Copan Ruinas factory owner Anibal's story is quite amazing. Here is an update from Nancy during the alternative spring break trip there with 22 University of Oregon students:
"I have been having a great time with Rossana (Anibal's wife), who is indeed a jewel! She told me today that before we showed up on the scene that Anibal had had 95% of the votes of the members of the community in his campaign for mayor. A narco-trafficker then brought in loads of people from the mesquita coast and from other parts of Honduras and paid each of them 500 lempiras per vote. Many of the votes were also fraudulent, and others just purchased. Anyway, the narco-trafficker is now the mayor of Copan Ruinas, but there is nothing they can do about it.
Anibal was in severe depression after that experience and was spending from 6-9pm every day just lying in his hammock staring at the ceiling. Rossana still had her job, but it was not enough to support them. Anibal tried hard to figure out what to do but couldn't come up with anything other than possibly making candles in the shape of Mayan sculptures. Things were extremely bad for them, but Rossana told me she just told him, "When God closes a door, it's because he has something better in mind for you." All Anibal wanted to do was to protect the river and protect the people of Copan. He just wanted to help in any way possible. He didn't need money as much as he needed a way to help people, even though the family needed another income.
When Rina, a local Rotarian, called him with the proposal of a stove factory, Rossana said his eyes lit up, he regained his dignity, and he started to organize the factory. She said it was a gift from heaven. He is now so engaged that she is thrilled for him and for the family. He has been so great with the students, has made sure everyone has an opportunity to see what they wanted to see - the pre-med students have been taken to a medical clinic to observe, the future English teachers have been taken to Eduardo's school (Anibal's son) to see about their program of volunteer teachers, the biology kids have gone to the bird park, and the students who have never been out of the country have gone to the market with Rosanna to buy the food and piñatas for the village fiesta. Eduardo has organized three soccer games with his friends and the UO students as well. Two of the girls were so anxious to complete the new roof yesterday that they put up their own money to buy the last 32 roofing tiles and came back after the factory was closed, got out the ladder, and finished the roof. The kids have been so happy with the women who have cooked lunch for them every day on the ecocina, that they have arranged to buy them each a pair of new shoes."