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February 18, 2008
Santa Rosa de Copán, Honduras

14 AND COUNTING! The new students are in the program and we are off and running. Why do I refer to "counting" above? Well, one of the boys from last year didn't return this year and the youngest of the new group simply didn't have the heart to stay. Unfortunately, the father to last year's boy believes that now that his son has one year of carpentry training, he should stay at home and help in his father's carpentry shop. It's tough to lose Carlos as he was one of the boys that thoroughly enjoyed life last year and helped to bring a smile to everybody that met him.

Taking Milton home, the youngest boy of this year's selection, was tough as well. I had to look into the eyes of Milton's grandmother, who has raised him, and inform her that Milton just wasn't going to stay. He had eaten very little over the past week and while he got along well with the other boys, he spent much of his time along crying for his family. To his companions he kept claiming that if somebody didn't take him home, he wouldn't simply sneak off on his own. Milton's grandma desparately wanted her grandson to make the family proud and be the first to succeed and the lost look of disappointment in her eyes was hard to take. I had left the decision to return Milton up to our Honduran staff and they believed that it was best to let Milton return home and find another participant while we were still able to insert somebody new in time to start junior high and the trade school program.

Reina and Ermes (the house parents), have gotten off to an excellent start with the boys and house and we are very grateful to have them. It is quite unusual to find a man willing to help his wife in the chores of the house and even preparing food -- he's a welder, not a cook -- but Ermes has proven to be a strong contribution to the team.

Fredy and I went back to interview 3 more candidates yesterday, Sunday, but found that two were too young and the other was not ready to leave home yet. One of the young boys will hopefully join us next year as he is the first boy I've met to be in grade 9 at 13 years of age. Each weekend he walks for over an hour to go to Dulce Nombre to study with the nuns -- he is proving his commitment to improving himself. Speaking of nuns, Fredy and I were able to spend an hour with the head nun from the distance school in Dulce Nombre. It was really encouraging to listen to her speak about the struggles she and her family when she was a child and struggling to find an education. We believe that this is a great contact to establish as we will likely be able to gain their support in selecting "scholarship" winners from among their students at the end of each year to join The Moses Project the following year.

We hit a glitch with La Roca, but are all up and running at full speed again. We had hired a young graduate from the social work program to take over as program coordinator at La Roca starting January 15th. Unfortunately I returned home from Canada on January 13th and on the 14th she informed me that she would not be able to assume her duties due to complications in her family. That left us with nobody to look after the youth center as I was busy getting things ready for the launch of this year's Moses Project. Fortunately, we were able to obtain several resumes and selected a teacher, Luordes, (who had applied to work with the Moses Project) to take over the task of overseeing the center. She has been fantastic in establishing a great relationship with the kids that come and we look forward to having her initiate activities and programs that contribute to the development of these youth above and beyond the art programs that are presented through the much appreciated collaboration of the Historic Society for Santa Rosa de Copán. Since Luordes will have the younger kids and adolescent girls well covered, we are also looking forward to Diego putting together some sports programs for the adolescent boys on the sports court attached to the center.

Donations are received by and receipted through 3CM who maintains the appropriate charitable organization status and reporting with the Canadian government. In addition to sponsoring the operations for one or more of the boys, we have sponsorship opportunities for capital projects on the farm such as the dormitory, the storage and processing shed and the farm keepers house.

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