HCEF President and CEO, Sir Rateb Rabie, KCHS, and his wife, Lady Rocio Rabie, with Palestinian youth of Honduras
HCEF representatives, President/CEO, Sir Rateb Rabie, KCHS, and his wife, Lady Rocio Rabie, HCEF’s Public Relations Office, recently concluded a successful, inspiring and encouraging trip to Honduras — a country home to around 170,000 Palestinians. They were received by the Palestinian community, most of whom originated from the villages of Bethlehem, Beit Jala, and Beit Sahour, with open arms and open hearts.
The main purpose of HCEF’s journey to Honduras, following a visit to El Salvador, was to reach to various Palestinian families, individuals, and the Church, conveying to them the current situation in Palestine and introducing them to HCEF’s mission and programs, in hopes of garnering their support and working as a unified body. In this regard, the journey was a profound success.
The main contributor to the trip’s organization was the Palestinian youth Mrs. Carmen María Miselem, an alumna of the KTH program. She attended KTH last year, and started with a strong curiosity towards Palestine and her roots in the land. After her journey to Palestine ended, and she returned to Honduras, Carmen had become impassioned for the Palestinian cause and is committed to helping HCEF in its mission. Along with Carmen, other inspiring Palestinian youth and upcoming KTH delegates assisted with the trip: Mrs. María Elena Nazar Kafati, Ms. Jessica Kafie, and Ms. Mariela Kawas.
On the first day of the trip, Sir Rabie met with over twenty Palestinian-Honduran youthin a hall connected to the restaurant of Mrs. Graciela Salman. He spoke with them about Know Thy Heritage, and how it gives them the opportunity to “Explore & Live” Palestine. And reflecting on this opportunity, Sir Rabie spoke about the current situation in Palestine, and how important it is to see the land with one’s own eyes. Mariela Kawas, presented the history, culture and heritage of the Palestinian People.Carmen María also took the floor to share her testimonies with the group, leaving youth inspired to follow their steps to Palestine and learn more on how they can serve their brothers and sisters in need.
Sir Rabie and Lady Rabie also met with several Palestinian families who graciously invited them to their home and offices. As is often the case, many of these Palestinians were prominent members of the Honduran community, holding positions in political offices as well as reputable businesses and community organizations. Regarding his time with the families, Sir Rabie said: “The Palestinian community of Tegucigalpa is incredibly passionate about their culture and heritage. This was clear by how quickly they recognized the importance of HCEF’s mission to the Holy Land. And in honor of this recognition, they have invited us to manifest a formal HCEF presence in Tegucigalpa, to work toward our life-giving mission, and to unite the voice of Palestinians in Honduras under one banner.”
Among the families visited was the Nasser family. They were very eager to give back to Palestine after their inspirational meeting with HCEF. Sir Rabie and Lady Rabie gathered in the home ofMaría Del Carmen Nasser, Undersecretary of State for International Cooperation and Promotion of Honduras, who was awarded the Medal Order of Merit of Chile in the rank of the Grand Cross. Her brother, Henry Nasser, is the administrator of the Tegucigalpa airport, which is owned by their family and chaired by their brother, Freddy Nasser. The meeting also included Andrés Kafati who owns the coffee brand, “Café Maya.” His parents are major entrepreneurs in Honduras as well, known for their coffee brand, “Espresso Americano”.José (Chepe) Mena, husband to Dina Kafati de Mena, who owns the company and restaurant, “La Baguette” was also present. Everyone was moved by the discussion of Palestine and the plight of Christians in the Holy Land. And they are each dedicated to directing their efforts towards the mission of HCEF.
HCEF also met with the family of KTH delegate, Mrs. Maria Elena Nazar Kafati. Her father, Napoleón Nazar Herrera, is a retired Honduran General who successively became leader of the General Department of Criminal Investigation (DGIC), high Commissioner of Police for the north-west region in the Manuel Zelaya government, and one of the Secretary of Security’s spokespeople in the government of Roberto Micheletti.His brother, Dr. DelmerNazar H., was also present.
Sir Rabie and Lady Rabie visited the Cruz de Chatarra, a special interfaith worship site featuring a cross made of scrap metal envisioned by the former general, NapoleónNazar Herrera. This site’s mission to create a venerated place of worship for all epitomizes the Palestinian spirit, as Palestine has always been a land of many faiths. Creations such as this show the positive influence Palestinians have in Honduras, inspiring all Hondurans to be peacemakers at home and around the world.
Sir Rabie and Lady Rabie also had the pleasure of meeting with the Kafie family at the headquarters of one of their many businesses. Louise and Eduardo Kafie are the proud parents of many children who have become successful business entrepreneurs in the areas of gas, electric, food, and more. These young business people, such as Monique Kafie who runs the well-known “Lacthosa Cereal” company, are examples of the strong and innovative spirit that marks Palestinians wherever they may live in the world. In addition to being business savvy, members of the Kafie family are also sensitive to the Palestinian cause and recognized HCEF as one of the best vehicle for affecting positive change in the Holy Land.
Lizzie Dumas, a Palestinian-Honduran who owns a successful yogurt café chain, was also present at the Kafie family meeting. She was very inspired and dedicated her hall space for Palestinian Youth activities and meetings.
Sir Rabie and Lady Rabie met with Leonel Giannini who owns the largest supermarket chain “Supermercados La Colonia” and Sami Larach, a prominent Palestinian attorney in Honduras. The discussion focused on business and investment opportunities in Palestine. They were both committed to exploring the opportunities and acting on them in the near future.
Additionally, they convened with attorneys, Paul and Juan Carlos Handal, who were so impressed by the mission of HCEF that they wanted to become active members of the organization and are committed to work pro bono on behalf of HCEF whenever possible.
HCEF representatives were also hosted for dinner at the Rishmawi family home, accompanied by William Nassar, the largest distributor of maftul, a Palestinian delicacy, in Honduras. The Massad family was also present.
Sir Rabie and Lady Rabie also had the pleasure of meeting with Father Carlo Magno, chancellor for His Eminence Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, Archbishop of Tegucigalpa. After some fruitful discussion, Father Magno was committed to supporting HCEF and implementing pilgrimages to the Holy Land through Palestinian tourism.
HCEF was honored tomeet with the Antonio Flores Arriaza who was kind enough to host a meeting with the local Rotary Club Members: Eduardo Facusse, Alejandra Castillo Callejas and Hans Niehorster. They were all astonished by facts Sir Rabie shared about Palestine, and are committed to affecting positive change in whatever ways they can.
See photos from the trip by clicking here
Diaspora Palestinians in Honduras Inspired by and Committed to Palestine and the Mission of HCEF