Tuesday, October 13, 2015

another project complete

My work here in Honduras continues.  I've been quite busy making initial preparations for upcoming groups and resuming construction on the new building at San Juan School.  The sewer line from the original school building collapsed and backed up, so I've been working with some local church members to get that replaced.  I have also applied for residency papers.  And I'm going back to school at 62.  Spanish school!  I wanted to share with you a project we recently completed at San Juan's.

Several months ago, the city of Siguatepeque repaired the bridge, which had three large holes in it, and paved the road adjacent to the school property.  Although the paved road and new bridge are a huge improvement, when finished it was a foot higher than our gates leading into and out of our circular drive, making it inaccessible.

With a generous donation from St. John's Montgomery and the help of those who regularly support my work, I was able to pay for the installation of some new drainage pipes,

and install two new concrete access drives.

Now we are once again able to use our driveway, allowing parents to pull onto the school property to load and unload their children safely.

My contractor was kind enough to give us some sod so we could green up the space in between.  Now everyone on the street is sprucing up!

We are making great progress on the construction of the new cafeteria building at San Juan's as well. 
When finished, we will be subdividing the space with temporary sheet rock walls to provide three more classrooms.  We are bursting at the seams here.  Hopefully, with God's help, we will be able to build a new classroom building in the next couple of years, the temporary walls will come down and we will be able to quickly turn this new building into a really nice cafeteria for the children.

I can't thank you enough for your continued support of my work in Honduras.  God bless

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

School Begins

Classes resumed at San Juan Episcopal School here in Siguatepeque on Monday.  It was a most festive occasion and our 70 students were very happy to be back at school.

We were hoping to have a new building by the beginning of this year, but although the foundation work has been completed, we don't have the $40,000 needed to complete the building.  We are making do until the funds are available.  A little disheartening, but we are keeping the faith.

The city finally paved the dirt road along side our property, which is great.  Unfortunately the new road is about a foot above the base of our gates making our circular drive inaccessible.  It is a very busy street and not safe to unload children for school.

This is similar to what we need to construct in order to be able to access our driveway again along with some drainage piping underneath.  I need about $1300 to construct these access drives.  It is an immediate need.  If you would like to help us out with that, contact me and I can tell you how.

I had four groups pretty much back to back in June and July.  I spent 5 out of 36 nights in my own bed.  It was a bit exhausting, but at the same time, I had an opportunity to work with some really outstanding Christian folks, including those wonderful people from my own church, St. John's Montgomery.

Incarnation from Dallas was a really fun group and very kind, generous and supportive to me.  They helped to construct a roof/floor on a church in Copan and held a medical clinic in Santa Rita.  They paid for and poured a mess of concrete and saw hundreds of people in their clinic.  There were 40 people in the team and one of those teams that really make me thankful that I am finally here doing what I felt God called me to do.  Love those folks.  Many thanks to Rev. Carlos Garza for being such a joy to work with and the most wonderful Rev. Concepción Santos for his help with the clinic.

We had a team from the Diocese of San Joaquin, CA hold a medical clinic in the mountain village of Matazanales.  The  people there were great and had everything set up for us upon our arrival saving us a lot of time.  We saw 500 plus in the clinic including an elderly woman who had a horrible infection on her legs.  Helping her alone was worth the trip.  There is no medical service in that area at all.  We had a few set backs.  We ran out of some of the medications, but we were able take my truck back to San Pedro and pick them up.  The bus got stuck the first morning out.  But thanks to be God I have four wheel drive and was able to pull it up the hill.  I got lost with three members of the group in the truck.  All those mountain roads look just alike.  But God came to our aid and we found a little tut tut taxi who agreed to lead us back to where we needed to be.  They are already planning for next year and I look forward to their return.

