Thursday, May 28, 2009


This morning at 2:25 a.m., an earthquake hit the northern part of Honduras. It measured 7.1 on the Richter scale. That's a big one. It was felt here by most people. Not me. I slept right through the whole thing.

I was quite annoyed when I woke up to found we had no power again. Having no power has become an every day thing. I was going about my business the best I could without lights, when one of the children came down a little before 7:00. I was still in my robe. He asked if I was ok. I thought to myself, "while I am normally dressed long before 7:00, just because I am not, doesn't mean I am not ok. I finally had to call Karen to find out what he was talking about. It was then I learned of the earthquake.

The employees teased me about sleeping through it.

Our power has not been on long. I know very few details right now. You probably know more than I do. Aftershocks are expected. I am sure there is a lot of devastation and destruction as so many houses are unstable anyway.

Marc and I, the group from Middle Tennessee State, the employees, staff and children at Casa de Esperanza are all fine. Praise God. Please lift up prayers for this country.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Beans, Rice and Tortillas

Today was the first day to serve hot food at the dump. There was a lot of logistics in doing this.

God is so good. In February, we received a container with medicines and food and all sorts of good stuff on it, including two really big pots. God knew we would need those two pots before we knew we would. Before Trey raised $11,000.00 for the dump. Before we started to do a better menu than bologna sandwiches. Well, at least that was one detail with which we did not have to worry.

A lady in our church cooked the beans and rice in these huge pots. Another neighbor made 600 tortillas. I bought beans and rice last week. Yesterday, I bought plastic bowls and spoons and fruit juice.

Our food had been promised at 9:00 this morning and it was ready as promised. We left for the dump. I had been anxious about this all morning and had prayed more than usual about our trip to the dump this morning.

At first, everyone lined up as our team began to serve the food. They had quite a serving line going. After receiving food, everyone walked over to the other truck and got a drink. All was well, into the people in the food line all rushed over for drinks. For a couple of minutes, there was pushing and shoving and grabbing. And then all the drinks were gone, with many not receiving one. It was not suppose to happen that way. Unfortunately, a few of the men got three or four drinks and some of the women and children got none. All the while, the food line continued to move perfectly.

Later, my dear husband prayed for us all to have compassion and not be judgemental. Not one of us know about living in survival mode. It was hot and we were thirsty and we all had had plenty to drink before we left the house this morning. Most of those people had not had anything to drink today and maybe even yesterday. We really don't know what we would do in the same circumstances. Things like this happen once in a while and we have to learn from it and improve the situation.

Everyone was grateful for hot beans and rice and tortillas. We definitely will feed hot food again, possibly in two more weeks, but it is clear a few more logistics have to be worked out. And Marc and I will not be able to serve the hot food by ourselves.

Again, I want to thank everyone that donated to the dump ministry. We need your prayers for this ministry and for ourselves as we continue to work out the details.


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Olimpia and Real Espana

National Stadium

One of the policemen with his body shield and don't you love that razor wire separating the fans from the field.

The crowd (or part of it)

Both teams during the national anthem

The beginning of the game

When groups are here, Sunday is typically a day off. By the time we go to church and eat lunch, in most places, there is not a lot we can get done. We usually go to the Valley of Angels for shopping and coffee and then go to Santa Lucia. It is a great day and always fun.

We knew a couple of weeks ago the Honduran superbowl of soccer (futbol) would be played while this Tennessee group is here. Marc emailed them and they responded quickly saying they would like to go to the soccer game. Olimpia, one of the Tegucigalpa teams, and Real Espana, a team from San Pedro Sula, was in this game for the national championship.

We went to church here in Santa Ana and then headed for town. Even though, all roads to the stadium were closed, Marc found a way, and I followed, and we ended up about a block from the stadium.

We ate at Carnitas first, which is a true Honduran dining experience which we try to share with as many people as possible. Carnitas is directly across the street from the stadium. After we ordered and before we ate, a parade came by. All of us, the Americans, jumped up and ran out to watch the parade.

After we ate, I asked Marc to take something to the car for me. I was standing with the group as we waited on Marc, and a reporter and a cameraman walked up and asked if I spoke spanish. I said not much. He said English will do. He asked if we liked soccer and then what our favorite team was and we said Olimpia. He said "let's really hear it." We are standing there yelling "Olimpia, Olimpia, Olimpia" in front of a tv camera when Marc walked around the corner. He slinked back a bit further and pretended he did not know us. We probably got edited out anyway.

