La Roca
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April 11 , 2006
Santa Rosa de Copán, Honduras

Some days the updates were nothing but good news. Well, this one is even better!! While my wife got stuck in Comayagua on the way home from the meeting with the Cardinal, I was able to come to Santa Rosa for one week to host the inspectors from the Department of Finance. Everything went very smoothly and I was able to return to Comayagua Saturday just in time for the birth of my little son. Now, normally I'm not much of a "baby" person, but this guy is really cute and he's so 'tranquilo' (easy going). Despite some battles with jaundice, an infection and now a cold, he just keeps chugging along -- eating and sleeping with little fuss. Triny, my wife, is doing very well after some initial difficulties shortly after birth and I think I'm the only one still battling a cold.

About a week and a half after the inspection by the Department of Finance, we were issued an exhoneration from sales tax for the period of one year. Our lawyer got sick that weekend and was unable to submit the application for the exhoneration from import taxes (which process should only take a week to obtain) and so since we are now in Holy Week and nothing happens this week, we will be waiting for another couple weeks to finally obtain the Isuzu pickup truck.

Alma spent this past month meeting with instructors and potential students to initiate 3 more 3 month programs: sewing (which we've had before), baking (which we've kind of had before) and beauty (hair, cosmetics, etc.). We plan to launch these three at the end of this month. While the beauty program may seem an odd choice, she has been pursuing it for a variety of reasons: 1) it has been requested repeatedly, 2) it can help a student obtain one of the better paying jobs, 3) it helps to build self-esteem in the students and 4) as with all adult programs, it is an opportunity for mothers to get together and find that their struggles are not as unique as they might imagine. We also are initiating our second computer class in 2 weeks with another class oriented to adults scheduled for a month later.

La Roca continues to buzz with programs of art, drama (gymnastics) and music held each week day afternoon from 2:00pm - 5:00pm. The other day I was pleasantly surprised at the number of teenagers that were there, since a lot of the programs seem to have shifted to the younger kids who are willing to show up for programs consistently twice a week. Of course, a lot of the time, the kids are simply playing games like Memory, Sorry, Risk or Uno -- simply games that are foreign to their homes.

On the Project Hope front, we are in the process of buying the small 11 acre farm. We hit a hiccup when we discovered that the current title is in the name of the current owner and his previous wife (who died 6 years ago). Since he has to deal with the inheritance process and one of his sons is now an adult living in Chicago, the whole process has been complicated somewhat, but is still moving forward. In the meantime, we discovered that a neighbor was installing electricity to their property and as a result, the power poles have been installed along the road in front of our farm. Cool! In the meantime, I have been working on the application process for potential participants. When I have a rough draft, then we will put together a committee that includes the previous provincial education director as well as other community members to review and improve it. It is critical that this part of the process reflect the true environment and desires of the Honduran people. It cannot impose Canadian or American boundaries. I give a lot of credit to my Honduran wife who is also a big help in everything I do on this project.

So, that's where we are at for the moment. We always welcome your feedback, so feel free to contact me at phil@timko.ca.