Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Work Week

Last year we wanted to have a Thanksgiving work week. A week in which as many houses as possible are built for those that need them. We had three takers and three houses were built. This year we started pushing this week a bit earlier. We have 28 people from Middle Tennessee State and Georgia

here this week and 11 houses will be built. To date, seven of those are already complete and two more will be done today as well as the regular Wednesday dump feeding.

One lady for whom a house was built has a handicapped son. One house will have 13 people living in it when it is complete. One man has no legs. Each story is sad. Some of the houses are to replace existing houses. If you can call something made out of plastic and sticks a house. The group comes in exhausted each night. Each person has been touched by some thing or some one at the job site. As tired as they are at night, they are ready to go at it again by the next morning.

Tomorrow we will have a Thanksgiving feast as the groups takes a short break to play with the children at Casa de Esperanza. And then Friday it is back to work.

Marc regularyly says it has been another great day in Honduras. This is not only another great day in Honduras, but a great week.


Monday, November 23, 2009

Skin Stuff

Some of the girls have different things going on with their skin. I loaded five of them in the car this morning and we went to see the dermatologist. Most of the girls put on nice dresses because we were going to town. Hair was done extra nice this morning. Katty had her hair in the cutest little bun. That did not last long. A couple had new sandals as well. They were flat sandals with no straps. The girls soon discovered they could make those sandals make a lot of noise. As we walked up the stairs to the dermatologist's office, they were clacking those sandals. Everyone in the building kniew we were coming.

Ana's got eczema. Nohemy has scabies. Reina has the same virus Rosy had, only Reina's is in a lot more delicate place than Rosy's was. Sisi has some stuff on her scalp. I had to go to the pharmacy and get a different cream or ointment for each girl.

And tonight after showers was a lot of fun. I doctored eyes and chests and whole bodies and heads and other places. Lets pray that no one catches anything else from any body else. And lets pray that I don't get scabies again.


Saturday, November 21, 2009


A kiln

One day there was pottery everywhere, a few days later it was gone

From this

to this

ladies forming clay houses

In the gift shops in Honduras, including ours at Casa de Esperanza, there is pottery. It is a popular item for people to buy, especially Americans. The night we distributed food on the mountain out of Ojojona I saw a couple houses where pottery was made. A few days later I took Karen out there so we could see if there was anything we could use in our store. The road is rocky and steep and rutted from where water has rushed through. At times one or two miles per hour is about the fastest we could go. Other places the road was fairly good. The adventure we had became another eye-opening experience.

The first place we stopped we met a young man named Franklin. He is 25. That is my son's age. We learned from Franklin that he had been making pottery since is was eight years old. I cannot imagine my son working to help with the family income at the age of eight. We had a sample with us. He took the piece of pottery, rolled out the clay, and in just a very short time, formed a piece in the exact shape. We were impressed with the speed with which he could do this. He told us to come back in a week and he would have it fired and ready for us.

Frankin is a master at making clay houses and churches. He had several waiting to be fired. The detail on these houses were very intricate. I was amazed how precise some of the details were.

We drove a bit further and stopped again. This house was one to which we had delivered food and bought some pottery. The lady at this house was Franklin's mother. She and her daughter were working hard with the clay. We began to ask questions. They dig the dirt from the ground. They have to dig and haul buckets of dirt back to their house. They mix the dirt with some sand and water. We watched as the daughter work the mixture into clay. It looked like hard work. Probably not as hard as hauling buckets of dirt though. They make bowls and pitchers. They do not have potter's wheels and every single piece is formed by hand. The clay is black and after it is fired, it is sort of a brick color. These two ladies cannot read or write or even spell their names. I am guessing, they have made pottery all of their lives, too and never seen the inside of a school building.

Some of the pottery is painted red. The paint is also taken from the ground, but not from around here. They have to go to Sabana Grande to buy this. One that road, it would be at least a two hour walk to get to where they could catch the bus. They told us it was a two hour bus ride to Sabana Grande. I can drive to Sabana Grande from Casa de Esperanza in less time than I can drive to Tegucigalpa. But the bus stops ever few minutes.

