By: Chandi Guntupalli
As Groundswell International’s newest staff member, I had the privilege of doing my first field visit to our partners in March 2022, along with our Executive Director and co-founder Steve Brescia. Steve and I traveled to Honduras at the end of March 2022 for five days to meet with our partner, Vecinos Honduras, to discuss our plans for the Central American Dry Corridor.
The Central American Dry Corridor is one of the most vulnerable parts of the world, one that’s been highly affected by climate change. This region extends throughout El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Nicaragua, with Honduras and Guatemala experiencing extreme drought. Many people in the Central American Dry Corridor live in rural areas and live in poverty, forced to depend on grain crops for sustenance and survival.
This was my first time in Honduras and my first time in Central America. I was excited to travel to a country I had never been to, and I was grateful to travel again internationally since COVID-19. Little did I know that this trip was going to be one of the most impactful experiences I’ve had in the past few years.
Since our purpose was to discuss our strategy to support Vecinos Honduras in its plan for the Central American Dry Corridor, we went straight to the region after we landed in Honduras. Staying in Nacaome, in the southern part of Honduras, allowed us to visit a regional office of Vecinos Honduras to learn how their services and programs differ based on the needs of the community. Over the next few days, we traveled to various municipalities in the region to meet with farmer community leaders and local organizations making a difference. This was absolutely my favorite part of the trip – to meet with the farmers and their families that we support through our work. They were incredibly gracious, allowing us into their homes and serving us lunch from the crops of their farms – this was literally a farm-to-table experience. Interacting with and learning from the farmers was a humbling experience to learn about the impact of our work and also realize how much further we need to go.
At first, I felt out of place and out of my element in Honduras, not speaking the language and not having traveled to that region of the world. Through, sharing my experiences with the farmers and learning from their experiences, I felt a kinship in that as humans we really have the same goals – for our families to be safe, healthy, and happy. There is much to do in that region, in order to ensure each family is nourished, and I’m proud to be part of a community that is working towards that goal.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Chandana Guntupalli is Groundswell’s Donor Relations Manager. She has over six years of experience in non-profit development supporting programs focused on domestic violence, transitional housing, anti-bias education, and youth civic engagement. She has a Bachelor’s in Psychology and Philosophy from Michigan State University and a Master’s in Peace and Conflict Studies from Rutgers-Newark. She is excited about the community development and empowerment that Groundswell develops for farmers across the world.