students from local schools and this program is now being rolled out over much of Honduras, with the teachers, rather than the students, being taught. See Sustainable agriculture.
FunaVid land on the mountain showing the grassy areas where the main Inga demonstration area is to be. Photo Tiiu Miller 2009
Pure water and green electricity
Clean water has been brought down from mountain springs to the FunaVid premises and also to the local community of about 50 people next to FunaVid. This has made a noticeable difference to the health of the children in that community. The water supply is now also being harnessed to provide hydro-electricity. Additionally solar panels have been installed. See Green energy and clean water.
An eco-tourist trail is being created up the mountain, ending at the main Inga demonstration area high on the mountain. The existing champa (shelter) on the mountain, will be extended. Such accommodation on the mountain will be valuable not only as a nice place for tourists to rest but as a place where students can be taught, right next to where the practical work can be seen and done. An existing small house on the FunaVid premises has being extended to provide tourist accommodation. This too doubles as accommodation for the internship students, and other visitors to FunaVid. 7000 trees have been planted on the FunaVid Mountain to enrich the trail. Read about the exciting progress at Eco-tourism.
Mangrove restoration and the coral reef
A few struggling mangroves remain on the shore. We planted 600 fresh seedlings, and hope to restore the lagoon so that they will get the correct mixture of fresh and salt water. When Inga alley cropping replaces slash and burn on the mountain there will be less sediment to the benefit of the mangroves and the coral reef off shore. The reef is being surveyed now before the slash and burn has been replaced with Inga and will then be surveyed again when that has happened to demonstrate the benefits to the reef of reduced sedimentation. See Coral reef and mangroves
North Honduran coast. The white line in the distance is waves breaking over the coral reef. Photo Dr. Guillermo Valle, 2009
Algae culture is one of the most promising new technologies. Algae can produce food humans and animal food, absorb CO2 and give out oxygen, as well as producing at least ten times more oil per acre than palm. And it does not require prime farmland, but can be done in many conditions on degraded land.
FunaVid have been planning an algae demonstration project for the past four years. The plans are now at an advanced stage and ready to be implemented as soon as funds become available. US scientists have visited FunaVid and approved the site, and have agreed to oversee the construction / production of the facility and the teaching of CURLA students and the local people to operate it. Also they will continue to research for the complete utilization of the produced algae products, which are potentially very valuable. We are hopeful this will open the way for a university student exchange program with CURLA and US universities, and the spread of this valuable technology.
Honduras faces great challenges in the production of clean energy and food. We propose this project to produce foods for human and animal consumption and economical energy without damaging the environment, for the benefit of all Hondurans.
Helping the local community
We try to be actively involved in the local communities and helping wherever possible, making use of both our know-how and equipment. We set up electricity for the neighbouring community using one of our transformers and we helped with the installation of wiring, meters, lights and appliances. And of course, as stated above, we have provided the local community with clean water from the mountain.
We built a concrete block-house for an impoverished family with 4 children, one of whom has Down’s Syndrome. They had been living in a temporary shelter.
When possible we work with a free medical clinic in the Bel Aire - Piedre Amorillo communities, assisting in medical evaluations.
FunaVid provided transportation and personnel to help rebuild a church that was washed away in the mountains, and whenever the rains wash away the bridges we are always there to help rebuild. It may be noted here that this frequent occurrence is largely due to the deforestation that allows the rainwater to flow down fast instead of being ablorbed by vegetation, an issue that we are trying to address in the FunaVid watershed.
Honduras children, with FunaVid mountain in the background. Photo Dr. Dodson 2011
School of Christ Events
Seminars of the School of Christ were carried out in 2009 in Honduras on FUNAVID premises with pastors from La Masica and Santa Rosa de Aguan. We are currently working with groups of students from Coray Valle coordinated by Pastor Luis Salinas. In La Libertad, Francisco Morazan, pastor Antonio Baca coordinates another group of students, as well as in the Penitential Model Farm premises of La Ceiba and La Masica coordinated by Pastors Manuel and Miguel Castro.
Over the past year much work has been carried out in Honduras, Panama, Belize, Colombia, Cuba, Bolivia and Nicaragua with over 140 students graduated in these countries. The course of the School of Christ is a non-denominational study of the teachings of Christ. A graduate has not only acquired the knowledge, but also a true understanding of these teachings, and has made a commitment to follow them.