Feed on

After a late night of dancing and karaoke, 4 a.m. brought a loud wake-up. While I was blissfully sleeping, a loud “BOOM!” shook me awake. I laid there for a few minutes and was pretty convinced that it had been a gun shot.




I continued to lie there … wondering if anyone else was awake. At this point, I had talked myself out of the gunshot theory. I didn’t hear sirens or screams that would surely have followed all of those gun shots right?

Then … the music and parade started. We later learned it was a week of celebrations in the Copan. Had we stayed longer, we would have been woken up at 4 a.m. every day for a week to a parade and fireworks.

I would take fireworks over gunshots anyday.

And another successful year of Mission Possible comes to a close. Thank you for all of your love and support over the past year!


Brian, Ben, Julie, Audrey, Danielle, Steve, Denny, Nicole, Lindsey, Jeremy, Laurah, Samantha, Sarah, Ashley and Jenny



Our last day in Honduras

We’re up and moving a little after 5 a.m. and just before 6, we load up in the cars and start the four-hour drive or so to the San Pedro Sula airport. We are very cautious when allotting the appropriate amount of time to get to the airport. Our flight is departing San Pedro Sula around 12 noon and we wanted to be there by 10 a.m. to make it through customs with time to spare. There is one drawback, however, to getting on the road at such an early hour: no stores are open. The water at the hostel is not potable, and we were all uncomfortably thirsty the majority of the ride to the airport. Yet once we arrived at the airport, most of us made a beeline to the Wendy’s – a nice little way to bookend the trip.

We touched down in Houston a little after 3 p.m. and we all scurried to our gate in order to catch our flight to Seattle. Most of us hurriedly grasped at food items because it would be awhile until our next chance to eat. We landed in Seattle around 8 p.m. and we all said our goodbyes to each other. Most of us stayed with friends and families for a good night’s sleep until the drive back to Spokane in the morning. Waiting for us in Spokane was the beginning of another hectic week of law school life, and most of us longed for a week just to recover from our week in Honduras.

Mission Possible is starting to lay the groundwork for a return trip in 2011.



gonzaga university school of law, mission possible, laepera, honduras

It's not easy leaving such beautiful faces behind.

It’s our last morning waking up in Lepaera and it’s an early one. We want to get on the road really early (7 a.m.) to make it to Copan Ruinas with plenty of time to take in the sights. This morning, there is definitely a feeling of sadness washing over the entire group, and the Carias household too, because it’s the last time several of us will see Carias, and for others, it will be about a year before their return.

We all lined up for our traditional group photo with the family. Once the pictures were taken, we all gave our final hugs and kisses to the family and then piled into the two vehicles. Just before Brad Wilkin, our club president, took his place in the driver’s seat, he discretely handed Carias a few thousand lempira to cover the costs of feeding and housing our group for the better part of a week. Brad quickly made a run for the car and we all took off. He had to hand over the money in a “hit and run” fashion or otherwise Carias would have never accepted it.

The ride to Copan Ruinas, a veritable tourist hot spot, is approximately four hours or so. We arrived just after 11:30 in the morning and went directly to the hostel to check in. We always stay at the same hostel in Copan, and it is definitely one of the nicer ones most of us have seen. After paying our fees and claiming our beds, the group divided into two smaller groups: those going to the Mayan ruins and those who had already seen the ruins (once or twice) searching for a nice quiet place to hang out.


The group who opted out of the ruins went to a local pizza parlor and indulged in some of the best pizzas in all of Honduras. After lunch, we asked around for a public pool. We were in luck because there was one just at the end of the street! We went back to the hostel, grabbed some sun block, and caught a small taxi (more like a covered four-wheeler) to the pool. When we arrived, we were the only ones there, so we got to fully enjoy the sun and the pool. After the ruins group returned to the hostel, they found our note referring them to the pool. The pool was a welcome reprieve from the super-hot and unrelenting sun.

