Thursday, January 31, 2013

Buena Vista- Beautiful View

We had a short ride today..headed toward San Pedro Sula on the main road and then just 20 min up into the mountains. A few of us recognized this community from 2 years ago with the huge soccer field in front of the school. The mountain top views are beautiful everywhere we drive, this community included. We saw about 100 people- the community is pretty healthy, but 3 malnourished children were found that will be invited to the nutrition center. I enjoy the sweet older people who usually come thru early..many have high blood pressure and have to wait around to see if the medicine given right away does not cause any problems. There weathered faces have stories to tell. We saw a patient today who may have TB but could not afford the transportation to get the test. We gave him the $10 he needed....the amount we spend on a movie was a stretch for this family. The cement crew blew thru their 6 floors and were done by 2pm and got to take a van home early so they could have some quality porch time. They are up to about 175 bags of cement for the week so far. They are machines...might be the venison jerky they are always eating! We are blessed to have good and safe van drivers this week- Mary and Josh, but I was asked to report that Tim Weaver had some trouble with the clutch and stalling inside United Drilling joke I think. We are doing well and having fun and lots of laughter together. We are loving Isabella's great cooking- tonight was steak with a parsley/garlic/oil sauce and "angel eggs (deviled eggs to us). Only one person so far has needed the miracle cipro pills to overcome the rumbly tummy. We thank God for the opportunity to serve and make a difference in the lives of those we encounter this week. As we heard tonight in our favorite Bible passage for our MAMA team experience (Matt 25:31-46)- to serve "one of the least of these, you did it for me". We decided we are the sheep at times like this week, but are often the goats too ignoring opportunities we have to help others. We thought about trying to serve others more intentionally at home too. Being here makes serving God so obvious and clear...come join us sometime to find out! Barb for the team

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Hump Day!!! We visited Canculuncos today. Two years ago this community had a big anemia problem. Although they are still have lower hemoglobin than our first two communities , they are much better than the last time we saw them. There were no chicken poop bags to be seen and they say they only wash sugar bags now. They also had a medical team come in 3 months ago and that might have helped two. We gave out lots of iron tablets . Climbing up the mountain, at least it seemed like a mountain almost made me the patient! I don't know how people get up and down so easily! Old ladies can beat me up the mountain. Tomorrow Buena vista. Love karen

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Nolvin's Community- Sante Fe San Francisco de Ojuera

Great to see a happy 11yr old today wearing shoes compared to the sad 9yr old wearing a twisted sandal on his club foot 2yrs ago! Nolvin had told Dr Karen in 2012 that what he really wanted....was to wear shoes! A program of Deep Run East, Children Without Choices helped coordinate Nolvin's club foot repair in May at Cure Hospital in San Pedro Sula We especially appreciate the help of Dinora, a good friend in country and also the community health leader in Santa Fe. Nolvin's smile today was a blessing to us! The community today was high in the mountains, lots of switchback turns up along the timber tops. It is easy to understand why persons that live there do not get medicine or have access to health care. We saw about 200 patients and the dentist pulled another 30 teeth. We have enjoyed working with Josh & Brenna Benner from Souderton/ Lancaster that are here as long term volunteers. Brenna has a great system for giving gifts to the families. As the families come thru the deworming & hemoglobin stations Brenna hand selects gifts for them from our donations. We have shoes, crayons, coloring books, glue sticks, pencils and adorable beanie babies among other things this week. The items are handed to the family in a bag. This eliminates the crazy grabbing free-for-all we have experienced in the past and everyone gets some gifts. The cement crew was productive as usual- 45 bags of cement and 6 homes have new floors. Jose's crew had some translation issues and ended working at houses that were a long walk down into the valley (and back up again!). They were dragging but persevered. As usual the newbies are the brunt of teasing. After teasing Matt about being a "chick magnet", one of the local volunteers said she could not sit beside Matt or she would vomit (she meant car sickness) but of course that is not how it was interpreted. Later in the day, another volunteer sitting by Matt actually did get car sick! Lots of laughter ensued. We are all well, enjoying good dinners from our beloved cook Isabel and her helper Karen. Tim has been sharing some thought provoking storytelling in the evening as we reflect on our day. Thanks for your prayers on our behalf for our health and safety. Also pray for Hector the MAMA director who is not with us this week due to back pain. Gracias and buenos noches, Barb for the team

Monday, January 28, 2013

January 28, 2013 Monday. We had a good day today. Saw about 250 people and did 42 bags of concrete in 6 houses. I am the vampire again this year bleeding people with a finger stick to check for anemia. No one was anemic today! And all the babies seemed happy and chubby. We identified a little girl with 12 fingers and will see if we can help her to get surgery to remove the little dangling nubs that hang off each little finger. They are so dangly they could get caught on things. We exchanged information and we will try to get her to CURE for surgery. Tomorrow we go to Santa Fe and we will get to see Nolvin. He had his club foot surgery 8 months ago. We have seen pictures of him post op but it will be nice to see him walking in shoes! When we first saw him 2 years ago he said he wanted to be able to wear shoes. Everyone is working well together, it is a good group. Love, karen d.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Arrival and Loving the Warm Temperatures

