May 30, 2010
Santa Rosa de Copán, Honduras
I started this update just after Mother's Day... so Happy Mother's Day to all the moms that follow our projects here in Honduras.
We are focussing this update on family news. First off, the time has arrived for me to swap travel plans. For the past 8 years I have lived and worked in Honduras, flying up to Canada every 3+/- months to do consulting work which helped pay the bills. As of the end of July, my family and I are moving up to Canada -- from where I will be returning every 3+/- months to Santa Rosa to maintain my role as chair of the board of directors for APROCOLA , supervising the Moses Project and the youth center, La Roca.
Located in Canada, I will be working 1/2 time with 3CM to strengthen the levels of support for operations in Honduras. The other 1/2 time will be a return to the consulting work that I was involved in prior to leaving Canada in 2002.
Taking my place as Executive Director of Aprocola will be Raul Lopez. Raul has served on the board of Aprocola for the past 3 years and for the past 18 months has been involved in operations as a part-time counsellor for the participants of the Moses Project. On May 15th Raul started as Assistant Director and on July 15th he will assume my role.
Raul is married to Jenny and they have a little 3 year old boy named Jafeth. I first met Raul while he was working for the BGA bank, from which he moved to the Spanish foreign aid office, subsequently integrated into the Santa Rosa development commission (which is a joint effort of the local municipality and the Spanish foreign aid). After some time there, he transferred to a local micro-finance operation called Pilahr and then went on to manage the launch of the Santa Rosa SOS Children's Village -- a different stle of orphanage under the umbrella of the Belgium organization SOS Kinderdorf International. After getting the village up and running (and for reasons dealing with "remote control") Raul fell back on his university education in international business, left the SOS and became a professor at the local Catholic University in the area of marketing, with about half of his time alloted to coordinating the counselling and spiritual development activities of the university. (you can click on his picture to download his CV in Spanish in pdf format.)
At such a critical time of transition, I was grateful that 3 members of the 3CM flew down to join the board of APROCOLA in the final interview and selection process. We believe God has directed us to the person who will not just maintain what we have started, but who will keep pushing it forward. Raul obviously understands the local culture and technical environment (legal and accounting) better than I do. This is a transition to improve the future of our operations in Honduras: Raul more capable of directing operations locally and myself strengthening the support on the Canadian side of the equation.
The second bit of family news is very exciting. One of our Project Moses participants, Cristian Henriquez, who graduated last year and joined us as an employee in the project this year was recently notified that he had won a place in the OXFAM international youth conference. This is actually a 3 year partnership that he joins, highlighted by a 10 day trip to India for the kick-off conference. The focus of this OXFAM program is youth leadership for community development and social justice. They had over 1,600 applicants from 127 countries and Cristian was one of 300 selected.
Oxfam covers his travel and accomodations cost for the trip to India and we found a sponsor willing to help Cristian with 50% of his costs to get documents like passport, visas, etc. It's important that it costs Cristian something in order to give him incentive to take advantage of all the participation has to offer. Our prior experience shows that when all costs are covered, even a great youth takes it for granted and loses some of their drive to continue the participation after the incredible experience of travelling to another country.
The 3rd bit of family news isn't as happy as the other two. Lourdes, who looks after our youth center - La Roca, had a little baby boy born premature in April. As a result of complications and less than stellar medical conditions in the local hospital, her little boy did not survive beyond 3 weeks. We ask that you keep Lourdes in your prayers as this is still a very tough struggle for her and her young family.
The Moses Project continues to operate very well, with 23 boys battling each day to learn and survive the tough program that they are committed to. We have a great group this year and are looking forward to moving the 12 boys out of the 2 classrooms-turned-bedrooms on the first floor up to their new proper bedrooms on the second floor within the next 2 weeks.
La Roca also continues to push ahead. In the temporary absence of Lourdes, we have hired Melissa to look after operations there. She is a school teacher who lives in the neighbourhood and has done a fantastic job of stepping in and taking on the challenge of inspiring 20 - 30 kids each day to develop their knowledge, their social skills and have fun. Of her own initiative, she put on a great Mothers' Day celebration for the moms of the kids that are regulars at the center (about 50 moms showed up with their kids).
Here's a summary of our financial objectives at the moment:
- $3,500 to complete payments on framing and roofing the 2nd floor
- $1,000 to complete the three bedrooms for the boys to move from the classrooms.
- $20,000 to complete the remaining 6 rooms upstairs for future program participation expansion and to host those visiting in October.
- $3-5,000 to build and install the cabinets in the two kitchens. We already have most of the wood in rough form as we had to cut down an oak tree to build the residence.
- $12,750 each quarter for payments on the land purchase (drops to $5,700 at year-end)
- $8,000 per month in operations for staff, food, transport, materials, education, etc.
We appreciate your prayers and if you have any great ideas or are willing to share your blessings with these future leaders that we are raising up from rural Honduras, please contact us at email@example.com. Alternatively, check out our Fundraising Campaign or Donate pages to get involved. See the Donate page to find out how Alberta residents can get 50% of their donation back (or simply double up your donation...).
We always welcome your feedback, so feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.