BY Lindsay Owens Times Herald
The Washington Times-Herald
---- — In May, locals will have a new event to look forward to in conjunction with the annual Railfest event. The Hustle 4 Honduras (H4H),a four-mile run and walk as well as a one-mile run and walk event for children, will take place on May 17, 2014.
H4H is the brainchild of six-year old Gabriel Wiles, the son of Topher and Ashley Wiles. Topher, a pulpit at the Washington Church of Christ, returned from a mission trip to Honduras in July. When sharing photos and videos from the trip with his family, Gabriel asked why the children living in the Dump didn’t go to school. Schooling for the children in the Dump is costly, about $500 in U.S. money per year.
“School there is different than what we have here,” said Topher. “It’s not government supported and the children go to school for just a few hours a day - until about noon, and then they go to work in the Dump digging for bottles.”
The Wiles’ explained to their little boy with a big heart that the family could only help a few of the more than 300 children who live and work in the Dump on their budget. It was then that Gabriel decided there should be a race to help raise money to help the families and children.
“Let’s send them to school,” said Gabriel, who explained that the families that live in the Dump live in cardboard boxes and collect bottles for money. “If we have 200 people sign up for the run, we can send five kids who live in the Dump to school and build one house.”
Gabriel said the house he hopes will be built from a portion of the proceeds from the run will not be like the houses we have here. “This house will be 16 feet by 16 feet and it will be made of wood and it will have one window and one door,” said Gabriel. “Oh, and it will have beds.”
Most individuals living in the destitute area sleep on dirt floors and in piles to keep warm. “The new home will have a floor made of wood too,” said Gabriel.
The founding of the school that Gabriel hopes to send the children to is called Amor, Fe y Esperanza (AFE), came from the inspired idea of a another young child much like himself. In 2001, Pastor Jeony Ordonez had been working with ‘street’ children in Tegucigalpa and went to the Dump to throw away his garbage with his five-year old daughter, Chris. The little girl saw children close to her age rummaging through the garbage and told her father they needed to pray for the children.
Unable to ignore the little’s girls wish to help the children, the Ordonez family, much like the Wiles family, decided to do what they could to do help. Pastor Jeony and his wife began holding classes for the children. At first, only a small group came but that number continued to grow.
In 2003, a small group of volunteer teachers moved 50 students from the Dump to a nearby field equipped with a tree for shade. A home-school curriculum was taught to the students when the weather would allow.
Finally in 2004, AFE was officially founded and in 2006 American mission teams built the first classroom on the field. Three two-story buildings now make up the school that teaches children from preschool until 11th grade, the last grade children in Honduras attend.
Those wishing to learn more about the H4H can visit www.h4hrun.org or find them on Facebook or Twitter. Online registration for the race will begin in January. Gabriel is also posting training tidbits on Facebook and Twitter to help people prepare for the event.