We left PA at 2:30am with temperatures in single digits and arrived in San Pedro Sula at noon to 82 degrees! Such a beautiful land to arrive to as we descended and enjoyed seeing the lush green fields of pina and bananas. We definitely felt your prayers today with no complications in our travel, check-in and flights. Some of us also commented on the good work of our prayer feeling free of usual aches and pains and another feeling unusual peace and calm for the week ahead--thank you!! We were greeted at the airport by the MAMA staff, Mary gathering all our bags even before we were thru immigration (all the bags made it-another praise!). We are blessed this week to work with the long-term volunteers, Josh and Brenna Benner who live at the mission house and are helping the medical brigades- they are very organized. We look forward to our first day of work tomorrow with the Benners and all the other staff and volunteers- Mary, Rosa, Felix, Wilson and Eddie. We enjoyed a quick visit with Dinora at the airport too. She is our contact in Honduras for our Children Without Choices work. After a nice ride to San Francisco de Yojoa in the new van we spent the afternoon settling in, packing donations and counting pills to take out each day. We enjoyed a wonderful fried chicken dinner (with Isabella's special hot sauce) and look forward to many more good meals prepared by Isabella and her daughter Karen. We are all trying to stay awake and it is only 7pm here (8pm your time). So we will stay good night. Please pray for a good first day tomorrow as we get used to the work and the routine for the week. Gracias and buenos noches, Barb for the team

Looking Forward to That Front Porch (and warm weather!)

You may have read this before...written by a team member in 2012, Deb Hume. We can not wait to arrive later today!! The aroma drifting from Isabel’s kitchen mingles with smoke from the village cooking fires. It clings to the warm evening air on The Front Porch of MAMA's mission house in San Francisco de Yojoa, Honduras where mission team members gather after a good day's work. Dogs bark, roosters crow, birds sing and the sound of music from the village mixes with stories and laughter. The construction and medical team members mingle. They relax, share, pray, write, reflect, read, plan and joke together here throughout the evening. They gather here again each morning to watch the sun rise, sip a cup of fresh Honduran coffee and prepare for their upcoming day. The Porch is really an extension of the front of the house with a roof and a tile floor on an open, airy balcony. Lined with wooden rockers and plastic outdoor chairs it is big enough for an entire team to gather together or to break off into smaller groups. It sits on a hill on the edge of the village with a view fit for a king. Standing at the railing one can see in the distance mountains behind mountains behind yet more mountains. Across the field to the east the Honduran staff checks in on the mothers and children at MAMAs Nutritional Center, restocks supplies and prepares for the next day's work. Out front chickens peck around under lemon trees and wood piles, the team vans get cleaned in the driveway, villagers walk by on the street and wave to visitors on The Porch. Honduran staff members come and go up the driveway from the village. Their day starts early and does not begin to unwind until well past sundown. For the visiting mission team members, this is the place where relaxation begins, where stories are told, friendships are made and nourished, where all that happens throughout the day is processed and enjoyed. Here is where a visitor will hear the statistics of the day; how many bags of cement were mixed, how many families will be sleeping on their new cement floors that night, how many Hondurans living in distant mountain villages are enjoying their new reading glasses or were able to visit the doctor or dentist that day. This is where experiences are first re-lived. The medical team talks about villages from the view of villagers' health and well being. The construction team discusses living conditions and family structure. There is always a story about villagers who stood out from the crowd. His hard work helping out, her beautiful smile, the laughter of a group of women getting their finger nails painted, a man with a chronic medical condition, a child identified as malnourished, a young mother and her many children. Village conditions, problems and accomplishments are shared, connections are made: this village had a good supply of livestock, that one has spring water piped house to house, today we saw a lot of villagers with respiratory problems and no outdoor cooking stoves, few had chimneys. An eavesdropper will surely hear stories of the day's travels to and from the remote villages, the scenes passed, the roads covered, the accomplishments of the brave drivers, the praise of grateful passengers.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Team #24- Time for our "Annual Heart Adjustment"

We are honored to be serving again in Honduras. We arrive on Sunday Jan 27 for a week of hard work, a crew of 8 plan to pour new cement floors in 30 homes in 5 days! The rest of the team will, with the help of the MAMA staff, a local doctor and other volunteers, run medical clinics in 5 communities. Despite the hard work, I find this time so refreshing. It is a time I am totally focused on serving God, responding with obedience to His call to help the poor and less fortunate without all the other noise and distractions in my life. It is a time to refocus my wants and needs and worries at home seem so frivolous and selfish. In the context of meeting smiling people who are so appreciative and happy to see us, but have hardly nothing in material wealth, the important things in life become clear- faith, family, health, love for others. During this week, it almost becomes easy to see who Jesus made me to be. Want to try it out? Join us sometime!! Jan 2013 Deep Run East Team- Joe Hohenstein, Karen Hohenstein, Tim Weaver, Don Rice, Jake Rice, Barb Rice, Karen Detweiler, Ed Wyse, Vince Fleck, Chris Trauger, Matt Trauger