We stopped one more place. The ladies there also made houses, but the detail was not as great as Franklin's houses.

Franklin and his mother sell their pottey to the shop owners in Ojojona. I have been to Franklin's twice and to his mother's four times. Each time I have noticed that the pottery that was there a few days earlier is gone. I know they have to get it to the shop owners in Ojojona quickly in order to have any money. They sell each piece for such a small amount. They depend on this money to buy food and the basic necessities of life.

Even though I know poverty is everywhere in Honduras, I sometimes need to be reminded how hard people really have to work to eke out the most meager existence.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Morning Devo

Sisi, Nohemy and Katty

Dilcia joins us when she is on duty

Even little Manuel comes to morning devo

Monday through Saturday we start the day with a thirty minute devotional. During the school year that starts at 6:00. Now that school is out, we start at 7:00.

As you can imagine, with this many people, there are some that are not morning people. Most of the kids come in their pajamas and with they bring yawns, sleepy eyes and bed heads. They are so cute.

We sing several songs, some in english, some in spanish. Some sing their hearts out; others barely open their mouths. There are a couple of prayers. And they have to say the Bible verse of the week in both english and spanish.

Monday Karen told them to say a verse they had already learned. They could choose. Pamela recited Psalm 91 in its entirety. That was not something we had worked on in devo, just something she chose to do herself on her own time. This week and next week we are learning Psalm 100, what I call the thanksgiving psalm.

Yawns, sleepy eyes, bed heads and cheerful little voices praising God is a good way to start the day.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hula Hoop






After a project was finished, there was just a little tubing left. Nothing goes to waste in Honduras. Dennis, our groundskeeper, took the tubing and a stick and made a hula hoop. The kids are having so much fun with this hula hoop.

Cindy can do it for hours and seemingly not move a muscle. It looks like she is standing there with a hula hoop circling her waist. On the other hand, Sisi moves every muscle in her body. Her arms and head are flailing about recklessly. I have never seen anyone work a hula hoop as fast as Daniela. Some of the other girls have tried to do it fast and they say it hurts. I guess it doesn't hurt Daniela. Katty is so little, but she manages the hula hoop quite well. She is funny. She stands with her feet veryfar apart.

Reina doesn't quite the hang of it yet. She can roll the hula hoop well. I was rolling it back and forth with her. I don't have the hang of it either. I rolled it toward Reina and took off running. I could get to Reina before the hula hoop. For some reason, Reina thought this was hysterically funny and fell on the ground laughing.

No matter the skill level, everyone is enjoying the home made hula hoop.


Monday, November 16, 2009

The Park And The Creek

Playing in the water hole

Katty. An interesting way to be on the seesaw.

Jackson and Fernando showing their tricks

Rosy found just the place to stand that balanced Sisi and Daniela.

Karen has made a schedule for the kids while school is out. Monday morning is the day to go to the park. Karen and I and 17 kids left here about 9:45. The park is not next door, but it is close enough we can walk. What a sight we must have been, nineteen of us walking along, spread out along the way. Karen led and Maryuri and I were bringing up the rear.

Karen turned so that we could walk past the flower garden. It was mostly roses. It was beautiful and the sweet fragrance filled the air. We got to the point where we were to turn for the park and there were several roads (dirt roads, of course) and the kids asked if we could walk along one of them for a while. Karen said she didn't know where any of them went, but we could walk along and then turn around. We walked a short way, when they saw a little foot path that looked like it possibly led to water. The kids were jumping up and down wanting to walk down this path. Again, Karen said yes.

It was steep, narrow and rocky. Maryuri got scared and, I thought, was not going to go down. Cindy carried her water bottle and I carried Maryuri. Sure enough, there was some water. Brayan stuck a stick in and the water wasn't very deep. Karen told everyone to take their shoes and socks off and roll their pants up. The older kids went just a bit further and found a bigger water hole. Again, the depth was checked and determined safe. Everyone began a mad scramble to get to the bigger water. Maryuri was not going. Karen and I led her down, across large rocks. She got wet and began to have a great time.

