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October 3, 2005
Santa Rosa de Copan, Honduras

Mixed News...We had some very heavy rainfall on Saturday night that did some damage to our youth center. About 9:00pm two of the youth from La Roca came excited (and drenched) to my gate telling me to go quickly to La Roca. They said the firemen were there and a pine tree had fallen on our basketball court and the court itself was covered in 2 feet of mud as a result of an earthquake. Well, I never felt any earthquake and there wasn't anything we could do about it at night in the rain. I think their biggest concern was to get reasurrance that I wouldn't hire a tractor to clean up the mess when they were in need of work for school expenses (graduation and class project costs). Anyways, I said we wouldn't do anything about it that night, and no, we weren't going to work on it Sunday either. It would have to wait for Monday.

Sunday I went to check out both the property selected for the training center and La Roca. The good news is that the training center property drained very well and showed no signs of the storm. Of course I did get stuck in the Corolla on the trail that leads into it...

The other news isn't as good. Indeed, a large pine tree did fall -- not from inside our valley, but from the ridge at the top of the valley. When it came down, it brought with it a large chunk of the hill. The mud swept across the little valley separating the hill from our basketball court and surged over the court -- covering it as the kids had said. According to a neighbor who lives about a block down the road, it sounded like an explosion followed by earthquake tremors caused by the rush of a 4 foot wave crashing down the road past his house. Needless to say, the road is no longer passable at this point. The good side of the news is that the hill to the left of our center hardly moved this time and we only have an afternoon's shoveling to clean up the mud that released from that bank. The need exposed by this event is the necessity to finish the retaining wall that passes along the left side of the center. If we loose any more of that hill, it will destabilize a couple very large pine trees that could transform our center into a mound of rubble. Provided we can get the municipality to provide the gravel, sand and rocks again, I have budgeted the cost at Cdn$3,100. That's $3,100 that certainly isn't in our budget for this year. Help!

OK, apart from storm news, we've had a good couple weeks. Last Sunday, 5 of the boys that are working on projects with me at La Roca came over to make pizza and watch a movie. Best pizza I've ever eaten, I swear! Meanwhile, the guys have helped me get the posts in and some of the rails welded for the fence to keep horses and kids off the cistern area in front of the building. We are planning to put in a small garden there to create a basic program with the kids to teach nutrition and horticulture in a hands-on manner. The kids also found someone in the neighborhood who would sell us 40 bricks to put the drain line in our little warehouse. The back wall is the retaining wall, which includes drains in the wall itself to relieve water pressure from the earth behind it. The water dribbles onto the floor -- only this year we've had a lot of water, meaning we're flooding the warehouse. Anyways, the boys and I installed the little drain line that was intended from day one and it turned out very well.

We're struggling a bit with the mayor of San Juan de Opoa regarding the water project in Ceiba Rabona. We resolved one crisis involving unavailable tubing (we're now bringing it in from Guatemala), and the management of invoices to facilitate payments. We are being very rigid on proof of supply prior to releasing funds on this project and it's causing confusion (only with the mayor). We hit a snag when a wire from Canada didn't show up, but we tracked it down and Saturday everything was in order once again. Details on our water projects are available on our Water page.

Finally, I met with the director for public education for our province / state as well as the Western Director for the national technical training institute. We are setting up a meeting next Tuesday with the governor and other officials to discuss the proposed training center and elicit their input and support (Project Hope).

Contact me at phil@timko.ca with any questions or for further information