Later in the afternoon, we all returned to the hostel and took turns showering. It was amazing because this was our first official shower in seven days. Refreshing doesn’t even begin to cover it. We went to dinner as group for our last time together in Honduras before traveling home. We made reservations at our favorite steak house and we all overdosed on some of the best meats we could’ve imagined. After dinner, we stayed out a little bit to explore Copan and really enjoy our last night in Honduras. Most of us called it an early night because our wake-up call was for 5:15 a.m.


Our last full day in Laepera

It’s our last full day in Lepaera because tomorrow we wake up and head to Copan Ruinas for our one designated “fun day.” On this morning’s schedule is a 9 a.m. start time at the elementary school for a program that the students prepared for us. After our coffee injection, we all trekked down to the elementary school’s auditorium (the site of last year’s project) and were met with the loudest rock star applause imaginable. There is just something about walking into an auditorium that instantaneously erupts into a roaring applause.  It brought tears to many a MPer’s eyes.

The elementary school put on a 30-minute program for us to demonstrate their gratitude for everything we’ve done for the school and Lepaera as a whole. Several students performed modern dances for us, sang traditional songs, and even reenacted the “la sucia” skit that we loved so much from last year. At the end of the program, the principal of the school called one of our members up to the stage to accept a certificate of appreciation. It definitely meant the world to our group.

After the program, the teachers gave us fruit cups for a snack, a pin with the flag of Honduras onit, and either a mirror for the girls or a keychain for the boys. We all immediately donned our Honduran pins as we headed to the top of the large hill for a scheduled date with the kindergarten school.

Terminal cuteness

At the kindergarten school, they prepared another program for us where the kids took turns dancing to various pop music tunes. One group of girls danced to the Black Eyed Peas’ hit “Gotta Feeling” and a little boy named Jason did an awesome Michael Jackson impersonation to “Billy Jean.” He actually knew the words to the song and sang along! It made us all break out into laughter at the cuteness of it all.

At the close of the program, the teachers set up a piñata for us to break. At first, we struggled to make a dent in the giant bear piñata, but eventually one gash lead to another. When it seemed that we were about to bust it open, we turned over the stick to the eager kindergarteners and let them have a shot at it. As soon as the candy scattered over the ground, the kids went berserk trying to snag a piece.

gonzaga university school of law, mission possible, laepera, honduras

The children loved their backpacks and the gifts inside.

When the children settled down from the mad candy rush, they lined up outside and we handed them a backpack stocked full of supplies one at a time.  They absolutely loved their gifts! Almost none of the children currently had a backpack of their own, so this was especially heartwarming. Soon after the backpack distribution, the gang sat down to lunch provided to us by the school – pizza! It was our first encounter with pizza in Lepaera, but it was certainly a delicious one.

Tonight, we planned our tradition of cooking the last meal for the family. The two culinary experts in our group – Andy Smith and Samantha Hankins – headed off to various markets to procure the needed supplies to make a delicious meal. The rest of us were taken on a scenic ride in the back of Carias’ truck to his favorite “buena vista” – a spot at the top of the mountain that allows you to see the entire Lepaera community. It truly is a breathtaking spot. Also, during our tour, Carias drove us to the water treatment plant sitting atop the mountains. It was truly remarkable – the view, the engineering, and the water. It was all any of us could do to combat the urge to take a running dive into the pristine pools of water making their way through the sand filters. None of us did, however, but it was astonishing to see how far Lepaera had come in one year’s time. The progress is truly a testament to the people.

Andy and Sam do the cooking

We returned home from our jaunt to the top of the mountains and smelled the delicious smells of dinner cooking. Andy and Sam really outdid themselves by preparing chorizo and peppers, homemade tortillas, and pico de gallo. They cut all the ingredients for pico de gallo by hand; it was spectacular. Sam even learned how Profe made our favorite tortillas and used her knowledge to make tonight’s homemade tortillas all by herself.

