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Group looks to help those in need in Honduras

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Updated: June 21, 2013 6:23AM

When Luisa Fernanda Cicero moved to the United States from South America, she was amazed.

“This is the country of choices,” she said. “I asked for a cup of coffee and I was offered 20 different kinds. I said, ‘How about the regular kind.’ Very quickly it hit me that here you have more and more. When you go back to the basics, there is such a contrast.”

Which is why Cicero is grateful, and eager to give back.

She remembers the days when she didn’t have it all — and she knows that all over the world there are people struggling with that fact. So, the trained medical interpreter decided to do something about it.

Next month, Cicero and 38 other medical interpreters, doctors, dentists, construction workers, Bible study leaders and nurses will head to Buenos Aires, Honduras as part of the Hearts for Honduras mission trip where they will provide helpful hands to those in dire need.

“I believe we have a social responsibility to share our God-given talents to whoever needs them,” she said. “People are thirsty for medical care, and I love serving the community. So, this is a perfect match.”

This will be Cicero’s first time participating on the mission trip, but Doug Overstreet, of Overstreet Builders, is a veteran. Overstreet has been traveling to Honduras since the mission trip began in 1998. What started as a hurricane relief program has evolved into a nine-day mission to bring medical care and building supplies to the people of Honduras

In the past, Overstreet has helped build an orphanage, and a school. The group provides arts and crafts for the children, daily meals, and Bible study classes, as well as serves the medical needs of those aching for decent health care.

“They have a lot of basic needs,” Overstreet said of the nearly 400 people who line up daily for treatment. From iron deficiency to clean water and the simple need for vitamins, the patients are void of the most basic medical necessities.

“The first time I went, I thought I was going to ‘fix Honduras,’” Overstreet said. Soon, he realized, “you can’t fix it, you can only do your part.”

That part, he said, can be as simple as providing clean clothes, a kind word, or a bit of faith. The group will bring nearly a ton of clothing to the people of Honduras. Little girls will get handed home-sewn dresses.

“It will be such a wonderful feeling when everything pays off,” said volunteer Maria del Carmen Tinajero. “I just want to help make lives better.”

Tinajero, like Cicero, grew up in a third world country. She lived in Mexico until her early 20s when she emigrated to the U.S.

Also a medical interpreter, Tinajero will use her skills to bridge the gap between volunteers and those they are seeking to help during her first mission trip.

“I have wanted to do this since I was 10 years old,” she said.

Now that her four boys are grown, she said she has the time and opportunity to give back.

“People will say, ‘Why go to another country if there are needs here at home?’ But, they don’t have what we have here,” she said. “They have no food, no water, no decent bathrooms. They haven’t eradicated certain illnesses that here in the U.S. are gone.”

“I see why people risk their lives to get here,” Overstreet said, chiming in.

The volunteers hope to raise $45,000 for medical and construction supplies. Although the number sounds steep, Overstreet said the group has always reached its goal.

“Somehow, it just happens,” he said.

Residents who want to do their part can open their pocketbooks to help, while having a bit of fun, he said.

A golf outing to help raise money for the mission trip will be held at noon on May 23 at the Whitetail Ridge Golf Club in Yorkville, 7671 Clubhouse Drive.

Tickets are $100 and include 18 holes with a cart, as well as lunch, and a steak and chicken buffet dinner. Non-golfers can attend just the dinner buffet for $35. Hole sponsorship is also available for $100. To help, or for more information, contact Doug Overstreet at

Donations, or hole sponsorship should be made out to St. Paul Church and sent to P.O. Box 51, Bristol, IL, 60512.

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