We went into the stadium an hour and a half before the game began. Oh what fun. People are lined up just buying their tickets. There are parades around the field complete with clowns. Nicole, I know you hated missing the Honduran clowns since you love them so. There were hundreds of policeman circling the field and in the stands. The ones on the field all had body shields. I was afraid until the first goal was scored and then I understood the body shields. There was also a police line with shields separating the two teams' fans.

I have never seen anything like it. And I lived in St. Louis and saw how Rams' fans are. Can't even compare. The noise level continued to rise all evening. It started loud and grew to deafening. Not that I minded. I got right into the spirit and was yelling Olimpia along with everyone else. There was one section that jumped up and down the whole game. I was really glad I was not in that section. I could not have jumped for almost three hours.

We were sitting in a really fun section. The people to my right would try to start a wave. Once time they finally got it going and it went all the way around the stadium four times. Olimpia scored during that wave. That is when beer cans, soda bottles, toilet paper rolls and many many other things began to fly. The police raised their body shield to protect themselves. Then fireworks went off. In the stands. Evidently, this was not unusual because no one reacted but us Gringos.

At the end of the first half, Olimpia was leading 1-0, and continued to do so most of the second half. When Espana scored, to tie, the noise increased again. The game went into overtime. Early in overtime, Olimpia scored again. Again the noise level increased. We were just as excited and yelling as much as anyone there. Olimpia managed to hold the lead the rest of the game. At that moment, the stadium really erupted.

It was a great day and everyone had fun. It was not even too crazy getting out of there and back to the cars.


Except for Doris, Pamela is our oldest girl at Casa de Esperanza.  Doris is so far behind mentally and socially.   She plays well with Katty and Maryuri.   Pamela plays with all the girls and, most of the time, is kind and helpful to them.    But we all know how wonderful it is to have a friend our own age.  Pamela is enjoying having Linda here.  And Linda is enjoying Pamela.

These girls are almost always seen playing outside together or playing checkers together.  Or just being, as girls like to do.  They gladly stopped and posed for this picture as amigas.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Food Distribution in Sector Ocho

Leaving the market with a truck load of food for the hungry

A few of things that were in each bag. There was also cabbage, carrots and potatos, among other things.

Walking up the hill with food bags

Marc handing one of the bags to a woman.

High up on the hillside.

Wednesday a small group from Middle Tennessee State University arrived. A group of mostly first timers and they arrived with hearts and minds ready to work.

Yesterday while I purchased fruits and vegetables for Casa, they purchased fresh fruits and vegetables for a food distribution. We went to the warehouse and packed food bags and then headed to Sector Ocho.

It is always a good thing to give food to hungry people.

I watched as three filthy little girls, who barely had clothes to wear, squealed in delight as food was received. I am sure in that village there were many more squeals of delight.

Members of the group walked high up the mountain to distribute to as many people as possible.

It was another great day in Honduras.


Friday, May 22, 2009


Yesterday, as I started up the mountain after getting Rosy, it started raining about half way. By the time I reached Santa Ana, it was clear it had rained hard and long. Before I headed off for the next task on my list, I ran down to the house. As I did, I checked the rain gauge. Two inches and still raining.

I almost could swim to the bathroom instead of walk. The mess I saw did nothing to ease my already existing headache. We had about seven new leaks. I put a pan under each leak and it took all my pans and a couple of bowls as well.

As frustrating as all this was, my bed was dry. My clothes were dry, except the ones I was wearing. My food was dry. I had many things for which to be thankful. There were many, many people who have no roof or have dirt floors or houses full of holes. There was not a chance that they or their belongings were dry.

It is just the beginning of the rainy season and we need the rain. Please pray for all those people who have no dry place to be and pray that we can help as many as possible.


P.S. It actually ended up raining four inches yesterday.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Pamela is in the red shirt.
Dorian took Pamela to the doctor a couple of weeks ago. The doctor said she did not have to come back. That was good news.

Pamela has been a bit hestitant to walk on that foot. The past few days she has worn two shoes and is trying to walk on the whole foot, not just the ball. She is walking better every day. We are so glad.

In this picture, she is jumping on the trampoline with some of the other girls. She hasn't been on the trampolin in almost four months. She was jumping and laughing and having a great time. It was music to my ears.

Thanks for your prayers during Pamela's recovery.


Monday, May 18, 2009

Spanish Classes

I have been in Honduras over a year and a half. I know a lot more spanish than I did when I came. But to me, it is not coming to me as fast I thought it would or thought it should. I know lots of words, mostly nouns. I can't put together good sentences. And forget about grammatically correct. I understand far more than I speak, but even then, too many times, I only get part of the conversation. Or sometimes none of it. It is a long ride to Teleton with Sandra. Once we get beyond the niceties, it is pretty much a silent ride.

