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Students lend hearts to Honduras

John Leggett and Fabian Barreto are planning a trip to Honduras with Hearts for Honduras. To make this happen, they are hosting a booth and seeking donations in the Campus Center. Leggett, the president of Phi Delta Theta, hopes to travel with Barreto this May to build housing for homeless families, and to immerse themselves in Honduran culture. / photo by Mitchell Aleman

Shelby Nelson
Staff Writer

With Rio’s carnival, Costa Rica’s beaches and the beauty of the Mayan ruins in Belize, the tourist attraction in Central America is diverse with history, but the cause goes deeper for John Leggett or Fabian Barreto who will embark on a week-long trip to Honduras.

Both students are part of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity that introduced them to “Hearts for Honduras,” a program aimed at helping struggling people in Honduras.

The program assists families in building ministry homes, porches, windows, screen doors and pilas, which are outdoor restrooms that contain toilets, showers and laundry washbasins.

“We would help build homes and we would stay there for one week,” Leggett, president of Phi Delta Theta said.

Despite the country’s lush green jungles and natural beauty, Honduras holds a ranking as one of the most dangerous countries in the world, according to a United Nations report conducted in 2011.

The nation has suffered a high level of violence and murder rates in recent years.

There have been on-going efforts between the country’s president, Porfirio Lobo Sosa, and the United States Department of State to enhance the level of security for civilians.

“I’m not too scared,” Barreto, an alumnus from the University of La Verne, said. “I’m going with a group of people I know; we’re going with a national fraternity.”

The dangers of Honduras can be intimidating, but that is not stopping Leggett or Barreto from volunteering for a program that will benefit the lives of others.

“The reason I did it was just because I wanted to help people,” Barreto said. “It’s just a chance to give back.”

Aside from Barreto and Leggett, two others including Michael Wahba will also join in the philanthropic work dedicated to Honduras.

“I’ve always wanted to do something like that,” Wahba, a brother of Phi Delta Theta, said. “I’ve always wanted to do some type of missionary work.”

Leggett and Barreto have been working to raise money to fulfill their week-long expedition.

So far they have communicated with friends and family for possible donations, set up booths at the Campus Center and are considering reaching out to local businesses for possible sponsorship.

Wahba was sponsored by a woman who belongs to his church, and whose husband grew up in the central American country.

Leggett and Barreto are doing everything from selling discount cards for local eateries and entertainment, to setting up booths for students and faculty to see.

Hearts for Honduras requires volunteers to pay for themselves and the supplies used to build for the families.

Although the trip is unpaid and lasts for one week, the experience itself is what these brothers are looking forward to.

“I want to help people create homes and at the same time, humble myself,” Wahba said. “When I am having a bad day I like to think it really isn’t that bad; there is always someone who is less fortunate than I am.”

Shelby Nelson can be reached at

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