Doris was not going to have any part of it, but finally found a place where she could get in by herself and got her feet wet. She eventually got in a little deeper.

The kids were laughing and jumping and splashing. They baptized each other. The first time Maryuri was baptized, she was through. She came out of there crying, saying someone baptized, I mean drowned her. Katty and Nohemy made Karen and I both nervous. They have no fear. Of anything.

When it was time to get out, we got shoes back on everyone's feet and Karen sent Maryuri and I ahead of everyone else. I led her and her short little legs carefully back up the trail. When we got to the top, she was so proud of herself for walking and not being carried. She looked at me and said "tired." I asked her if it was a lot of work. She said yes.

We walked on to the park and played. Since I had my camera, everyone wanted to show me all their tricks on the monkey bars and slides. The girls learned to balance on the seesaws.

It sure seemed like a longer walk home than it was there. After lunch, I know Nohemy had no trouble going down for a nap. I suspect no one else did either.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Nohemy and Manuel

Nohemy before we left Casitas Kennedy
Manuel at home

Manuel with Luis at Casitas Kennedy.

Yay!! We got our internet back yesterday. Everyone is wanting to see pictures of these two precious babies. Here they are.

Little Manuel has the eating and walking skills of a baby that is about 10-12 months old. He wobbles as he walks just like one who is first learning to walk. He doesn't do much better at feeding himself, but right now he doesn't have to worry. There are plenty of people here ready to feed him whenever he desires. He seems really happy. He loves milk. I think he would drink it all day long. He drinks from a sippy cup. I wonder if he has ever been fed anything except from a bottle.

Sweet, sweet Nohemy is starving for love. Every time I walk by, she reaches up for me to pick her up. And so far, I have not disappointed her. She was deliced yesterday. Sandra told me there were lots and lots of lice. Not unusual for the kids that come from Casitas Kennedy. She is missing several teeth. They were rotten bad teeth and they have been pulled. Thankfully, they are baby teeth, not permanent teeth. She will be near toothless for about three years. She can color fairly well, but has not a clue with what color she is coloring. I guess she will start kindergarten in February. Nohemy doesn't hold her fork like a four or five year old should, but she manages to eat. She gets a lot of food off of the plate. And when she finishes, she picks up the plate and lick it clean. She plays by herself a lot. I sure she will learn to start playing with the other girls. She is starting to adjust.

It is not unusual for the new kids to start hitting the other kids three or four days after they come here. There is a lot of things to get used to. Nohemy started hitting the day she got here. She is tough. There is just no telling what the little thing has already lived through. But, she is just as sweet as they come.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Finishing Touches

Early this year a new cottage was completed that would enable us to take more children. In April, a houseparent was hired and inspections were done. In June, our houseparent completed her sixty day trial period. In September, the new cottage was dedicated. Last week there were more inspections.

Today, we saw the finishing touches needed to make the cottage a home. We received two new children that desperately needed rescuing. All week we thought this was going to happen, but you never know in Honduras. We received the call this morning there would be two children waiting on us at 1:00 at Casitas Kennedy.

Casitas is the state orphanage where nearly all children must pass through. It is a horrible place. These two precious little souls have been there eight months, which is longer than any of our children have ever had to stay there.

This is the first time I have ever gone to get children. I was excited to be a part of this. Karen and I left here at 12:15 and met Marc at Casitas.

They brought the little boy to us first. He will be two in February. He is so little. It was a long time before we saw even a hint of a smile. He has bronchitis and has to be kept warm. That may be a challenge tonight. Marc took him and loved on him. Then I did. Our friend, Luis, was with Marc. Luis took the baby until he started crying. Luis gave him back to me and I rocked him to sleep. His name is Jose Manuel. We will call him Manuel as there are already two Joses here.

Then they brought his sister in to us. Her name is Ester Naomi. She let it be known she preferred Naomi. She is four or five. She has no birth certificate. She was, and is scared to death.