I decided I was going to change that. The lady that owns the bakery in Santa Ana has helped some other people with spanish. I stopped there Saturday and arranged to start taking spanish classes. I started today.

Not only do I need to do this, it is going to be fun. There were times I wondered what I was doing. Like when I had to get up and write the alphabet on the white board. It has been a really long time since I have had to write my answers on the board.

I am going to work hard at this. I am going to conquer this and it is not going to conquer me.

When we stopped at 5:00, my brain was numb. The walk home was very refreshing and I did not think all the way home. In spanish or english.


Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Mango Man

Yesterday our friend Daisy came to the back gate selling mangos. Marc loves to buy mangos, especially from Daisy. It not only helps her earn a little money, but Marc loves to share them with the kids.

When he came walking up with mangos and a knife after naptime, everyone stopped what they were doing and came running. They huddled around him while he cut each child a piece of mango.

He is not only abuelo to our Camille and soon to be Haley, he is abuelo to all these kids as well.


Friday, May 15, 2009

Rosy Was a Rose

Rosy the Rose
In Honduras, Mother's Day is probably the biggest holiday. All the schools have a huge celebration, with games and food. Last Friday I went to the one at Teleton and Karen went to the one in the kindergarten. Then on Saturday, Karen went with the elementary kids to the one at the school.

Rosy's school tries to have their celebrations at different times from the other schools so that parents that have a child in Manos Felices and in regular school can attend both. That celebration was today.

Rosy had to be at school an hour later today. We decided not to take her to the bus stop, just to take her to school. We let the school know that yesterday. Rosy was so confused this morning. She did not really understand why we didn't leave at 5:45 and why we drove right by the bus stop.

We got to school and only the students were allowed in so they could make those final preparations. The moms waited outside. Most were decked out in their Sunday best. I have never seen that many parents at any other event at that school.

All of the kids were in the program. Some danced. Some did a little skit. Rosy was in the skit. There was a big caterpillar and some clouds. After it rained, the roses bloomed. Rosy was one of the roses. I thought she was the cutest rose.

It was a fun day and the teachers and staff at Manos Felices worked hard to make this day special.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

I Thought I Outgrew That

When my children were born, and then started school, I threw myself into everything they did. I was passionate about it. Being room mom, driving to gymnastic meets and dance lessons. Getting them to their appointments. I juggled a huge schedule and loved every minute of it.

When Ryan got his driver's license, my load lightened some, but there was still plenty to do. By the time Nicole got her license, there was not near as much. When she left for college, I realized there would be no more Friday night football games or Monday afternoon cross country meets. No more running all over town to buy project supplies and costumes and formals. No more fundraising. Yeah for no more fundraising. I thought I outgrew all that. I was a bit sad to see that era come to an end. I thought I would miss it, but I didn't.

Five years later, I find myself sitting in meetings at a school, having parent-teacher conferences, running all over town to buy lace and pink thread, helping Karen scramble to come up with all the pieces to a costume, attending programs, getting kids to appointments, driving to the bus stop. And even participating in fundraising. Doesn't God have a great sense of humor.

Guess what? I am still loving every minute of it.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

One Step Closer

The IHNFA rules state that we can not take children in any house unless there is some kind of partition around the kitchen, with a gate or a door.  I know from personal experience when you turn your head for just a second, how quickly a small child can reach up and touch a hot burner.  I am sure Nathan remembers, too.

That was one thing we were lacking in the new cottage.  A couple of weeks ago we had Armando, the man that builds the bunk beds and other furniture for us, come and measure the area we needed partitioned.  He gave us quote.  He is nearly always a little high, for Honduras at least, but we are always so pleased with his work that we feel like it is worth the little extra.

The unit came today.  And it was well worth every cent we paid for it.  It is a beautiful, durable piece of furniture.  

I was not home, when it came.  Karen called and, with excitement in her voice, told me how beautiful it was.  I could not wait to see it.  When I got home, I went running in to see it.  It is ever bit as beautiful as Karen described.

Siomara was just as eager to show me as anyone else.  The new cottage is her home.  She was beaming with pride as we walked in together to see this masterpiece.  It has the counter top which provides the much needed work space and serving space.  The side inside the kitchen has shelves for storage.  It is tall enough to keep the children out of the kitchen.  

With the kitchen partitioned, we are one step closer to having more children.  And my pictures do not do it justice.


Monday, May 11, 2009

A Mother's Love

I think everyone that is a mother has made some kind of sacrifice for her child. Large or small we all have done it. It comes with the territory of being a mom.