When dinner was ready, it’s tradition to let the family eat first because they always eat after us during our stay in their home. They loved the food so much that they all had seconds and kept saying how wonderful everything tasted. Well, they were right. It was heavenly.

Shortly after we finished eating, Carias took us to the mayor’s house to buy some coffee packages that they had set aside for our group. We all got to meet the Mayor and he welcomed us with a tiny speech thanking us for all that our group has done for Lepaera over the past couple of years. He extended an invitation for us to keep coming back year after year. Everyone purchased one or more packages of coffee. They even gave us a discounted price. It was the perfect souvenir.

After we returned home from getting coffee, we all exchanged hugs, kisses, and tears as we all realized that this week had gone by entirely too fast. Carias started to tear up as he told us that they have to wait another year for our arrival and they’re all very excited to have us back, but the few days we are there go by in the blink of an eye.

We gave the family a card and a framed picture of all us and the waterworks started flowing again. When we all composed ourselves again, the group played another game of Celebrity and called it an early night.


Day four

Day four in Honduras starts bright and early per usual. Shortly after 9 a.m., we march back to the school to finish painting the sign. The boys had substantially more work to complete because in order to fully mount the razor wire, we needed to hire a welder. Luckily for us, Marvin, Carias’s apprentice, is a knowledgeable welder, although we wouldn’t need his services till after lunch.

gonzaga university school of law, mission possible, The finished sign, with its legend Escuela Urbana Mixta de Manuel Bonilla, laepera, honduras

The finished sign, with its legend, Escuela Urbana Mixta de Manuel Bonilla.

While the boys painstakingly uncoiled yards upon yards of razor wire, the girls took to painting flowers and butterflies on the school’s sign. We finished the sign around lunchtime, but the boys still had a long day of work ahead of them. We all left for home shortly after 12 noon and were delighted to see that Andy Smith, our resident chef extraordinaire, had made buckets of guacamole from scratch. Andy’s culinary skills are beyond reproach, yet the family’s cook was determined to add eggs to the guacamole. When Andy wasn’t looking, she added eggs to the mixture. Unintended addition of eggs aside, the dish was quite delicious and an instant group favorite! We even dubbed it “guacahuevos.”

gonzaga university school of law, mission possible, laepera, honduras

It was more than a long day's work, but the GU boys successfully topped a fence with razor wire.

After lunch, the boys headed back to finish the razor wire fence. The girls remained at the house to put together the backpacks that we intended to hand out at the schools. We found out we needed 62 backpacks, so Sarah Minkler, another one of our great interpreters, a couple of other girls, and Profe headed out into the town to round up 62 backpacks.

Again, we could’ve purchased the backpacks in the States, but we love to honor the local economy whenever possible. It’s not everyday that several stores’ entire stock of backpacks will be purchased.

The girls that were fortunate enough to not run errands on this particularly hot afternoon enjoyed a delightful siesta, sprawled out on the tile floor, in an attempt to get cool. Once Profe and the backpack purchasers returned, we set up stations to ensure a fair distribution of the school supplies we brought with us. Most of the supplies we put in the children’s bags (mechanical and colored pencils, pens, markers, crayons, and chalk) are donated to us via a school-supplies drive we host at the law school.

Every single child at the kindergarten would receive a backpack, and the 16 neediest children at the elementary school would get one. Normally, we would hand the backpacks to the children ourselves, but Profe didn’t want us to single out the children at the elementary school because it would be unfair and potentially humiliating to the students.

A moonlit dinner

After the backpacks were prepared, all of the girls enjoyed some leisurely time of about an hour or so until the boys were scheduled to arrive. Some resumed napping and others delved into their respective reading materials.

Around 6 p.m., the boys had yet to arrive and suddenly the power went out. The entire town of Lepaera was in a blackout. About 20 minutes after the power outage, the boys arrived home. Profe lit some candles around the house and we all hastily made our dinner plates and took them outside. It was actually much lighter outside because of the extreme brightness of the moon and we all enjoyed our meal campfire style.