Marc took her first. He picked her up to hug her. She had on underwear that was so small they tore when Marc picked her up. I had the baby and Naomi soon found her way to Karen's side.

After we made sure what paperwork we had and did not have, we walked to the car with the children, the only belongings they had were the clothes they were wearing. We did not know if Naomi would cry or not. She did not. We put her in the back seat. I handed the sleeping baby to Karen to hold and I drove.

Karen thought it would be a good idea to stop at Wendy's and get her ice cream. Karen and I both love ice cream so it is never hard for one of us to talk the other into stopping for ice cream.
She enjoyed the ice cream and ate it fairly quickly. She ate and fell asleep. I enjoyed my ice cream too.

We got home and everyone rushed the baby. Little Naomi began to cry. She was so scared. Karen took her to the new cottage and showed her her room. Siomara and came in and gave her a much needed shower. Her shoes smelled so bad. We got clean clothes on her and new shoes and underwear that fit. Siomara did a quick comb through of the hair and the lice were every where. She will have to be deliced. We gathered up several sets of clothes and told her they were all for her.

She would not come out of her room to play with the other kids, until after 4:00.

Jocylyn definitely feels she has a new little brother and sister. Jocylyn walked around smiling the biggest smile. And she did manage to get Naomi on the trampoline.

They little ones have come from a live of extreme poverty. Their mother was unable to supply the most basic of needs. Please pray for them as they adjust to live at Casa de Esperanza. Prayers are needed for the other children and the staff as everyone gets used to more kids.

Praise God for these nice little finishing touches to the new cottage.

I will get pictures up as soon as we get our internet back or I get back to town.


Greens At The Dump

Presentation is very important in Honduras. At the market, all the fruit and vegetables are displayed attractively. As I buy my fruits and vegetables, I watch as the vendors trim away the leafy parts that aren't edible. This is a massive amount of green stuff trimmed from the vegetables every week.

Just as we finished feeding the people at the dump yesterday, a truck drove in with all these greens. The truck dumped it and drove off. Everyone in the dump began running for those greens. There was the leafy waste and some rotten fruit. People were grabbing for the fruit and the leaves, pushing their way to the front. They were walking away with all they could carry. They were estatic to have such a find. And those that were not as quick and missed out were sad.

I was sad to watch such a site. To think someone's waste was another person's food.


Break Down

Tuesday we went to Santa Katarina. Finally, it is time to start building the feeding center. We went to buy block, rebar and cement so construction could begin.

Santa Katarin is 40 kilometers south of Choluteca and then we go eleven more kilometers out into the middle of nowhere. There is no businesses any where near Santa Katarina. We thought we would have to buy supplies in Choluteca and have them trucked out. Of course, we pay for delivery. Milton and Luis informed us we could probably buy supplies in El Triunfo, which is much nearer Santa Katarina. We found a block maker that makes block in his front yard. We stopped and asked his price and it was the price we were expecting to pay. Marc ordered 600 blocks and asked about delivery. The guy said he didn't have a truck. That sounds like a problem, but not really in Honduras. Because if someone doesn't have a truck, they always know someone that does. And in this case it was the guy's brother. Marc began to ask about the rebar and the cement as well. Since we have to pay delivery, it is better to have everything on one truck.

In true Honduras fashion, the guy gets on his motorcycle and drives off, while we wait, to ask about the truck, the rebar and the cement. He comes back to say that he has everything lined up for us, except that the truck is not available for that day,but the next. We agreed that we would be back the next Tuesday to have it taken to Santa Katarina.

We went on to Santa Katarina. We saw the lot, which is completely cleared and ready for construction. The folks there are so excited that construction will finally begin soon. After negotiating for supplies, it was midafternoon, when we arrived at Santa Katarina. We really did not plan to stay long, just let everyone know supplies would be arriving next week.

