Jan 4, 2004
Cochrane, AB, Canada
Since we are at the outset of a brand new year, and I am freezing in Canada instead of at our center in Santa Rosa de Copan, Honduras, at the moment, I though it appropriate to create a bit of a review of what transpired this past year.
1. In February we launched our art programs with the local House of Culture via the sponsorship of the Finnish government. We also relaunched our sewing program early in the year and started a ladies cooking class (which has evolved into a kids cooking class).
2. In March a medical team came down and spent a busy week pulling teeth, treating clients in 3 different villages, teaching proper dental care and handing out hundreds of toothbrushes and toothpaste, and teaching various seminars on nutrition, etc.
3. Another small group of volunteers came down in April to help launch the great wall of Copan (otherwise known as our retaining wall). About 6 weeks after they left we finnished building this monstrous concrete wall with the work of neighborhood youth and a sometimes working little cement mixer.
4. In May UNICEF notified us verbally that they had approved a small grant to help us build the basketball court. In November we finally started actual construction on this and now are 50% poured. (Why so long? Please don't ask.)
5. In May we also started working on the warehouse and shop behind the center. We just finished the roof, electrical, windows and stucco in November.
6. In May we started meetings with politicians in Tela and nationaly regarding putting a center in an abandoned building there. We finally lost this project in late November due to a change in government plans.
7. In August the Peace Corps approached us about assigning a volunteer or two to our center for 2 years. In early November, Andrew Blandford, finally came to stay. He is just like me -- around 6'6" and somewhere over 200 lbs (OK, I'm about 1/2 those) and loves basketball. Between Drew and Alma, they are keeping activities and programs running while I am up here in Canada on work trips. Drew also brings a lot of new ideas that will be fun to see come to life.
8. In September we celebrated Day of the Child with about 200 kids present. The exciting part was that the day was run by locals with me mostly only interfering with a camera to take pictures. Even the governor of our state came by to manage the destruction of several piñatas and host a quiz time complete with prizes.
9. We had one presentation in May and another in December for the Casa de la Cultura. Our kids strutted their stuff in art, music and drama to packed houses of parents, friends and dignitaries. They did an excellent job in November for a delegation from UNICEF and city hall as well.
10. In early November we were able to distribute a large quantity of quilts that had been hand sewn in Cochrane. Our basic requirement to receive a quilt was the absence of shoes. In other words, if you owned shoes you were not eligible for a quilt. This despite rainy temperatures in winter down to about +6 Celcius.
11. In early December I was introduced to a group of youth from a church on the far side of town that have agreed to cooperate with us on special events at the center to not only have fun, but to honor God as well.
Looking forward through 2004:
For the upcoming year we are planning another medical trip in the springñ it looks like we'll be assisting a group from the University of Maine in March on a short project trip; there is another English student who is planning to come down for a couple months in late spring to help out with the Jesus Film project; another large group is coming down from Central Alberta in July and then I have a nervous breakdown scheduled for August. Should be fun! We will finish our multi-sport court in February and if we can raise the support for the tools, we will launch the carpentry class in our shop in the spring as well.
A second major project is in the works for a replica of our model center in another mountain town about 40 minutes away. So far we have great unofficial support from the mayor of the city as well as the Peace Corps. Now we need to get the balance of funding together and make sure we have someone qualified to run it.
I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you who participated in our trips to Honduras this past year. I know there are lots of more comfortable places that you could visit for normal vacations as opposed to investing some of your time and costs to help out communities less fortunate your own. I also want to thank those who have financially supported us -- we recognize that it is God Who looks after us, but it is accomplished through the obedience and sacrifice of people like you and I.
Our budget in Honduras has been Cdn$2,000 per month and that includes all of our program costs, Alma's and my wages as well as the funds that we keep using for building things like our retaining wall, sidewalks, the shop and the warehouse. We place a very high level of emphasis on the integrity with which we manage the resources that God grants to our stewardship. As we are looking towards the launching of another center this year, we want to encourage you to keep us in your prayers and your support when possible and recognize our need to keep this aspect of our organization a little more in the forefront.
God bless and all of us at 3CM wish you the very best for 2004.