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June 18, 2006
Santa Rosa de Copán, Honduras

Oh yeah baby!!! (as says the famous Peter Mahr when the Calgary Flames score). It has been a good return to Santa Rosa de Copan.

First of all, the good news about the farm. As I mentioned in the previous email, we obtained possession of the farm for Project Hope just before I went to Canada in mid May. I'd like to take this opportunity to very publicly thank Christiane Ahpin from North Vancouver and her brother Dr. Ahpin from Spruce Grove, AB, for donating the funds to purchase this farm. The actual title transfer is a process complicated by inheritance laws here in Honduras. Anyways, yesterday I took 8 of the guys (14 - 18 years old) to the hot springs at Gracias as the long awaited "closing party" for the construction of the retaining wall along the front of La Roca. We piled inside the cab and the box of our truck for the trip and were rewarded with a good 4 hours of soaking in hot water. For some, I think this is the first time they've felt hot water that didn't come from a stove. After the hot springs, we made our way back to our new farm and had a hot dog picnic under the shade behind the little farm house there.

A couple of the guys were picking various kinds of fruit (first time I ate a grenadina which is kind of like a pomegranit) and after we polished off the hot dogs, we went across our little bridge (that I built with a group of friends back in 2000) in search of bananas that needed to be cut down. The kids with me kept commenting that I needed to bring them back to cut the grass around all the coffee plants to improve the coffee production, so I made a deal with them that we would form a little cooperative and split the proceeds of the coffee harvest if they'd come help clean up the place and harvest the beans. I have so much to learn!! In the meantime, we cut down down some bananas and piled into the truck to make our way home.

Anyways it was a fantastic way to initiate the farm and the guys had a great time. On Monday afternoon they're going to go back with me to make an access way into the property so that we can park the truck off the road rather than leaving it on the narrow rutted road in front of the property.

Last weekend, Triny, Pablito and I made a trip into San Pedro. Triny felt the desparate need for a break (she's in the year-end government reporting stage of their school year) and I needed to pick up our new Isuzu quad cab 4x4 truck. It's kind of basic (has no radio or anything remotely electric), but boy is she beautiful. To prove that God really wanted us to have this truck, He blessed us with a Stanley Cup playoff game on the hotel's satellite TV :) On the way home, we stopped by our property to see if it was ready to start building. Well, we didn't know that it had rained very very hard all weekend before we got there; so, we kind of got really stuck. One day, 2 4x4's and a tractor later, the truck escaped to live another day. Our plan to upgrade to tires that will get in and out of mountain villages without a tractor has been moved ahead somewhat...

While I was in Canada, Alma finally launched the beauty and backing classes and did so very well. We didn't get enough students to launch another sewing class, but she quite surprised me by collecting 11 women willing to contribute about $12 each for a 3 month beauty class and $3 for a 3 month baking class. In North American terms, that's a joke, but for our neighborhood that is a significant sacrifice. We subsequently invested about $300 in equipment like a good hair dryer, clippers, various scissors, and large mirror and other supplies needed for the class. It was great to see La Roca filled with mothers and daughters learning how to cut hair on Wednesday. Thursday was better, especially when they gave me a piece of the lasagna that they baked for the class.

The Culture, Creativity and Locality classes continued this week after a 2 week break following a presentation at the center. The kids are happy to be back jumping, tumbling, singing and painting. The difficulty is that we now have a battle for space -- we'll have to design a heavy curtain to split the front 2/3 of the room from the back part so as to allow the ladies to use the kitchen and mirror while leaving the front part for the kids. Computer class picked up where I left it and on Thursday we moved on to spreadsheets (like Excel) from word processing. OK, maybe God hasn't yet granted me the patience to teach computers to people who, well, who maybe aren't ready yet for technology. All the same, they're trying and some things they have grasped very well.

The final good news is that on Monday I finally picked up the building permit for our home. Of course, due to all the rain we've had we can't get in there to do anything because of all the mud.

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.