Sunday, October 28, 2012

'Helping people help themselves'

As you know, one of my jobs here on the island is working with a Canadian PR firm, who has established relationships for the purpose of marketing, here on the island with dive resorts.  I am currently responsible for the onsite, social media aspect of their agreement.

Hicaco Fruit, Palmetto Bay Plantation
I've been very fortunate to meet some wonderful people, and have had the opportunity to experience and learn about some really great things.

 Touring an old Plantation-turned-resort while learning about the local fruits, by picking them off the trees and tasting the fresh, fresh flavors or Ciruelas, Hicaco, Noni and Mango, to name a few. 

Spendid Flatworm, Tim Blanton

Scuba diving with an elite underwater photographer, Tim Blanton. who has worked with National Geographic and Discovery Channel. 

Photographing singer and performer Brion James (who I think I mentioned in a previous post), Watching TV commercial shoots, touring multi million dollar beach front condo developments.

Shooting the view of the ocean through the trees from one of the buildings at Grand Roatan Resort.

Most recently, we have partnered with a new development called Grand Roatan.  It was actually started by 2 brothers from Oregon, U of O alums.  Grand Roatan is a breathtakingly beautiful multi phase development on one of the best beaches on the island.  Located in the farthest end of West Bay, nestled among the existing landscape of Palms, Gumbalimba Trees and old coral beds.  There are a lot of really near features about the resort relating to their sustainable eco-friendly approach to the infastructure of the community.  Things such as solar power, recycled water run off, solid concrete buildings and insulation intended to work double duty during the hottest months.

But the neatest feature, by far, is the owner funding the project, Dave Dachner.  Dave has incorporated a way to help the local community and give back to the residents of Roatan, while building this new community, Grand Roatan.  In addition to a school that Dave has already had built on one of the neighboring islands, Hilene, the sale of each condo at GR will fund $10,000 towards the construction of a new home for a deserving native family of Roatan.  The land has already been purchased and cleared, and is currently being prepped for construction.  Families who are nominated and eligible for the opportunity will recieve a long term loan, through the Honduran Government, to fund the remainder of the house (an additional 10k) with a generous repayment plan over an extended period of time.
Dave Dachner explaining to the residents of the island what his next plan is, now that the school (in the background) is complete.

The children of St. Hilene Island, sharing their shells with Grand Roatan staff as gifts before they left.

I had the opportunity to attend an imprmptu press conference, and sat next to Dave as he explained his goal and his vision of the project.  In short, Dave has been very successful over the years in the oil exploration business.  His thoughts are that there is no sense in hanging onto the money to save, and keep in his pocket, when it could be doing its job elsewhere in the world.  So, he shares his good fortune in hopes of creating more opportunities and enhancing lives and community ties on this island, and others around the world.  He knows though, that no good deed goes unpunished, as they say, and that you cannot give away these fortunes for free, or the lesson and the lifeskill will not be taught.  You can only offer stepping stones for those people who want help.  And at the end of the day, all he is doing, is helping people help themselves.

I'm excited about the opportunity to watch this beautiful project unfold and enrich the lives of the hard working people here who deserve it.  It truly warms my heart and soul.


  1. What a Wonderful Blog post sarah. I am so very Proud of You!!! Keep up the Good Work.

  2. Ditto and ditto! Thanks for keeping us all uplifted and envious. Sounds like your heart is full :-)