CRS worker in Honduras responds to health care, education needs

| Carol Jessen-Klixbull | April 13, 2011 | 0 Comments

The following is the fourth in a four-part series.

For more than 35 years, Operation Rice Bowl has called Catholics to pray with their families and faith communities, fast in solidarity with those who hunger, learn about the global community and the challenges of poverty around the world, and give sacrificial contributions to those in need.

This  Catholic Relief Services program offers participants a concrete way to connect with their brothers and sisters around the world. The organization’s website,, provides more information about the program.

In Honduras, access to the most basic of human needs is a monumental struggle. According to the ORB website,, the national health care system is unable to meet the needs of most Hondurans. In addition to the threats of disease, malnutrition, and infant and maternal mortality, many poor households lack access to potable water, compounding the issues of sanitation and the spread of disease. Inadequate education intensifies this chronic situation.

CRS worker in Honduras responds to health care, education needs

New Yorker Juan Sheenan has served as Catholic Relief Services’ country representative in Honduras for a year and a half. He worked as an investment man­ager in New York before joining the Peace Corps and serving in Namibia. In Honduras, he oversees relationships with government and Catholic Church or­gan­izations and implements a wide number of development projects.

Q. What has struck you the most about your experience in Honduras?

A. I am always struck by the resilience of the people in the community and their ability to cope with their situation.

Q. How do you see CRS making a difference?

A. CRS builds the local community and local health care workers by educating them on health care practices related to mother and child health. This has provided a sense of ownership that encourages a local community to maintain a healthy environment for their children, improve nutrition and hygiene practices, and educate the women on the importance of child care.

Sopa de Capirotadas (Cornmeal Cake Soup)

2 cups masa harina corn flour
1 1/2 cups queso blanco or mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup tomato, chopped
1/2 cup white onion, chopped
1/4 cup green bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup oil
5 cups water
1 vegetable bouillon cube
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 1/2 tbsp. masa harina corn flour
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
White rice, cooked
Lime wedges

Cornmeal cakes:
Mix masa harina and cheese. Add eggs and 1 cup water. Mix until dough is moist and holds together. Add more water, if needed. Form dough into small patties (about 3 inches in diameter). Heat oil. Fry patties until golden brown on each side (about 1 minute per side). Drain on paper towel.

Fry tomato, onion and pepper in oil until tender. Add water, bouillon cube and cumin. Slowly stir in masa harina to thicken soup. Bring to boil, then lower to medium heat. Add cilantro. Add cornmeal cakes carefully, so they do not break. Simmer for 20 minutes. Serve over white rice, with lime wedges. Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

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Category: Holy Week/Easter