Santa Katarina is literally on the Honduran-Nicaraguan border. I walked into Nicaragua. Since there is no border crossing there, Marc reminded me in was in Nicaragua illegally. I would post a picture on the marker, but I still can't post pictures. Perhaps later. We said our goodbyes and left.

Marc and I had not eaten since breakfast. Probably Milton and Luis had not either. We were making plans to get to Choluteca and make our way to Pizza Hut. We were barely back on the highway and we had a problem with the truck. Thankfully, we were back on the highway.

It is very hot in that part of Honduras, and, as I already said, I was hungry. I found out that being hot and hungry tends to make me cranky. Fortunately, we broke down right in front of a little pulperia. Marc bought Pepsis for everyone but me. Since there was no coke, I wanted water. Milton bought some cookies, some really good Honduran cookies for all of us. They were kind of like cooked pie crust with sugar on them. They tasted wonderful and certainly took the edge off of my crankiness.

Milton rode in a van to town to find someone to tow us. As God would have it, the person driving the van, was the uncle of someone who owned a tow truck and was a mechanic as well. Marc called our friend Richard to get one of the other vehicles and head for Choluteca to get us. Richard drove from Santa Ana and was waiting at the Pizza Hut for us before the tow truck got out to us.

We saw a hawk and a beautiful yellow-breasted bird. When it got dark, where there is no city lights, the stars were awesome.

When the tow truck got there and got everything set, they told us to ride in the truck. Our truck. One person rode in the back of the tow truck with a flashlight shining the light, making sure all the connections held. Man, did that ever make me feel secure.

We hit a big pothole and the tow truck had a flat. They jumped out of the truck and had that trucked jacked up and the tire changed in nothing flat. Marc told them them must be part of team Nascar. The guys really liked that.

After we got to Choluteca and our truck was unhooked from the tow truck, the driver to told us to get in the back of his truck and he took us to Pizza Hut. The ride to Pizza Hut was free of charge.

We ate and finally got home around 11:00. Milton and Luis stayed in Choluteca so they could drive the red truck home yesterday. At least that was the plan. Luis came to Tegucigalpa last night. Milton did not. Luis came to buy a part for the truck, that could not be found any where in Choluteca. Marc is buying the part right now. Luis will go back to Choluteca as soon as Marc gets the part. The mechanic will put the part on the car and the guys should be in this afternoon.

You just got to love it.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Pictures From The Kermess And Church

Cindy throwing chocolate covered marshmallows at Marc

Reina, after she threw marshmallows at Marc and wiping her hands on her white shirt.

Eating and having fun

One of the skits at church

Casa kids singing

Jocylyn in a skit

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The First Forty Six Backpacks

The children at Manos Felices
The directors at Manos Felices and the congressman. Christy is signing to the children

The backpacks, the children, the congressmen and Marc and I

Friday the first forty six backpacks were delivered. We delivered them to Manos Felices, the school for the deaf. Manos Felices is also a ministry and is dependent on donations. They were more than happy to receive backpacks for everyone that will be attending school next year. The children, the teachers, and Marc and I were excited about this. A couple of congressmen went with us. The teachers, the congressmen and I were all flashing cameras as fast as we could. The congressmen did not even know about this school and are eager to be of assistance in other ways.

I just can't say it enough times, thanks for these backpacks. You do not know what a difference it makes to those who can't afford to buy school supplies for their children.


Technical Difficulties

I have had and am having technical difficulties.

While we were in the States, I had some problems with my computer. We thought that was resolved.

When we got home, the desktop, the repeater, my keyboard and mouse and maybe the Belkin wireless had all been fried. My desktop had my quickbooks on it. Marc took the computer to be worked on and was told the mother board was gone. They did not even try to recover any thing that was on the hard drive. But when Marc returned home with my computer, he said it had microsoft office on it. I was excited about that since we use a share wear call Open Office. I certainly like microsoft office better.

