June 22, 2003
Santa Rosa de Copan, Honduras
I just returned from Costa Rica today and after being on the bus from 7:00am to 5:00pm yesterday and then 5:00am to 7:00pm today, I think crashing for an extended coma is in order. The bus rides themselves were extremely boring and thanks to wonderful and legal drugs, I slept much of the way.
This past week I met with the senior Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) representative at the Canadian Embassy in Costa Rica and then subsequently a few days later with the head of the Costa Rican "Canada Fund" (a CIDA program that is country specific for supporting small projects). The purpose of my trip was to see if there was an appropriate system in place to coordinate CIDA involvement in a project of launching multiple youth centers in Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.
Contrary to my previous understanding, the Costa Rican office has political control over those three countries, but does not manage programs that span all three countries other than putting the ambassador's signature on recommendations from each of the country's senior CIDA reps. However, the trip was not wasted as I received good information and direction regarding the program in Ottawa that is capable of handling this type of project. In addition I realized through the first meeting the critical nature of the participation that we have with other international organizations like Peace Corps, AFS, UNICEF and the Government of Finland. I also received crucial information on the nature of the Canada Fund objectives and opportunities in Costa Rica itself. To put the costs into perspective, the total trip cost about the equivalent of holding the first meeting on the phone. Needless to say, development in this country suffers significantly from the costs of communication.
Anyways, the senior reps for CIDA for Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica are all getting together in August to discuss successful projects and strategy. As a result, I am going to try to get back down to Nicaragua to meet with the head of CIDA there before I head back up to Canada. I also need to make an appearance at the office in Tegucigalpa since I have not yet met the new senior CIDA rep in Honduras. So, I have a fair amount of traveling to do in the next 2 weeks.
While in Costa Rica, I was able to spend a day working with a neice, Carla, in one of the schools near San Jose showing the Jesus film to various classes. While the program provides nothing in the way of follow-up, I do believe it is a powerful tool to introduce kids to the life and reality of Jesus Christ in a way that is very interesting to them and non-confrontational to the various churches in the area. It is a program that we can certainly pursue regarding implement in some way or other hear in Honduras as well. I was also able to abuse the services of another neice, Sara, to provide assistance in translating our web pages into Spanish. This will prove to be a very useful tool in providing a source of background information to Central American government officials that we deal with. A third neice, Anita, also provided assistance in reviewing the final medical page as well. I expect to have the Spanish side of our web site up later this week.
On July 10, I am planning to return to Canada for one month more or less. I will be busy working during the days to pay off some bills, but would love to find more opportunities on the weekends to speak to groups, churches etc. I would love to present our projects in Central America as we are always looking for partners to help develop and strengthen our projects here. If you know of any opportunity, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org At this point, I am planning to go out to Vancouver around the weekend of July 25 for some meetings there, so don't seek anything in Lethbridge of Edmonton for that weekend...
Anyways, that's about it. As for needs and wants...
- Praise for the good meetings in San Jose, Costa Rica this past week and continued travel safety.
- Opportunity to meet with the Honduran and Nicaraguan senior representatives for CIDA.
- Going to need lots of cash to develop Tela, so God please bless people so they can bless us.
- A fantastic director for Tela with lots of initiative, patience and a heart for God. Sailing abilities a bonus...
- Need funds to finish construction of the warehouse / shop in Santa Rosa de Copan and then a false ceiling in the center itself (fortunate to only cancel one class so far due to excessive rain noise).
- Need to sell my home in Canada as my renter left one year early and I need the funds from my house to continue our project in San Pedro Sula.
- Christian volunteers to help us achieve our ultimate goal of helping to make Christ real to people we're helping.
- Opportunities to speak to groups in Canada when I'm back (July 10 - Aug 10 more or less).