October 7, 2014
Santa Rosa de Copan, Honduras
The Moses Project started with the crazy idea of a young man who lived on the streets for a while, with an aunt for a while, even with his girlfriend's family for a while -- all in a desparate attempt to live in a community where he could go to school beyond grade 6. Juan Marquez beat the odds and I met him as he was preparing to graduate from high school. I regret that I don't have a picture of him as his story reminded me a lot of one of the founders of a large successful Canadian coffee chain.
Anyways, he told me we should build a dorm and let kids like him come to town to study. I dismissed the suggestion promptly as images of boarding school horror stories and large donor budgets flashed through my mind. It wasn't until several months later as I was trying to coordinate a water project for a village in the middle of nowhere that I realized he was right. Various doctors and staff from the BCMA were sponsoring a project to provide water to a dry village located a brutal walk up the side of a mountain (but with beautiful views). None of the men in the village could read or write and I was trying to be responsible for pipes and cement and bricks, etc. that we were sending in by truck and then by horse. It dawned on me that if that village had a good leader, it would go a long ways to improving the health and standards of living in that community. The picture to the right shows our welcome committee on one of the site visits...
As the story that came out in the Saskatoon Express today mentions, the idea was helped considerably by a hurricane. A group of doctors and business men and women had come down for the inauguration of that little water project and when I first broached the idea with them, it kind of blew over like a kite in the wind. But when a hurricane interrupted the trip from the capital city to a coastal city the day before everybody was to fly home, we holed up in a hotel near the airport. With nothing else to do, I had a captive audience and they began to add to the vision. Some bought in with their wallets. Given the newspaper's focus on my role, I want to give credit to three people that made it happen: Christiane, Tim and Dr. Brian.
Christiane was the first to say "I'll commit $x to the idea and I want you guys to match me." She followed through. She hassled friends and family and along with her own personal contributions, raised a ton of money for the project. She brought in the Universal Outreach Foundation who donated a significant amount of matching funds to build the "dorm" envisioned by Juan Marquez. Dr. Brian was a key partner in the outset of this project as he also used and abused his many contacts to get people committed to helping the project along with him. And Tim was the crazy guy willing to jump in head first and figure it out later. Without Tim's pushing and cajoling from the Canadian side and taking visiting supporters around on his wild trips through the countryside to let them taste firsthand the life these boys were trying to improve, the project would never likely have gone beyond talk and commitments.
Now we're at a crossroads. In two weeks another project supporter and I will attend the last graduation under our organization's direct control. Next year we start to merge the project with the local Catholic Church. If you knew me before I went to Honduras, this would surprise you; but I'm excited about the future of the project and committed to the belief that this is the road to travel from here on. They already operate several schools in Santa Rosa (as is common in Central America) and have the ability to operate one right on the farm at the project.
Here's my new goal!!! (I say "my" simply because I haven't authorized the dollar value with the 3CM Board and therefore shouldn't really speak on their behalf.) I want to raise $200,000 to build a proper school on the farm and a good shop (for trade school). It's far more efficient to transport a few teachers and instructors than it is to be trucking 30-50 boys over the mountain every day. The church has the ability to staff and operate the schools. We have lots of experience in construction and contacts developed locally since 2002. With your help, we can continue to improve Project Moses and help those boys change their world. My objective is still to put the organizations that focus on handing out stuff out of business in that little corner of the world. Not because "stuff" is bad, but I want this corner to be strong and smart enough to look after themselves. Join us.
Why is your support so essential? Each of the boys in this project carry their own story. Many have never had a bed before - especially one on which only THEY were expected to sleep. Many know what hunger really means. Most have experienced severe violence to some immediate family member if not to themselves. MOST IMPORTANTLY, most never thought life would change.
When these boys complete their time in the Moses Project, they leave with confidence, self respect and a lot of abilities. They know how to look you in the eye and say "Yes, I can do that. Select me."
What can you do to help? As always, this project survives and thrives on the support of extraordinary people like you. 3CM does not keep any of your donation to cover overheads in Canada. Here are some examples of how you can be a part of the solution in Honduras:
- Some give $25 per month, others are able to give much more, but we really need to increase our committed monthly support base. Consider joining our monthly auto-debit supporters to support these boys.
- Sponsor a set of bedding & towels for $50
- Sponsor an egg laying chicken for $75 (this buys the chicken & looks after it for one year)
- Sponsor a batch of 100 meat chickens from purchaser through processing for $350
We appreciate your prayers, and if you have any great ideas or are willing to share your wealth large or small with these future leaders that are rising up in rural Honduras, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, check out our Donate page to get involved. Also see the Donate page to find out how Alberta residents can get 50% of their donation back (or simply double up your donation...).