About 45 minutes after we had all finished eating, the power suddenly came soaring back on. The gang played another game of Celebrity and then called it a night.


Feeling grateful for Pepto Bismol

Day three waking up in Honduras and the gang is starting to experience the unsettling effects a few days in a developing nation can have on your digestion. Luckily, we came prepared with Pepto Bismol.

After downing a few cups of coffee each, we walk the five minutes or so to the elementary school down the dirt path. This school teaches kindergarten through sixth grade and is slightly more privileged than the first kindergarten school. Well, privilege is all relative in Lepaera, but most children have shoes that fit, lunches to eat, and all students are donning a crisp uniform.

Last night, during the group’s downtime, our resident engineer (well, not precisely) from Montana, Ben Fosland, patiently described to the rest of us his brilliant idea for installing the razor wire.

Some chisel, some teach

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Installation of the razor wire begins under the watchful eye of neighborhood boys.

First, the boys had to chisel wells in the wall to expose the embedded rebar poles. While they chiseled the length of the wall, the girls were put in charge of Profe’s classroom for the morning. She left us with the task of seeing to their drawing lesson.

Thankfully, Lindsay Arnold, an artist in our midst, took charge and began doodling on the whiteboard. When the children began to noticeably lose interest in drawing, we played several rounds of hangman with them. At first, the words were school-related (they were currently studying biology), but they quickly digressed to pop culture names. “Shakira” was a huge hit.

Eventually, the games of hangman could no longer hold the interest of the children so we surrendered to their requests for an early recess. We took them out to the school’s courtyard and played a few rounds of “pato pato ganzo” (duck duck goose) and ultimately settled on a game of soccer. Around noon, we checked on the boys’ progress and decided to leave for lunch at the house. Lunch was our favorite dish: arroz con pollo! Everyone had seconds and some even went back for thirds. The Carias family really takes care to ensure that we are well fed, which sometimes borders on overfed.

After lunch, the boys get back to the chiseling. This was all done by hand with a stake and mallet. They rotated chiselers every couple of feet because of the extensive length of the walls and the exhausting effect of repetitive chiseling.

A name to remember

The girls were put in charge of designing, painting, and decorating a sign for the front of the school. Up until this time, none of us knew the exact name of the school because there was no signage anywhere.  Profe sought to change this and she gave us creative license to do so. Although she wanted to give us unbridled liberty in this project, the name of the school had to be emblazoned largely and correctly – “Escuela Urbana Mixta de Manuel Bonilla.”

We took great pains to get this right and Profe readily approved. Having nine girls working on the sign at any one time would have created a “too many cooks in the kitchen” type situation, so the girls divided ourselves into two groups: stencilers and cementers. The three stencilers broke off from the group and set up shop in Profe’s classroom to cut out perfectly sized stencils used for the lettering on the sign.

Magdalena was there to help and also to keep her cell phone on her so that she could call Profe with any of our questions. The rest of the girls sought to mixing cement. After the boys exposed the rebar poles, they used regular wire to tie a much longer piece of rebar to it so that the rebar together stands approximately 12 inches above the top of the wall. It was the girls’ job to mix cement and cover the part where the two pieces of rebar were tied together.

Enjoying the hot springs

Mixing cement in Honduras is quite a task. The precise formula was a little touch-and-go at first because it encompasses water (which needed to be fetched in buckets), cement, and loose gravel lying around the school. After a few experiments, the cementers had the recipe down pat and began the messy task of filling the holes in the wall.

Around 5 p.m., we all headed home and were extra thrilled because tonight we got to go to the “termales del rio” (hot springs)! Carias and his family love to take us to the hot springs. Profe had slaved making homemade tamales all day and loaded them up in a cooler and brought them to the hot springs. All of us piled into the two vehicles, including Peace Corps Volunteer Darren and the entire Carias clan.

