December 5, 2010
Christmas is coming... in Honduras just like in Canada and the rest of the world. The traditions are a bit different and the average person's capacity to participate in the grand shop-fest varies widely. BUT, the smiles are the common thread - even among the thousands of kids and families that spend the few months surrounding Christmas climbing through the mountains in the rain to pick coffee. Of the 23 boys that went through the Moses Project this year, I believe 23 of them are among the throngs picking coffee, helping augment their family's income in the brief period that provides the majority of their resources for the coming year.
We had another FIRST in October of this year! While it was the 2nd graduation of our three year program, it was the 1st time that a group physically stayed right with the boys for the week that they came to work. Apart from the tasks of painting walls, building a ping-pong table and repairing a foosball table, the group was able to experience the hour these boys get up for prayer and breakfast (6:30am), experience the hour these boys return
from school at night (10:30pm) and join in the excitement of the first ride in our new school bus. You bet! Thanks to a 50/50 deal between Canadian and American sponsors, we were able to purchase the bus that we presented in the last update. This bus takes these boys to school at night rather than the multiple trips in the back of our little pickup. It might seem like a small deal, but showing up at school with your shirt, hair and backpack dry as opposed to wet is actually a big deal and given that the little mini-vans that were available to contract transport couldn't make the trip, this bus is a tremendous blessing.
Graduation took place at the end of the week with that group of visitors and 7 boys confidently addressed the assembled crowd of family, friends, board members and visitors (local and foreign). It is fantastic to see the transformation in these young men over the course of the 3 years that they were with us. As with last year, we selected one of the graduates, Marvin, to join staff to help us manage the farm and assist in classes with smaller groups are required by the instructors.
He joins Ayurin, who returns for the second year after graduating while Cristian moves on. Cristian left with a bang -- finishing his contract by going to India to attend Oxfam's tri-annual international youth congress as 1 of only 2 Hondurans selected among 300 youth worldwide for scholarships to attend this incredible event. Getting visas on time to make his flight was quite an ordeal, but God had a miracle or two in store for Cristian and I'm extatic that he was able to experience an entirely different culture and join hands with youth from all over the world that are trying to change their corner of the planet just like him.
While the group was here, we all piled into the front and back of a pickup and went and visited a couple of the boys that had graduated in 2009. Both boys showed us electrical house installations that they had done as a result of their training with us. One boy is now arranging with a friend to 'electrify' a community in the mountains behind his small community and the other boy got a job as "the cable guy" for his town. It was cool to see that electricity had come to Leonardo's village while he was with us and somebody had hooked up their house. Unfortunately, a couple light bulbs cost their family about a month's wages... each month. So they disconnected it. Leonardo returned home, pulled all the wire back to the power pole and re-installed it correctly, dropping the monthly bill by 85%.
Right near the end of the program year, our program coordinator (Fredy Torres) recieved an offer of a full-time position with the national university and left us to pursue it. While it certainly impacts us to lose him - especially given that Juan is currently in spain obtaining his masters degree in food security (...security of supply), we wish him all the best and we express our appreciation to Elias who had been working with us first as a practicum student and then taking Juan's place upon his departure and finally looking after the entire agricultural component for the last part of the year. Raul and the board of Aprocola are now looking for an experienced agronomist to head that component of the project and Elias will likely stay on part time to provide instruction in food processing and animal husbandry (Elias is an agro-industrial engineer like Fredy & Juan).
Speaking of animals, we now have fish, sheep and rabbits in addition to chickens on the farm. The fish (those that aren't eaten by kingfishers - birds) will be ready for the market just in time for Easter -- the largest fish consumption period of the year. Of course, the boys had to give up their mini soccer bowl to the fish project, so we're looking at leveling off the original planned sports field above the building so that they're not kicking the soccer ball in the courtyard with windows...
Update on 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
$12,750 each quarter for payments on the land purchase (drops to $5,700 at year-end)
- Paid for 2010
- $5,700 for the quarterly payment on the land.
- In 2 years, we have paid over 85% of the purchase of the 55 acre farm, with 8 reduced quarterly payments remaining.
- $20,000 to complete the remaining 6 rooms upstairs for future program participation expansion and to host those visiting in October.
- We have a sponsor willing to match $1:$1 to meet this target.
- The majority of this has been received. Still short a couple thousand dollars.
$8,000 for a 1997 International diesel short school bus
- $3-5,000 to build and install the cabinets in the two kitchens. We have most of the wood in rough form as we had to cut down an oak tree to build the residence.
- $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 in rural Honduras, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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...).