Tobacco Chaplain in Honduras

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Most of the employees at the Tabacos de Oriente cigar factory in Danlí, Honduras, are women. After the tobacco leaves are cured, they are sorted by color and size. Photo by Kathy L. Gilbert, UMNS.
Story and photos by Kathy L. Gilbert
Sept. 13, 2017 | DANLÍ, Honduras (UMNS)
Peña said the work is especially difficult for new employees. “When they are new, the first two weeks they experience nausea and headaches. It is so hard to begin,” he said.

In the front of the warehouse, stretched out as far as the eye can see, are people of all ages sitting side by side in what looks like a cross between a school desk and a sewing machine. Heads bowed, their stained fingers never stop moving.
The majority of the 3,600 employees are women.
The factory is divided into three sections: pre-production, production and packaging. It takes two to three years for the tobacco leaves to ferment.
“It is very hard work. They usually work more than 12 hours a day and during high production time they work longer hours,” Peña said.
He has been preaching and counseling at the factory for three years. He is pastor of two congregations and in charge of the board of ministry for the Honduras mission. He came to Honduras as a missionary from Puerto Rico.
“My job is to come here every Friday and preach through the intercom,” he said. “I have established relationships with the people and they ask me to come to their houses when they are experiencing bad moments.”