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August 12 , 2007
Santa Rosa de Copán, Honduras

Life gradually returns to normal... Triny, Pablo and I spent the past month working up in Canada and just returned last weekend.

La Roca survived quite well in our absence. We even finally succeeded with Diego - the youth from La Roca who won the scholarship to attend OXFAM's international youth conference in Sydney, Australia. While in Canada, we were playing long distance tag between the Australian embassy in Mexico City, Diego in Santa Rosa de Copan and myself up in Calgary. We had finally obtained Diego's passport a matter of days before leaving for Canada at the start of July. We had then downloaded a new visa form from the Australian immigration website and had Diego sign three copies of the signature page -- took all copies with us to Canada and couriered them from there, filling out the remainder of the application using the original copy which had an initial error. The embassy promptly notified me that they needed a new version of the application -- it had updated in the week it took us to get to Canada and courier the application to their embassy. Fortunately they allowed us to email the application back to Fredy at Project Moses, who printed the applicatioin and took it to Diego for his signature and then emailed a scanned copy of the new signature page along with newly required photo's of Diego. The next day as we were ready to courier the new package, we discovered that there was also an additional form that we needed completed with Diego's signature, so we repeated the process once more. Rather than follow our instructions and courier Diego's passport and visa up to us at the Calgary office, they couriered it down to Honduras where it sat for over a week until I got there and went searching for it. THE RESULT -- Diego finally has everything he needs to take advantage of his fantastic opportunity.

In the 2 weeks before we left, the boys in Project Moses took their newfound knowledge on the road. First, they hosted a class at one of the local schools where they presented on healthy snacks (as opposed to the standard course of potato chips and pop) and then distributed fruit cups which were gobbled up. The next week was a week of vacation from school and they elected to go back to two of their villages to host day long training sessions on how to produce organic ferilizer, fungicide and inseticides using locally available materials from the villages. Both sessions were well attended and it was very encouraging to see the boys demonstrating one facet of leadership early into the program. Roger and Tim came at the end of that week on an introduction tour for Roger and the boys returned early from their break so that we could all go up to the Puhlapanzak Falls at the north edge of Lake Yajoa. Wow! What a beatiful place.

The boys in Project Moses have had their medical struggles recently and in the absence of government health programs it has been somewhat of an additional cost beyond what I had anticipated. However, there doesn't seem to be anything serious that Laura (the house mother) can't handle so far. We certainly would appreciate prayer for the health of these boys -- especially Christian who is having problems with skin infections or rashes of some sort which we really don't want passed along to the rest of the boys.

The veggies continue to grow along with some newly planted pepper and noni trees that Fredy obtained in my absence. The pepper tree is the source of the common spice and has a good local market for the product once it matures to productive status. The noni is a medicinal fruit which is very strongly promoted in El Salvador as being the cure to everything from cancer to diabetes. It also has a strong local market, in part due to the currently very limited sources of supply. The only significant problem they faced on the agricultural front was some neighbors who continue to cut the barb wire fence to facilitate there trespassing across our farm as a shortcut to wherever it is they go. As a result, another neighbor's cows entered our beans and corn and did some serious damage to the beans. The issue is a bit more serious than you might imagine, as it is something the police refuse to address, talking to the neighbors goes nowhere and in fact another neighbor had to bring out a private security firm to 'talk' to the culprits after having his life seriously threatened after he attempted to talk to them about the problem.

We always welcome your feedback, so feel free to contact me at phil@timko.ca.