The hot springs are always a much-anticipated part of the trip because it’s the first real chance we have to feel any sort of clean. The water is very hot and helps to both relax the overworked muscles (I mean, for most us, we had been spending weeks in the library and manual labor was definitely a change of pace) and to wash away dirt, turpentine, and the ever-elusive blue paint.

Amoeba alert

After a dinner of the most delicious tamales ever made, we got a chance to learn about the brand-spanking new water treatment plant located at the top of the mountains in Lepaera. It is the largest water treatment plant in all of Honduras. The plant consists of mainly sand filters, which actually filter out everything imaginable with the exception of amoebas. Amoebas are the “bugs” that cause non-natives to get very sick if they drink the town’s water and are the primary source of dysentery. It’s actually quite simple to kill the amoebas – just add a few drops of chlorine (“cloro”) and you’re good to go. Chlorine is very inexpensive and quite effective at cleaning the entire water supply; however, the locals do not want their water to be chlorinated.

The chlorination makes the locals very sick because it actually kills the “bugs,” or amoebas, already in their system from years of drinking the ground water.  There is a campaign led by the Governor to chlorinate the water to make it healthier; yet it is met with much resistance. Most of the people would prefer to not get sick from the chlorination and to keep drinking amoeba-infested water like they have been doing for years.

Another benefit of the new water treatment plant is running water during the day! Last year, the whole town shut off the water supply daily during the hours of approximately 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. This was to conserve the water resources. But, now that there is a plant atop the mountains, the water in Lepaera runs consistently at all hours, which means one thing in particular – flushing toilets!

A couple of hours after dark, the whole waterlogged gang piled back into the cars and we drove the 30 minutes or so back to the house. The hot springs were a well-deserved treat before the long day of work ahead.


Hot coffee on tap

It’s the second full day of work in Honduras and none of the MPers need any persuasion to get up and at ‘em. Also, it’s a school day for the whole Carias household so it makes for a lot of hustle and bustle early in the morning.

Profe teaches the 4th grade at the elementary school down the road from the house and Marlen is one of her students, so they were up very early as well. Profe always makes sure to have piping hot coffee ready for the group as we one by one struggle to get our bearings for the early morning rises. The coffee in Lepaera is impeccable because it’s primarily a coffee-growing community and this particular crop is a major economic resource for the entire town. Several group members make repeated trips back to the coffee pot and Profe never frowns about replenishing the pot.

Item number one on the agenda for today is to finish painting the school both inside and outside. We made huge progress on the project yesterday, but there is still a lot of touching up to do. This morning, we also found out what our project will be for the rest of the week.

The elementary school, where Marlen attends and Profe teaches, needs razor wire installed to keep out burglars and trespassers. There had been rampant break-ins at the school despite the school’s best efforts to keep the school’s grounds enclosed and classrooms locked in the off hours. Because razor wire installation is tedious, and quite potentially pain inducing, the boys were put in charge of engineering and constructing the razor wire fence. The girls’ assignment entails designing and painting a sign for the front of the school. But more on this later.

It’s that bridge again

gonzaga university school of law, mission possible, laepera, honduras

This bridge tests one's constitution.

Three of the boys, accompanied by Carias, head for a town a few miles away to buy the needed razor wire supplies. The rest of us head up the windy, steep hills of Lepaera on foot to the kindergarten school to complete the painting project. And, oh yes, we must cross the bridge – the bridge that truly tests one’s constitution.

Once at the school, we get to see the schoolchildren for the first time. They are all sitting outside in chairs while their teachers attempt with great effort to keep them engaged while we get to work.

gonzaga university school of law, mission possible, laepera, honduras

The students take their places outside, so we can get to work inside.

Of course, 12 Americans painting and singing aloud could provide a substantial distraction to 5-year-olds. When the MP boys who went on errands with Carias return, we treat ourselves to lunch at the group’s favorite local restaurant.While I’m quire sure this establishment has a proper name, none of us remember it; we just call it “the fried chicken” place because it is pretty much the only thing on the menu. We head over to the restaurant and indulge ourselves in some fried chicken, tortillas, refried beans, and a small side salad.

