Jennie’s Place Construction

Paul recently returned from a week-long trip to Guaimaca, Honduras. While he was there, he was able to snap some photos from the ongoing construction of Jenny’s Place. Visit the project page to see the full scope of the project.

On June 3rd, 2008 two children living in a small hamlet overlooking a lush valley in rural Honduras were murdered by four thugs. Jennie Lopez (12) was killed first. Her brother Karlin Adali Valdez (10), a witness to Jennie’s brutal murder, was killed soon after. Their lives were going to be different, before the tragic night when their home was broken into while their parents had briefly stepped out. Their deaths greatly affected the local community. Jennie’s life in particular represented hope. Her love of learning and her infectious enthusiasm promised a bright future. She was a star student at the local parish church and walked several kilometers to school each day. The community, enraged by one more injustice perpetrated against the Honduran poor, organized protests and demanded justice. To their great surprise, three of the four killers were brought to trial and sentenced to death.

While that sentence can never bring back the children’s lives, the community wants to commemorate the joy that they brought into the lives of so many others. Furthermore, Jennie and Karlin offer exemplary role models to the children of the local community. Their abandoned home will become a memorial called “Jennie’s Place.” This simple house is a place where people can come to meditate, and also serves as a space to conduct meetings or classes. The design is extremely simple, composed of five elements placed within the shell of the original house, the floor, the medallions, two lights, the benches, and the window shutter. The budget is extremely tight, with $2,500 for materials and volunteer labor. The children were murdered in the main room of the house (6.4m x 11.5m). Two gold medallions inscribed with their names will mark the spot where each child was murdered. The disk-shaped medallions are set into a black polished concrete floor. Like two bright stars in the night sky, the medallions are illuminated by two lights suspended from the roof structure. Arranging the hand-hewn benches in various configurations within the room allows the space to serve a range of functions and take on different qualities.