Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Soap Distribution: Honduras

[Editor's Note: Check out Kat's video of this "Super Soap" adventure in Honduras. Fun stuff!]

The journey to Honduras began with a lot of soap and ended with a soap superhero and a lot of smiles.

Clean the World hosted a soap distribution trip to Honduras in late February that included the talents and passion of two hotel partners -- Kat "Super Soap" Coiner of Aloft Charlotte Uptown at the Epicentre (N.C.), and Deb Martin of Four Seasons Scottsdale at Troon Point (Ariz.) -- and a college student, Anna Menis of University of Central Florida.

Together with Clean the World's Rosanna Kingston the women brought joy and thousands of bars of recycled soap to children at schools, children's homes and orphanages throughout Honduras.

They were helped in this endeavor by the gracious hosts at Soto Cano Air Base just south of Comayagua. U.S. military troops now use the air base as a strategic command in the ongoing war on drugs and for humanitarian aid missions throughout Central America.

But this was not a military effort. It was a soap-centered mission to advance Clean the World's global hygiene revolution.

"We wanted our hotel partners to experience first hand the joy of giving soap to children," Kingston says. "By participating in this soap distribution trip, our partners were able to connect the dots on the lifesaving journey each bar of soap takes from hotel room to Clean the World and toward a healthier, cleaner life."

The trip was the first of several soap distribution trips in which Clean the World has invited hotel partners to participate. Two future trips are planned for Guatemala in late March and April.

Clean the World sent more than 10,000 bars of soap into Honduras in advance of the trip. The soaps were included in hygiene kits and school backpacks, which were distributed among a series of locations where children struggle for access to proper hygiene supplies and sanitation.

Coiner became a surprise star of the trip. She donned a purple cape and transformed herself into "Super Soap", a Spanish-speaking hygiene superhero who sang songs and led interactive efforts to teach proper handwashing with the children at each stop along the way.

"She creative a handwashing song to the tune of 'La Bamba' that the children really enjoyed," Kingston says. "It was really a lot of fun, and it was very well-received by all of the children."

Kingston details an impressive list of distributions during the short, but efficient, Honduran hygiene adventure:

- 10,000 soap bars were included in string bags along with school notebooks, reusable PeopleTowels, and pencil cases filled with basic school supplies.

- CASAYUDA School and Orphanage, which serves 84 children with special needs (blind, deaf, Down syndrome), received 840 bars of soap and hygiene supplies along with an entertaining exercise about proper handwashing

- Hogar de Niños Jesús de Nazareth orphanage also received 840 bars of soap and bottled amenities (shampoos, body washes, and lotions)

- Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe Children's Home, serving 128 children and single mothers, received 1,280 bars of soap and bottled amenities

- Another Hogar de Niños Jesús de Nazareth orphanage, this one serving 75 boys, some of them with physical disabilities, was on the receiving end of 750 bars of soap and bottled amenities

- Roughly 20 teens at Hogar de San Jose orphanage received 840 bars of soaps and hygiene supplies
- San Antonio Orphanage received 800 bars of soap for 80 boys from K-6 grade

- A one-room classroom known as Escuela Proheco received 270 bars of soap in return for many smiles and lots of laughter throughout the hygiene presentation. Kingston says the children especially enjoyed smelling the soaps.

- Children at Hogar Ninos Tierra Santa, located in the small village of Villa de San Antonio in central Honduras, received 310 bars of soap and lots of hugs.

Time did not allow for all soaps to be distrbuted during this adventure, but they will not go to waste. The remaining hygiene kits and health-related items, including up to 4,500 soap bars, will be distributed by U.S. military medical brigades traveling to Belize and Nicaragua in the next few weeks.

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