Hurricane Mitch ravaged Honduras in the fall of 1998. An American venture capitalist and philanthropist, Ed Cohen, watched CNN and was moved by the devastation and tragedy – not just the problems caused by the biggest Hurricane to hit the Caribbean in the last century, but the underlying lack of opportunity and infrastructure that seemed to plague Honduras, even before Hurricane Mitch.
At the same time, aerospace engineer Tony Stone was also watching the news and worrying. An American citizen, Tony lived on the North Coast of Honduras from first grade until he graduated from high school. His parents still lived in Honduras. He saw pictures from his hometown of La Ceiba, where a well-known maquiladora, or clothing factory, was swept down the Cangrejal River.
Ed and Tony met in January 1999 and started to talk about the possibilities for sustainable long-term change in Honduras. Taking a leave from work, Tony returned to Honduras and began an intensive self-education process regarding development work, particularly in Honduras. Four months later, Tony returned to Ed with three lessons learned:
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