UBIL LANDAVERDE, DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR, HONDURAS
The relationship Ubil has had with Amigos is one that began a long time ago, when Amigos was just getting started. Amigos was in the very beginning of the building phase, and Chris and Anthony were spending their days in the community and trying to figure out how to make things work on a strict shoestring budget. To this day you can hear Anthony recalling stories (with a good chuckle!) about having to straighten out used nails with a hammer so as to complete a project, or going to the hardware store and asking for the exact number of nails he needed – no more, no less. As the building continued, it became obvious that they were in need of a bridge builder, as Amigos is separated from the neighboring town of Macuelizo by a river. So, in speaking with Pato, a friend and welder from the next town over, Anthony got connected to a bridge builder, and they met at a welding shop to discuss the possibilities. Before he knew it – with nothing more than a Pepsi, a prayer, and a handshake – Ubil was brought on to be the bridge builder.
Today in conversation Anthony will recall the professionalism and attention to detail with which Ubil worked. They continued working together; they became peers, friends, confidants. Ubil became a source of great knowledge and wisdom, and especially offered key perspectives in regards to the Honduran culture and experience. When Anthony and Chris would travel back to the U.S., Ubil would step in and be sure that things were running smoothly and everything was getting done.
Eventually, Anthony and Chris would invite Ubil and his wife Nena to come to the States and meet with the Board of Directors. It was at this time that the Board of Directors asked Ubil if he would like to continue with Amigos in a more permanent way – as the employed Honduran Director. In a pure and innocent way, with big eyes, Ubil humbly said, “You mean, you’re going to let me stay and work and be part of these boys’ lives … and you’ll pay me too?!?”
Since that time, Ubil and Nena and their son Edgar have lived and worked at Amigos de Jesús, and the children at the home have become their very own. Ubil has continued to work diligently, tirelessly, lovingly, and prayerfully, and his dedication is in large part to what we owe the success of Amigos. He continues as director, now with a large staff committed to various jobs and responsibilities, a school, an agriculture department, a woodshop, and a group of volunteers all under his direction. His passion and energy are as strong as ever, and he continues to be the backbone of the work being done in Honduras. We are blessed and lucky to have him.
A passion for service and children and a love for Latin America is how Amy finally found her home at Amigos de Jesus in 2010. Born and raised in Massachusetts, Amy has worked extensively with children from difficult places as a volunteer, social worker, administrator, and volunteer manager in a number of states and countries including Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Texas, Ecuador, Jamaica and Honduras. Amy brings enthusiasm, a commitment to collaboration, and creative thinking to constantly strive to improve our children’s lives and bring hope for their future. She gets her energy and motivation from watching the children shed their fears and insecurities as they become who God created them to be; she is inspired by the staff, volunteers and older children who share their gifts, energy and love with our children; and she is honored and humbled that she is able to work alongside her husband Wilson and raise her two sons as part of the Amigos de Jesus family.
Wilson became Padrino Wilson and director of Amigos de Jesus in Honduras in 2010. He brings to our family not only significant professional experience with children as a special educator, mentor, coach and caretaker in both Honduras and the United States, but also a first-hand knowledge of our children’s experiences. Wilson was raised at another children’s home in Honduras where he found his vocation working with children who struggle which has become his life’s work. The children of Amigos de Jesus love Padrino Wilson for his refereeing skills on the futbol field, his crazy sense of humor, his willingness to do whatever needs to be done, and his boundless unconditional love for each one of our children. Wilson’s love for his country extends not only to the children of Amigos de Jesus, but to our staff and volunteers who he mentors and supports with love and laughter. He balances looking out for the needs of the Amigos de Jesus family with the needs of his other family- wife and co-director Amy and their 2 young sons Thomas and Jacob who all live on-site.