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Sept 22 , 2005
Santa Rosa de Copan, Honduras

Nothing but Good News! First of all, the Rodeo is history. The picture on the side is for the nostalgia of those who either rode in it or were afraid to... I got the front wheel fixed (thanks Claude & Ron) and yesterday despite $1mil / gallon of gas, I sold it. Instead we got got a little used Toyota Corolla that is about 2-3 times more fuel efficient. Of course, now I can't take bricks, blocks, cement, etc. to La Roca anymore and the Corolla certainly doesn't make it anywhere near Ceiba Rabona to visit the water project.

Secondly, we finally installed the lights the city donated to us to light up the sports-court at night. More importantly, it illuminates the back area for the shop and the storage shed for security.

Third, San Juan de Opoa has finally got materials into the village of Ceiba Rabona and launched the construction of the water pipeline. Details on our water projects are available on our Water page.

Fourth, I talked with Roberto Guerra, the owner of the property we hope to use for the training center and he accepted our proposal after reviewing our plans for the education project. He is one of 2 candidates for mayor in this Novembers elections. Full details on this project are available on our Project Hope page.

Of course, during the past week, we had 3 days of parades for the Independence Day celebrations. The main parade was on Wednesday, with all the kids were in place at 7:00am and the parade finishing just after noon. Fortunately the sun wasn't too hot that day and nobody perished from sun stroke. Several of the kids from La Roca had been working to earn dress shoes for just this occasion. Of course, they will be used for school as well, but the motivation came from looking sharp in front of an amazing turnout to see all the schools marching by. Not often in North America that you would see a school band marching in battle fatigues, but they sure looked sharp.

This week we have also started a couple small projects at La Roca. The first is another leg of the surface drain line to direct water from our hill side away from the building. We were just about to start mixing the concrete (by shovel on the ground of course) when it began to pour. We quickly covered everthing up and waited out the storm for an hour before returning to mix and place the concrete. Still, we only got about 1/2 of it done due to running water. That one is now going to have to wait until later in October to complete the sides when hopefully it dries out for a few days.

The second project is a fence along the sidewalk that leads up from our parking lot to the front door. This fence will serve to keep the stray horses from killing our young palm trees and the small children from playing on top of the cistern. I have 5 eager helpers who are working to earn access to a computer course, graduation and school project costs, etc. Two of them are working to earn foamy mattresses. I just found out last night that these 2 have no bed whatsoever -- they sleep indoors, of course, but directly on the floor. I can't imagine how cold that is in our winters when the temperatures fall to +/- 8 degrees Celcius and there is no heat in anybody's homes (ours included). Anyways, when they have their hours invested, we will use money donated by a gade 6 class in a small school in Saskatoon to help out these guys.

That may sound harsh, but it is an integral component to our operations here that apart from special celebrations, we do not deal in hand-outs. Kids decide what they need and then earn it -- some by cleaning out weeds from the flowers, some by hauling water to the pila, some by helping me cut posts, etc. It gives them a sense of pride, and more importantly, avoids the sense of dependency on us to solve their problems (as was very evident when I first arrived).

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