Written by Schaefer Thelen
In June, Covenant Life Church of Grand Haven sent 22 individuals on a mission trip to the village of Malsincal, Honduras. Over the course of the week, the group ran a Vacation Bible School, built bathrooms at the village school, fixed a fence, and distributed food packages and electronic bibles to residents.
For Drew Hewitt, a sophomore-to-be at Hope College, the experience was eye opening, despite attending nine mission trips previously, including two to Honduras.
“It’s like a culture shock once you get down there,” Hewitt said. “It’s just so different. Starting with right when you get onto the unpaved roads, then you get to the clay houses. It completely blows your mind how much you don’t need in your day-to-day lives that you use and take for granted every single day.”
At High Hopes Hammock Company, we saw this as a perfect opportunity to further our cause of eradicating poverty. By donating 70 hammocks and partnering with Hewitt and others at Covenant Life, we were able to give a place to sleep and rest to those in need.
“It’s like a present,” Hewitt said. “They don’t really get things very often so for them to get gifts, even if we were just bringing them toothbrushes or something, they think it’s awesome. Anything you bring them is such a blessing to them.”
While most village residents do have a home, the sleeping situation is often very poor. Many people in Malsincal must share a plank bed with four or five other people. Fortunately, the hammock donations will help alleviate these issues.
“They have wooden planks with wool on them from the sheep (for beds),” Hewitt said. “Literally bags of wool, or straw, or grass. They don’t have mattresses so they were super pumped.”
Worker relaxing in a hammock
For one particular individual (pictured in the blue hammock), who works in the mountains to support his family, the hammock will give him a much needed outlet to relax and recover.
“He has a really bad back because he sleeps on a wooden plank basically every night,” Hewitt said. “He doesn’t get to sleep on a comfortable bed. So he was super excited that hopefully this will help his back because he literally hoes in the mountain every single day and is gardening every single day so his back is just so bad.”
While the popularized use of hammocks is for camping and recreational purposes, it is the belief of High Hopes that our product can also serve as a tool to combat poverty and homelessness, following the mantra, “For someone who has never slept in a bed before, a hammock is like heaven."
“I use my hammock once a month when I want to go hammocking or whatever, but knowing that these people are going to use their hammocks every single day, more than just going to hang out with their friends hammocking, they’re going to use to every single night to sleep in,” Hewitt said. “It makes you feel so much better.”
The hammocks will fulfill many other needs for the villagers. For one mother in Malsincal, the hammock will be a perfect place to rock her child to sleep. For others, a good night’s sleep will help them fight off illness and maintain their health.
Farmer resting in a hammock hung up in his home
“They all struggle from (sickness),” Hewitt said. “There’s at least like one sick person in every house and going to bed every night on a horrible surface when you’re sick isn’t good. So to be able to have a more comfortable sleeping spot is important.”
Hewitt hanging out with a child in Malsincal Honduras
With the help of future partners and customers, High Hopes looks forward to continuing their efforts of assisting those in impoverished areas across the world.