Not to mention, this place has some of the best sodas ever. The best soda pop in Lepaera comes in glass bottles; however, every shopkeeper is hesitant to allow us to leave the premises with the glass bottle. They recycle them immediately. By recycle, I mean clean and reuse. So if an MP member wants a soda and doesn’t want to return the glass bottle to the store when they’re finished, the shopkeeper will pour the soda into a plastic baggie.  This technique took us by surprise at first, but then we (some more than others) realized “soda in a bag” is quite sublime.

After lunch, when most of us are feeling quite lethargic because of the good ole cookin’, we head back to the kindergarten to put the final touches on the classrooms and to fill the cracks on the outside of the building. Around 5 p.m. or so, the school is complete! We start to clean up ourselves and any children who were also sporting lingering paint marks.

Another way to help

As we are cleaning, one of the kindergarten teachers tells us that her husband is a painter by trade. We have lots of leftover paint and turpentine, so we gifted it to him. We also donated our used brushes and rollers, which he was going to clean with the turpentine.  They were both very happy to receive the supplies, which are uncharacteristically expensive in Honduras, and we were beyond happy to give them,

We start the descent back to home and are very much looking forward to dinner. Tonight is a special night because Profe is making us carne asada. They cook it campfire style over a makeshift grill in the backyard. Because cooking the carne asada takes awhile, Carias started cutting fresh coconuts that he and the boys purchased on the roadside in between towns. I don’t know if many people have had fresh coconuts, but they are absolutely delicious and taste nothing like the packaged coconut sold in the States. Carias bought 15 coconuts and sliced each one open with a machete – it was such a treat! After dark, the carne asada was ready and it was served with our favorite mainstays – tortillas, beans, and different types of cheeses. After dinner, the group played another game of Celebrity and then we all hit the hay with another day of labor under our belts.


It’s the first full day in Honduras and the gang is up bright and early, mostly thanks to the nearby roosters that seem to have a dysfunctional internal clock. Typically, unscheduled downtime is very scarce while in Lepaera; however, because it is the very first day we’ve awakened in Honduras, we have yet to purchase our project supplies. There are several reasons why we don’t purchase our project materials in the States: 1) could you imagine the nightmare of transporting the materials on the plane?; 2) supplies sometimes tend to be cheaper in Honduras; and, most importantly, 3) it is a huge boost to the local Honduran economy.

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Choosing the color palette.

After the group, with input from both Profe and Carias, decided on the color palette for the elementary school, all six boys (with Carias as their guide) depart for several different shops and hardware stores dispersed throughout the region to gather the needed materials. The colors we settled on were a sky blue color (“celeste”), which apparently is quite the popular hue in Lepaera, and a subtle off-white tint to use as trim. With the boys preoccupied, all of the girls were anxious to get out into the town and see the sights. Marlen, Carias’ youngest daughter, resumed her role as our tour guide and took us to the weekly Sunday market in the heart of Lepaera.

This time last year, Carias accompanied the girls on our Sunday morning jaunt into the town, and while on the tour, he was very excited to show us the construction progress of the town’s first major bridge. Well, approximately 365 days later, the bridge is finished! There are no vehicles of any kind allowed on the bridge; it’s for pedestrians only.

At first, we were so thrilled to walk across it, then after several steps, fear set in. The bridge is suspended over a very steep ravine and primarily consists of slightly weathered wooden boards nailed together and supported by a lightweight rafting. I think the word “precarious” would be an

gonzaga university school of law, public interest law, mission possible, lepaera honduras

Lepaera's kindergarten building before painting.

understatement. If someone hops, skips, or shifts their weight too suddenly at the other end of the structure, then the movement swiftly ripples to the opposite end, effectively knocking any unsuspecting pedestrian off kilter. This bridge would be a perfect fit for an amusement park. Although, it is of note, the bridge did not seem to bother the natives in the slightest.