St. John's first week included doing some much needed painting on some new construction work and some existing stairs.  Reverenda Olga Barreara assisted in VBS which was just huge fun.  Second week for St. John's included holding clinics in several locations.  Hundreds of people seen.  We saw one young man in Centrinella who had a motor cycle accident when he was 14 and had been struggling with infections and a bad wound for years.  He could barely walk.  We met him when the church bus blew out two of its four tires and were able to get some help.  As always, I am so thankful for St. John's and their continued support of my work in Honduras and thanks to the staff and proprietors of Cesar Mariscos Hotel in Tela for being like family to us.

In the midst of all the groups, the well pump at San Juan's decided it needed to burn itself up.  Many thanks to Steve Rodgers of Incarnation for so generously replacing it with a new one.  This last two weeks I have been working on a list of repairs and improvements required to make the system work better.  That work is almost completed.  Just awaiting a chance to get the water tested.

I am happy to announce that Father Francisco Lone is the new rector at San Juan Church and Christian Education Director at the School.  Great guy, good friend, beautiful family and a real inspiration to me.  Truly embodies the joy of the Lord.   And fun to practice the English/Spanish thing with.

I'm headed home tomorrow to renew my passport and celebrate my sister's birthday.  I missed it last year.  Happy Birthday Anniebeez!  I'll only be home for a week this time, but I am really looking forward to being in St. John's Church on Sunday and seeing my friends there.

God has been so good to me, keeping me safe, filling all my needs, and blessing me with the "company of faithful people."

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Proyecto Mirador eco stoves

Yesterday I had the pleasure of witnessing the construction of one of Proyecto Mirador's dos pro tres eco stoves here in Siguatepeque.  Rev. Francisco Lone, the new rector of San Juan Church here and an old friend of mine from Tela had the stove built in the back area of the rectory.  There had been an old wood burner back there previously, but it had crumbled and was removed.  Francisco had his friend Manuel from Tela come and construct the new stove.  Manuel is a licensed contractor with Proyecto Mirador and has built over a hundred stoves and trained others including my friend deacon Jamie in Matazanales.  Francisco was formerly the rector at one of our churches in Santa Barbara where the  main office and production plant for Proyecto Mirador is located and has been involved with the program for 6 or 7 years.  In addition, Doña Emilla Mendoza, project Director for Honduras, is the wife of Father Mendoza, the new dean of the Santa Barbara Deanery.  So the Episcopal Church is well represented in this very worthwhile cause.

The base is provided by the recipient.  Manuel begins construction of the stove.

While we watched Manuel work, Francisco explained the three phases of the process: Education, Preparation and Construction.  The education phase includes seminars with the potential recipients involving the many health and ecological benefits of the stove.  Proper operation and maintenance of the stove is also taught.  Preparation involves the family's construction of the base for the stove and some of the materials, bricks etc.  Proyecto Mirador produces and provides several specialty parts including the chimney vents and griddle.  The actual construction of the stove is carried out by trained technicians such as Manuel.

Father Francisco assists in the installation of specially manufactured, fired elements that form the fire box of the new stove.

Since 2004, Proyecto Mirador has installed 100,000 stoves in Honduras, greatly reducing the carbon footprint and improving the health of many families.  I have personally witnessed the
improvement in health through working with medical teams in areas where these stoves have been built.  Assisting people with eyeglasses since 2005, I have witnessed fewer complaints of burning eyes and have heard doctors speak of less respiratory problems.  Other benefits include using less wood.  The dos pro tres creates more heat with a third as much wood saving time and resources.  I've also seen kids out gathering stacks of wood during the day when they should be in school. Using less wood frees them up to attend classes more often.
Interior of the stove

Since I have several teams considering taking part in this program, I was very thankful for the opportunity to actually witness one being constructed.  Start to finish in about 2.5 hours.  Cost is about $125 a stove.

Manuel and the nearly completed stove.

For more information about Proyecto Mirador, please visit http://www.proyectomirador.org

time out

Haven't blogged in a while because I have been really busy.  For the last 6 weeks or so I have had back to back groups and spent only 5 nights of that period in my own bed.  I had Incarnation of Dallas in Copan on a construction and medical mission.  40 some odd wonderful folks that were a joy to be with and treated me with such kindness and generosity.  They saw some 500 people in the clinic and another 100 in the dental clinic.  The construction team financed and took part in the pouring of a huge slab at a church we have been working on for some 12 years.  Too many people to thank on that group, Larry, Martha, Lynn...just too many, not to mention our Honduran hosts, Carlos Garza and Rev. Concepción.  Great trip!