One problem. It is in spanish. And it will not allow us to change it to english. This is yet another one of my many challenges, which I am working through. The keyboard is also a spanish keyboard. Some things are in the same place and some are not. Oh my goodness, this is fun. I feel like I am in beginning typing again. Or worse, hunting and pecking. I am sure I will adjust to this little bump in the road as well. I am technologically challenged as it is, but when you add programs and keyboards in spanish, I am lost.

My laptop began giving me problems again after we got home. I put everything on my external hard drive and Marc took it to the shop. We were thinking it needed a new fan. That is what the shop initially said as well. After they ordered a fan, they discovered the whole thing was gone.

I plugged my external hard drive into Marc's computer, which also has Open Office, only to discover all my files were read only. There was not one thing in which I could work. I went to help and followed the directions carefully, but could not get into my files.

I plugged the external hard drive into the desktop and at least could work in my files. I am getting a little work done.

On top of these problems, our internet has been down for a week. I am using dial-up now. It has been a long time since I have used dial up. And I just thought our internet in Honduras was slow. We hope to have our internet back tomorrow or the next day. I will be posting again as soon as that happens.

Please be patient. It is what it is.


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

More From The Dump

Last Wednesday at the dump, the lines were long. Longer than they have been in a long time. We could see almost immediately we did not have enough food. We began giving smaller portions and still did not have enough. Our water went fast. We scraped the pots for every grain of rice and every bean. Some people were content with one tortilla and a few grains of rice on top of it. Some people waited in line all that time and did not get anything. That always just kills me. The people seemed really hungry. Like maybe they had not eaten since the Wednesday before.

Today the lines were long, too. We are getting good at portion control. At least, today every one got food and some even got seconds. Portions were small, but everyone got something.

Thanks to everyone that donates to the dump fund. You make a huge difference everyweek. We could not keep feeding without your help.


Sunday, November 1, 2009


Halloween was really busy here. Halloween is not really celebrated here, but we went to kermess and to church.

A kermess is a little party. Yesterday there was a kermess at Rosy's school. It was a fundraiser for the school. The kermess had lots of games and lots of food. We loaded up everyone and drove to Manos Felices in the van yesterday. Marc bought a lot of tickets and distributed them to everyone. We all had certain kids for which we were responsible. I had Doris. She was too overwhelmed by all that was going on to get excited about everything. She buried her head most of the time.

Not so, for everyone else. They were doing this game and that game and using their tickets for food. Jose did not play any games either. He spent all of his tickets on food.

As we walked in, there was a game in which someone had to stand behind this board and put on safety glasses and open their mouth. For one ticket, a person could buy three large marshmallows, dip them in chocolate and thrown at the person's mouth behind the board. Of course, not too many people could hit an open mouth. We talked Marc into getting behing the board and everyone of our kids threw three chocolate covered marshmallows at Marc. No one hit his mouth, but many marshmallows hit his face. He was a chocolate mess. When Reina finished, she wiped her chocolate hands on her white shirt. I even got Doris to throw the marshmallows at Marc.

These simple little games all of the kids enjoyed, even Jocyly and Erica. I am not sure some of the kids had ever seen anything like that. Marc bought a pretty generous amount of tickets, but it sure did not take long to go through them all.

We don't do a lot of outings for the kids, but there was two special events yesterday. Last night, we had church from 7:00 -12:30 this morning. There was singing and skits and food breaks. A lot of our kids were in at least one skit, some more. The youth group has practiced the skits every day this week. The Casa kids, as a group, sang four songs and recited the books of the Bible. Erica was in one skit and sang a couple of songs with another person. This was huge for Erica. She is probably one of the most shy people I have ever seen in my life.

Again, the kids were excited, not only about the activities of the evening, but also that they got to stay up late. Some were pretty tired by 12:30. They tried hard not to admit or show it. I was tired and I did not mind admitting it.

It was a beautiful service. There was over 80 people there, one of the largest attendance we have had except when Torch groups visit. I thought that was very exciting for so many people to spend their Saturday night in church. We had communion around 12:30 this morning. What a great way to start the week.

It took longer than I thought it would to get everyone to bed. I guess they were beyond tired and just excited about so much activity in one day.