Marc met a young lady today. When it started to rain, she teared up. Even though we have had some rain, it is still dry here and most of us rejoice when just a little rain falls. I can easily rejoice. I live in a house with a roof over my head. Except for a couple of leaks, all is well. When asked what was wrong this young lady said, when it rains everything in my family's house gets wet.

Marc found out nine people live in a house in which everything and everyone gets soaked when it rains.

This young lady went on to tell how much she loved her mother. The story she told is that one day there was six people in the house needing to eat. In the house, was one egg and two tortillas. The mother said mix it all up together and serve it in five equal portions. I am not really hungry.

I am sure she was really hungry. Probably hungrier than we will ever know. But so the children could have just a little bit more, she did without.

Next week we have another group coming and this family will have a new house before that group leaves. And some food, too.


Saturday, May 9, 2009

Washing Clothes

In the United States, almost everyone has a washer and a dryer. We wash clothes frequently, and sometimes, if we get a little spot of something or dirt on our clothes we change several times a day. One reason we can do that is because it is so easy to wash our clothes.

In Honduras, and other third world countries, it is nowhere near that easy. The above picture show how many, many Hondurans have to wash their clothes. I watched this woman for a long time. She scrubbed long and hard on each piece. She then used just the minimum amount of water to rinse the clothes.

This woman had a place to wash in front of her house. Many are not that lucky. In many poor communities the rocks are stacked by the river and everyone uses the same spot to wash. They always seem to have a system worked out, because I have never seen a bunch of people waiting to wash their clothes.

A flat rock has to be on the top. I have never seen one built very high off the ground. That means a lot of stooping and back breaking work to get the laundry washed.

No, I do not have to wash my clothes that way. Thankfully. If I did, I probably get rid of a lot more of my clothes. And aren't you thankful you don't have to wash your that way?


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Buying Lace

I was still riding high and in complete awe of the victory God poured out on Tuesday and continued to pour out yesterday. I had to get up and not worry about what was happening on Trey's blog. It was Wednesday, the day we feed at the dump.

I already had 300 pieces of bologna thawed and 25 loaves of bread stacked on my sofa. I made those sandwiches thinking this may the last time for bologna sandwiches. When Milton, Luis and I got to the dump, the people were calmer than they had been in several weeks. Do they know better things are coming? Sunday is Mother's Day just as it is in the states. Several wished me a happy mother's day and hugged me.

When we left the dump, we had another task to accomplish. Rosy needed 4 yards of lace for a mother's day project at her school. I went to town on Saturday and went three places before I found lace. I bought four yards.

We got a note from the school on Monday that it was the wrong kind. OK, I am not a crafts or sewing person. I thought lace was lace. After we left the dump, we were on a mission to find a particular lace.

We were shopping in El Centro. I thought I was not brave enough to go in that part of town by myself. Now I know I am not. If I was brave enough to go there by myself, I could never learn to negotiate the narrow, one way streets.

We saw a fabric store and Luis and I jumped out of the car and went in to ask for the lace. I had the sample in my hand. I soon found out most of the fabric stores do not carry anything but fabric. Lace, ribbons, buttons, etc. are sold in another store. Sometimes, but not always next door.

The store next door did not have the lace we needed, but told us where we might find it. We went to the next store, more than a block away. They did not have the lace and gave us the name and directions of yet another store.

The places we passed through on the way to the next store, I was glad that I had wisely left my backpack in the car. They much too narrow and too many people for my backpack to be along for the ride.

We did this drill at least two more times until we finally found the right lace. I paid fourteen lempiras or seventy cents for four yards of lace. I know you can't beat that price. We had walked several blocks and walked back to the street where we started, but not the same path, and soon found Milton driving along looking for us. We got in the car. I bought the boys lunch for helping me with this little lace project. Thankfully, they knew their way around down there.

This morning when I took Rosy to the bus stop, you can make sure I checked her backpack to make sure that lace was safely inside.


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Oh Me Of Little Faith

I was so excited when Trey mentioned doing a fund raiser on his blog. We emailed back and forth with questions for each other. I copied every picture I had of the dump onto a disc and had Marc mail it when he got to the States last week. I have prayed about this and I know Trey prayed about it.

Trey's blog has a lot larger readership than mine. I knew a lot of people would hear about the dump and be aware of this deplorable situation in which we are trying to make a difference. I knew God would hear and answer our prayers. But I thought we would see some where between $2000.00 and $2500.00 come in.

I stand completely amazed in the presence of our awesome God.