Had to leave near the end of their trip and  make the 5 1/2 hour trek back to Siguatepeque to take care of a burned up pump situation on our well at the school.  Many, Many thanks to Steve Rodgers for providing a new pump for us. Further improvements to the system are underway.

A day later, back in the road to hit it back to San Pedro to pick up the Sequoia Deanery Medical Mission team, from California.  They were returning to Matanazales after a four year absence.  They saw another 530 plus people in five days.  Very successful and a great team.  Thanks to Sue and Betty for all you do.  And for the loving people of Matazanales for having everything set up and ready when we arrived.  That was huge blessing.

I had a few days off and then my own beloved St. John's of Montgomery AL were with me.  Construction and VBS for the first week and medical for the second week.  Two very nice weeks in Tela.  This is the team that made we want to move here and work full time with the church.  I loved being with my old friends in Tela as well as the "newbies" on the team.  There was some new construction at the school which we were able to get painted.  VBS was such wonderful fun with these beautiful children and Rev. Olga.  The medical team saw something like 1200 people in 5 or 6 days.  And the people at the church as well as all our good friends at Cesar Mariscos Hotel were as loving and welcoming as always.  God bless St. John's for their incredible support over this past year!

People ask me sometimes about the effectiveness of short term mission teams and if they make any long term difference.  I understand their questions.  Teams plan an entire year for a 10 day trip.  (That idea boggles the minds of most Hondurans who don't plan for anything more than two weeks out.)  The groups breeze in and do their thing and breeze back out, back home to the multiples of things we enjoy as North Americans, multiple cars, multiple houses, "bonus rooms," multiple opportunities, and such an abundance and variety of food sources it is unbelievable. The Hondurans go back to their standard menus of rice and beans three times a day and their lack of quality health care, opportunities and education, transportation and clean water.  But I will tell you this, any progress made on any construction project is due to the generosity of the visiting groups.  The people here are more than willing to do the work and to work with us, though we are basically unskilled, but they just don't have the money to buy the materials.  And as far as the medical teams are concerned, they are providing much needed medical care to people who otherwise, just don't have it.  The state of medical care in Honduras is deplorable.  92 million DOLLAR deficit this year.  Without the help of the teams, health care basically doesn't exist.  So I have learned to leave the long term results up to God himself and just pray that He helps me help these teams accomplish that which He wishes for them to accomplish on any given day.  And it does make a difference!

So I'm resting up from some jamb packed days.  Still got some things going on, but also taking care to take care of myself.  I'll be home in Alabama for a week on the 20th of August to renew my passport.  Please pray for the construction of the new school building at San Juan School.  It has stalled as a result of a lack of funding.  Pray for the teachers and the administrators.  Pray for me as I continue to learn and grow into this position and that I find help when I need it.  I need some language training and need some help getting my residency papers.  And please pray for the Bishop, the clergy, lay leaders and missionaries working in the Diocese of Honduras.  Pray also for my dear friend Avis.

God bless,  bob

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

San Juan School

The foundation of the new school building at San Juan has been completed.  We are now at a standstill awaiting further funding.  The principal at the school has moved out of her office and we will using that space for which ever class has the fewest pupils.  Not at all the desire we wanted when we started the design phase of the new building in hopes of having the new building by the beginning of this school year.  Please pray for funding for the school.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Construction begins at San Juan School

5/15/15  Excavation of existing soil and infill of new construction grade soil completed 6/17.. Many thanks to Good Shepherd Dallas for helping us get to this point.  All I need now is about another $45,000.  got to have this baby finished by August 15th.

Ground breaking at San Juan School

The ground breaking at San Juan School  took place on Friday, June 12th.  The custom here is to dig a little trench and lay in two concrete block and bless them.  We are on our way!!