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May 5 , 2007
Santa Rosa de Copán, Honduras

We are very proud of Diego -- one of the youth who has been involved in La Roca since its inception. In April Diego was notified that he had won a spot in an international youth conference in Sydney, Australia sponsored by OXFAM. Diego had spent several evenings at our kitchen table preparing an application for this event and succeeded in beating out over 2,700 other applicants from over 150 countries.

This conference focusses on youth participation in the development process and Diego is one of 4 youth from Honduras who will make the trip. The picture of the tank and soldiers was the sight that greated us at the entrance to the capital city, Teguc., this Monday when we went to try to spring free Diego's ID card so that he can proceed to obtain his passport, visas, etc. to participate in this event. The taxis had effectively shut down the capital the previous Friday and vowed to do so again on Monday. The president finally decided to use somewhat drastic measures to stop the chaos... It worked and we had an effective day in the city.

While OXFAM is providing the airline tickets and looking after him when he arrives in Australia, there are still costs for things like his passport and visas for the US and Australia. I expect that the cost for Diego to be able to go will be in the range of $400 and we'd be very grateful if somebody felt it appropriate to help us sponsor these costs.

This morning we took a trip (the boys in the Moses Project and I) to the Copan Ruinas. It was the first time that any of the boys had seen the 1,500 year old ruins of a great civilization that existed here in Western Honduras and they were very happy to escape the busy schedule and see something they had only read about in their school textbooks.

Everybody returned from Easter break excited. We were in turn excited when in the wake of Easter we showed the movie "The Passion of Christ" and 5 of the 8 boys made conscious decisions to accept the sacrifice of Christ for them personally. Faith is not a requirement to participate in our program, but we would be lousy hypocrits not to not believe that their faith is as important to their destiny as ours is to us.

The boys were excited in part that their veggies were growing and they were starting to see that their cooperative would soon start to generate income. While some need the basics like new shoes (these ARE growing boys, after all), it seems that their wish list is very similar to youth at home -- cell phones. We finally succeeded in arranging a soccer game between the boys of The Moses Project (MP) against the boys from La Roca. If I remember correctly, La Roca won by 1 goal in the end, but they also had a couple years extra experience on average over the MP boys.

Fredy has completed the first module in the agro-component of the program, teaching natural and chemical fertilizers as well as the basics of soil clensing and preparation. The boys are on their second planting cycle on the small gardens they planted in the back yard of the rented house. We had an unfortunate experience on the farm where all of the radishes were stolen on the night before they were to be harvested. We knew from the start that the farm is located in a haven of thieves, but I was still slightly shocked that this would occur when we have a guardian living there not far from the veggies themselves (and no, I do not believe the guardian was involved). In the trade school component of The Moses Project, the boys are separated into teams building different types of furniture. The director of the trade school is very happy with their level of maturity and eagerness to learn. That's a good sign.

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