After a quick tour through the market, the girls returned home just in time for the boys’ arrival. All 15 of us load up into two vehicles and head to the elementary school located in the mountains. Because it’s Sunday, the school is not in session; nevertheless, several neighborhood children caught word of our presence and ran over to the school to offer help.

This particular school houses two kindergarten classes of approximately 20 students each. Our task was to peel off the current wall decorations – colored paper glued to the cinderblock walls – and then to paint the exposed cement. This part of the project was easier said than done. We all struggled to remove the industrial adhesive holding the paper to the walls. The classroom teachers were both there to supervise our work, and they mentioned that the paper had been there for a couple of years at least.

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The hardest part of the job was scraping off the colored paper that had been glued to the cinder-block walls.

Eventually, we came up with the bright idea to buy metal scraping tools from a local hardware store because, quite frankly, our fingernails couldn’t take much more picking and peeling. Even the metal scrapers were not sufficiently removing this super glue. Finally, we discovered the perfect formula for the job: water + scraping tools. Although, by the time we discovered the winning combination, it was time to stop for lunch.

One of the best constants of the trip is the routine nature of our meals.  Profe would never allow us to go without eating for more than a few hours. So, the group begins the descent to casa de Carias for our lunchtime meal. We quickly learned that being transported to the mountain school was a treat and that from now on walking is our primary method of transportation. This isn’t a bad thing because it lets us walk through the town and see more sights and fully take in our surroundings. Also, walking down the large hill isn’t nearly as laborious as walking up it.  🙂

Lunch today was particularly spectacular and everyone devoured their respective portions very quickly. We do have a few vegetarians in our group and the Carias family is always very sensitive and accommodating, despite a few quips from Carias that he doesn’t understand why someone would not prefer meat to a salad. On today’s menu was a type of meat patty placed into our favorite homemade tortillas, the best potato salad imaginable, and a side salad replete with fresh tomatoes. It was perfectly delectable and great fuel to inject into the next few hours of labor. Our lunch breaks typically last an hour, and around 1 p.m., we begin the trek back to the kindergarten school.

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Boys from the neighborhood boys pitch in to help.

Once at the school, we break ourselves into two teams: scrapers and painters. One classroom had been completely scraped before lunch and it was now ready for paint.

Side note: sometimes, around Gonzaga, our group gets asked why our projects always involve paint. Well, because buying paint, ladders, turpentine, and numerous brushes is incredibly expensive and quite an undertaking. Not to mention the cost and time of labor. Moreover, we ask the town of Lepaera which projects they would most like us to perform and it just so happens the projects usually involve painting.

gonzaga university school of law, mission possible, lepaera honduras, public interest law

Someone has to supervise.

While painting, several group members bust into song and begin singing a few 80’s tunes a cappella. The neighborhood kids were at first puzzled, but then began to find our singing very entertaining. Also, Lady Gaga and the Black Eye Peas are very popular groups in Lepaera, which is quite interesting given that not very many people understand or speak English.

Eventually, both groups are painting. We decide to divide and conquer by having half of the members begin painting the outside of the school while the others focus on the classrooms. Soon, the members who elected to paint outside, become mere onlookers as three neighborhood kids beg to take over their painting responsibilities. It was an incredible bonding experience between the group and the kids. While there is a pretty significant language barrier, fun and laughs were had by all.

Around 5 p.m., it is quitting time for the day. We clean up ourselves, the materials, and the neighborhood kids and head for home. This year, Honduras seems to be unseasonably hot and the sun had been beating down on us for several hours now, which really added to our exhaustion.