Tuesday is my day off. And it is a good thing it is. I have not done anything all day but follow Trey's blog. I have rejoiced. I have screamed with joy at different times as I read the comments. I have wept. I was touched by the third graders that gave $8.00 Was that their lunch money. What an awesome teacher. And awesome parents that have taught their children to be unselfish. I have been touched by the $500.00 gifts and the $2.00 ones, knowing each gift, large and small has been a huge sacrifice.

I was away from the computer for quite a while this evening. I left at 70 comments and returned at 84. The second challenge blew me away. Right this minute, $10,000.00 is attainable. That is four to five times more than I thought. Oh me of little faith. God is so good...all the time.

As Marc commented on Trey's blog, we can certainly change the menu some. I have said to a couple of people that I would like to put a slice of cheese on those bologna sandwiches, at least once in a while. That has certainly been made possible today.

At a time like this, thank you seems inadequate, but it is all I have to say. A great big thank you to everyone. And let us not forget that God's name should be praised for this. Thanks Trey for organizing this and spending your entire day doing raising money for those starving people in the Teguicalpa city dump.


Today Is The Day

Here in Santa Ana, Honduras, it is a beautiful morning. It rained last night. It rained hard. Over an inch. This morning all dust and smoke are settled. Long and deep, I inhaled the after-the-rain smells.

If it rained that hard at the dump, I am sure the smells this morning are not so pleasant. Wet rotting garbage. What little food can be scavaged will be soggy. And tromping around in the mud and yuck will be much harder work today.

Today is the day my friend Trey Morgan is raising money so we can continue to feed those at the dump. Please take a minute and visit his blog for details.

I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. Matthew 25:35 NIV.

Please pray about these efforts today.


Monday, May 4, 2009

Readying The Store

Some of the new items

The two little flower beds
Isn't that rose a real beauty?

Karen and I have not only been busy caring for the kids and getting them to their classes, we have also been getting the store ready for its second season. We have many brand new items, all Honduran made. We have worked with local artesans to create some special things for us. It has been fun. And a lot of hard work. Almost all of the new items are now in the store.

As we were busy preparing the inside, our grounds keeper, Denis, was busy preparing the outside. He built two little fences and planted flowers on both sides of the entrance. Denis has a green thumb and takes care of the flowers. He has those two little beds looking great.

Stay tuned. We hope to have a few selected items ready for sale on the internet soon.


Saturday, May 2, 2009

Healing Rain

Healing Rain is a title to a song by Michael W. Smith, one of my favorite artists. He is really singing about the healing rain of mercy washing us clean. But the words from the song, "Healing rain is coming down, healing rain is coming down" played in my mind over and over again as we got our first rain today.

As I drove back from town today, I could see several fires burning. I could smell smoke. I could smell dust. But I could also smell rain. Shortly after I arrived at Casa, the first drops began to sound on this tin roof. I thought it would rain a few minutes and stop. That is usually the way the rainy season begins.

It rained for over six hours. A nice, slow soaking rain. A healing rain. Healing this dry, parched, thirsty land. I am sure the ground just enjoyed drinking of that healing rain. The rain has cooled things down considerably.

Thank you God for healing rain.


Friday, May 1, 2009


As the end of one month nears, I begin looking at the calendar, checking for Teleton appointments and such, and planning the time around the first of the month that Ican go to PriceSmart and buy the monthly groceries. Last week, Friday, May 1 looked perfect. I later found out May 1 is a holiday in Honduras, the day of the worker. I guess that might be similar
to our Labor Day.

There was no school day because it was a holiday. All the kids came home yesterday with lists of things they need to take to school by Monday. Besides the grocery store, I had three more stops to make.

After I did payroll, I left for town, armed with my lists. As I neared town, I noticed there wasn't much traffic. How odd. On a Friday afternoon. I went to the fabric store and it was closed. I went to the hardware store and it was closed. Holiday in Honduras really means holiday.

The only places that were open were the American chain restaurants. I was sure PriceSmart would be open. They are always open. They are owned by Costco in the United States. Sure enough, PriceSmart was open and not even crowded. That was the bonus for the day. To shop at PriceSmart and it not be crowded.

We try to plan our trips to town and do as many errands as we can while we are there. I have to go back to town tomorrow. And on a Saturday, at that.

I have lived in Honduras for over a year and a half, but sometimes my American way of thinking is still in control. I never, for even a second, thought that stores might be closed on a holiday. Offices yes. But what is a holiday without some good shopping.

Next time I will definitely know not to plan my errands and shopping on a holiday. Unless, of course, I am in the States.