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May 19, 2008
Santa Rosa de Copán, Honduras

We traded them all to the military for a good Jeep! Not really, we were just fortunate that the 112th Infantry Battalion here in Santa Rosa sent a Captain and a Sargeant to speak to the boys. The captain had some really good points to share about leadership and discipline and the boys enjoyed lunch with the two soldiers after the session.

On more physical matters, the boys have been busy on the training farm. Not only are they planting veggies, making organic fertilizer (I think I'm their largest buyer of fertilizer), watering orange trees and veggies alike, canning fruit and making jam, but also they have been working on a low-water-consumption irrigation project. This project has been jointly sponsored by the North Vancouver Rotary Club, a couple of the younger classes from the St. Ignatius school in Winnipeg and a couple from Cochrane. Thank you very much to each of the young students in St. Ignatius who made this possible! Of course, we are not yet finished as we still have to connect the pump and the distribution lines, but that will not take long. Then the boys can see the benefits of developing systems that preserve the scarce sources of water that we have in the region (hard to imagine with the rain storms that fall sometimes).

We are currently investigating the opportunity to transfer the agricultural component of the project, as well as the location for the residence (that we are planning to start this year) over to a farm on the other side of Santa Rosa de Copán. The advantages of this other property are: soil quality, space for future expansion, excellent (and controllable) water source and a more secure zone. The disadvantage is that we need to raise the funds promptly to purchase it so that we do not cause too significant of a delay in the construction of the residence which we will need functional by January, 2010.

The youth center, La Roca, is a busy place these days as well. We recently signed an agreemet with the Department of Education to allow them to use the facility for a kindergarten in the mornings. Their registration exceeded their capacity in the other facility in the area by 20 students. The difficulty that they have had since starting to operate at La Roca is very similar to the struggle that we have witnessed first hand in the rural schools -- attendance. Many days no students show up; other days 3 or 4 come. It is quite difficult for the teachers and the school authorities who are responsible for the distribution of desks and chairs, etc., to manage, but we trust that this is an opportunity that will continue to develop and grow. It is an excellent use of our investment in physical buildings that otherwise sit idle in the mornings (despite numerous efforts to host programs for mothers while the youth are in school).

Speaking of mothers, Honduras celebrates Mother's Day on the same weekend as Canada. The difference is that down here that requires more than some crafts made at school for mom to hang on the fridge. We were very grateful for a couple decorated baskets of food supplies that were donated by the Western Bank of Honduras and Supermarket 20 Menos as well as a delicious cake donated by a local bakery. These donations came via the efforts of Lourdes visiting a lot of businesses with letters requesting their help in our celebration of the big day. One of the 12 year old girls who is a regular participant at La Roca was our master of ceremonies -- a ceremony that included a drama, a gymnastics display, a game, prizes and, of course, cake.

As always, we encourage you contribute to the development of youth here in Honduras. Whether it be a $35 monthly sponsorship for a participant in The Moses Project, a major $30,000 -capital share in the building project at the farm, or sponsoring a particular need like the children from St. Ignatius did, we encourage you to put your blessings to use to change the future forever. Check out our Fundraising Campaign or Donate pages to get involved.

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