Profe had dinner ready and waiting for us when we arrived home. Tonight we had two types of beans and cheeses and as many tortillas we could stomach. After dinner, MP was left to our own devices for entertainment. One of our group members, Julie Wheaton, came up with the best game for us to play – Celebrity. It’s a game in which each player (all 15 of us) writes down the names of three famous people. We put the names into a hat and played three different rounds. In the first round, we had to describe the name on the piece of paper without saying the person’s name. In the second round, we had to describe the person with one word (typically, it’s three words, but we tried to make the game more challenging). And, in the third round, we had to act out the name similar to the game of charades.  It was a blast.  After the game, however, everyone was absolutely wiped out and we called it an early night.


It’s the day our flight leaves from the Sea-Tac airport at approximately 12:00 a.m. Several Mission Possible (MP) members opted to fly out of Spokane in lieu of driving to Seattle. However, the remaining members took off from Spokane by the car-full sometime in the afternoon.

A few of us left Spokane at noon, after turning in various legal research and writing assignments and completing a few dreaded midterms (Spring Break always seems to be at the tail end of an exceptionally hectic and obligation-filled week).

The group of us leaving at noon wanted to spend a couple of hours in Seattle and to enjoy one last American meal before bidding all the comfort and familiarity of American life adieu. It is Spring Break after all. Also, of note, a recently graduated three-year veteran of MP, Jenna Henderson, currently resides on the West Side and we wanted ample time to catch up with her. Undoubtedly, Mission Possible is one of the clubs that will stay will you long after you graduate and move on to (potentially) bigger and better things. Continue Reading »


We have purchased our tickets from Seattle to Honduras!  We are still in the process of deciding whether to fly out of Spokane or to drive to Seattle. Flying out of Spokane would be ideal, but also more expensive. This semester is entirely centered around fundraising! We had a rather successful semester last semester, but we have a very long way to go. Shortly after the start of this semester, we had a group meeting to discuss several fundraising options.

Every other week, our group hosts a “taco sale” at the law school. These events have always been a mainstay of Mission Possible’s fundraising efforts. On Wednesdays, we put together a taco bar where we sell tacos, chips, cookies, and soda for $5 a plate. These events don’t rake in the big bucks, but they provide consistent cash flow and every little bit helps at this point.

On January 21, Mission Possible participated in “Monte Carlo Night.” This event was hosted by the Student Bar Association. Each club that wished to participate had the opportunity to purchase a table and set up a different gambling game. Even though the event had a gambling theme, funny money was used in lieu of the real deal. Our table was Black Jack. Other tables at the event were Texas Hold ‘Em, Craps, and even Wheel of Fortune. Each club that participated in the event split the profits equally. Although we didn’t make a huge profit, it was still a great event that raised awareness among the law school’s clubs and offered a welcome reprieve from the hustle and bustle of being a law student.

Our next big event will be the 2nd Annual Mission Possible Pub Crawl. Last year’s pub crawl was a great success and most of the participants had a great time! Lorien Barrett, a 3-year member, has worked diligently to put this event together. She was also responsible for last year’s amazing turnout.

According to Lorien, several local establishments are eager and willing to be a part of our event. All of the bars are within walking distance of each other and MP members always make certain that the pub crawlers drink responsibly.  We also hand out the numbers of all Spokane taxi companies to each pub crawler. The date of this event is Friday, February 19th. We are keeping our fingers crossed for another great turnout. With our trip approximately 5 weeks away, we are definitely feeling the crunch to have successful fundraisers.

A couple of weeks before we head to Honduras, we will host a school supplies drive at the law school. This is a tradition for MP. Wherever we go, we always try to bring school supplies to bring to the children. Every little bit helps and they are always so gracious and excited to get backpacks filled with notebooks, pencils, and stickers. This is definitely one of the most rewarding aspects of the trip.

Because our trip is student-financed, we could use all the help we could get. So, if anyone reading this blog would like to donate to our cause, we would be so very appreciative! If you would like to send a donation (remember—it’s tax deductible!), please send to:

Gonzaga Law School Mission Possible
c/o Georgia Dunham
PO Box 3528   |721 N Cincinnati St
Spokane, WA 99220-3528


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