Feb 8 , 2004
Santa Rosa de Copan, Honduras
An interesting mix, this week. I remember mentioning last update that we had a terrible turnout for our movie night - designed to introduce some of the technical training programs that are available from 2 local institutions up town. Well, the morning thereafter, 3 women showed up wanting the sewing class we were introducing (re-introducing). Then on Friday, 3 more young people came, each wanting a different course among those offered. So I was encouraged after the fact.
We spent some of the week preparing the backboards for our basketball nets, playing chess -- incredibly useful in teaching forethought and the value of planning, and getting kids ready to start school for the new year. On Saturday we went downtown to buy school shoes and socks, uniforms, books, erasers, backpacks, etc. for a family of 4 children who all missed school last year because they didn't have the funds to buy the basics. In total, I think it only cost about Cdn$140 (including some new jeans and T-shirt for the oldest boy at a store that would make any kid feel special).
Sunday we distributed more pens, pencils, crayons, notebooks, etc. that had been donated by various visitors over the past year. On Monday I need to return to the bank for more money to get more notebooks since we still need a lot more. Plus another youth who has missed a lot of school is taking the initiative to return to night school and needs a pair of shoes plus basic supplies and his sister needs a backpack (worth about $5).
Friday was spent at the inauguration of some municipal projects in San Juan de Opoa (our target community for our medical programs) as well as a major water project in one of their villages about an hour away (likely shorter and faster to walk through the fields to get there). However, it was complete with a band from Santa Rosa de Copan, our parliamentry representative, our doctor from San Juan de Opoa and mayors from San Juan de Opoa and each of the closest 3 villages. Although we had no direct involvement in this water pipeline, because it is part of their over-all water projects that we are assisting with, I got stuck at the head table between the member of parliament and the mayor. Were we not under the only shade on a hot day, I would have bailed out on embarrassment; but it was hot and I was happy to sit there and drink water and Coke while they all gave their little speeches to people cooking under the sun. There were kids holding up signs the whole time thanking UNICEF, an Italian program and us (APROCOLA) for our assistance on this project. Despite our lack of involvement, I must say that this was the best example of a collaborative project gone right. I think they received a great result for the investment (somewhere around $300,000 which includes their assigned value to all the labor that was contributed by the local communities).
I gave a ride to some teachers to the event and then on the way back had an older couple from the area. I asked them where they used to get their water. They said from their wells. Except that during summer, the wells go dry so someone has to go out at 1:00am to collect water -- DEW -- because if they wait until 5:00am its all gone. Incredible!
While there I arranged with a local pastor (who prayed to dedicate the projet to Christ at the inauguration) to show the Jesus film there on their soccer field on March 20th. OK, now I need your help because we don't have a generator and they don't have electricity. We'll take our kids up from La Roca to play a game of soccer, followed by the movie. Since the road is rather treachorous, we'll sleep overnight on the football field and return in the morning. Somewhere I need to find a lot of marshmellows because I think we'll have a riot (fun, not destruction).
Our concert did not occur Friday as they once again asked to delay it due to lack of preparation and sound equipment. It's now scheduled for Feb 27. Last night 3 boys 15 years old came to church with me (second time for 2 of them) and enjoyed it although we were a tad late and missed most of the singing. This morning I took those guys plus 3 more out to a farm to collect fertilizer. We drove down a slippery road that straddles a ridge with beautiful valleys on both side. Normally a bumpy but very enjoyable ride, I was petrified this time because we were sliding all over the place and I thought we might go for a rock and roll down the side of the hill. We finally parked the truck and walked the rest of the way. It was a successful trip in all, with 4 coffee sacks filled with cow poop and transported back to our center for our fruit and palm trees without spillage inside the Rodeo...
Of course, volunteer labor like this must be rewarded, even if it was their idea. So we cooked up an incredible lunch of Mongolian tacos. "Mongolian?" you say. Certainly. You see these tacos had carrots, potatoes, green beens, peppers, onions, tomatoes and some unknown stuff that comes in the sauce we mixed in. Did the kids like 'em? Uh huh. In fact later one of the kids retunred to inform me that his sister had gone out to buy the vegetables to make them for supper the next day. Never planned on teaching a nutrition class to 13-15 yr old boys, but hey, whatever works...
So there we are. We're alive and well (mostly).
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or for further information.
Prayer: Its lonely out here. When you can't understand everything people say and certainly miss most innuendo, it feels very isolating at times.
Praise: The Rodeo still runs. Still needs lots of prayer and some body work to be able to sell it.
Christian volunteers to help us achieve our ultimate goal of helping to make Christ real to people we're helping. Great news that we have a medical team coming in March (predominantly Christian), a Bible School student coming for 2 months in the spring, a church group coming in July and a Christian youth worker planning to come for a year this fall. Of course, we still seek local Christian involvement.
Prayer: We need to find a local replacement for our program coordinator with initiative and a heart for kids.