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October 29 , 2007
Santa Rosa de Copán, Honduras

Well, we're certainly not lacking in excitement these days. Diego returned from Sydney, Australia, quite thrilled at his experience seeing the world outside of Honduras. If you've read prior news pages, you'll know that Diego is a 19 year old youth who has been involved with our youth center, La Roca, since its inception. He was selected by Oxfam to attend an international youth conference in Sydney; Oxfam paid his travel & accomodations once there in Australia and one of our supporters covered the costs on our end for the numerous trips to the capital city to get ID and travel documents. The focus was on youth participation in community development and we would like to build on that by getting Diego involved in working with younger kids in a sports program at La Roca. It will cost us about $100 per month and we're looking for a sponsor for that role.

Thanks to response from the last email, we enjoyed taking a load of produce from the Moses Project up to the girls orphanage by the hospital. We had frijoles (beans) and coffee from the farm, cabbage, oranges, manderins & starfruit from the yard behind the house, 3 kinds of marmelade the boys made from oranges, manderin & guayava from the house yard and packages of candy also made by the boys from manderins. We were hoping to have corn ready for another delivery yesterday, but the rainy weather has slowed the process down. Hopefully this coming week we'll be able to deliver corn, peppers and some cucumbers as well as some more marmelade.

We also received confirmation that 4 of the 8 boys in the Moses Project have been awarded government scholarships for their work in grade 6 (as a result of them now being back in school). Junior, Luis, Darwin & Orbin were each recognized for their academic prowess.

And finally, we had two experiences with the local police over the past week: one good and one, well, not so good. First the good news is that the police finally raided the house being the farm, one we suspect as housing the theives that have regularily raided our veggies, our frijoles and our corn. They found a virtual hardware store of stolen tools along with corn, etc. We left it alone as it's rather hard to identify stolen corn...

The other police experience involved one of our youth. In a case of "wrong place / wrong time", Luis was picked up by the police last Sunday afternoon at 2pm on suspicion of theft of a cell phone. Luis did not have ID and the phone number he provided to contact the residence was incorrect -- he missed by one digit. Finally at 8pm I went walking the streets of 'uptown' Santa Rosa to find out why Luis hadn't returned for supper. I even checked the emergency ward at the hospital. Finally, I returned home to print up 4 copies of a "Missing Person" sheet with Luis' picture and data to deliver to various groups of police that I had seen during my search. I returned at 10:30pm with my posters complete and couldn't find any of the police I'd seen earlier, so I went to the police station. They assured me they'd do everything possible to locate Luis. What they didn't tell me is that he was in a cell at the back of the police station -- the guy up front wasn't aware of that. The next morning at 7am the police called me at home to inform me that they had Luis at the station and I immediately picked up Freddy and went down to retrieve him. Again, the officer at the front desk (different guy) had no idea what we were talking about and went back to check. He returned with a story about a fine, etc., that Luis would face for vagrancy as they had picked him up late at night. When he finally allowed us to see Luis, we discovered that vagrancy had nothing to do with it and that Luis was basically being held as a suspect. We talked with the orignal officer that picked him up as well as the inspector in charge and Luis was soon on his way with us. Apart from hungry and tired (no food or sleep since noon the day before), Luis was non the worse for the experience. Subsequently, we created laminated ID cards for each of the youth with our logo, their picture and home & cell phone numbers for contact and they are instructed not to leave our neighborhood without them.

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