Friday, January 16, 2015

Blessed in so many ways!

We ended our week tonight discussing the highlights of our week. The cement crew shared stories of families they met and were so impressed how the homeowners not only helped with their own floors but the other floors that day too!  The crew always takes plenty of food and donations to share with the families and today shared with neighbor children too. As they tell us the joy from sharing is so evident.  The final cement totals are 259 bags and 31 floors. These new floors will benefit a total of 164 persons.
A crowd was waiting for us at the local clinic in San Francisco de Yojoa when we arrived for the medical clinic!  The morning was very busy but we finished early and were back at the mission house by 3:30 since we had no drive today. The clinic totals for the week were 1060 received parasite medicine and we provided micronutrients for 1366!
God was evident today in our weather. It poured hard while eating breakfast and again as the cement crew walked to the van after finishing their last house. They said the last house was the family that needed help the most- a 17 yr old dad and 15 yr old mom with a 2 yr old!  We thank God for showing us his provision thru the rain (and also thank Ken for praying for good weather too!).
We listened to Tim recite the story of the sheep and goats and thought about our help to a few of the least, littlest and lost.  We were blessed to serve them this week.
We travel home tomorrow. Thanks for praying us thru this amazing week.
Barb for the team.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Hola from a first timer to Honduras

The morning started with a traditional Honduran breakfast- eggs, tortillas, refried beans. Then off to Los Llanos an hour and half ride into the mountains. Some of the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen. The village was the smallest so far and the people were very friendly. The medical brigade was done by 1pm and we had an opportunity to walk to some of the houses getting new concrete floors. Ruthie carried a 5 gal bucket of sand up the hill with the help of a local woman. (6 floors and 50 bags today). We also saw raw coffee beans being processed, it smelled amazing. I'm told they add cane sugar and pepper to enhance the flavor. The day ended with a special dinner for team members and MAMA staff. A report was given on the communities we served- 820 people so far in four days. We are all healthy and having fun!  Thanks for your prayers.
Eileen for the team

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Wednesday, January 14; El Encanto de San Antonio

 I begin this blog noting the irony that many of us were complaining of slow WiFi speed tonight when we returned back to the mission house.  ๐Ÿ˜ฑ. We began the day w/ an hour ride up and down thru some incredible mountains on roads that I have never traveled before.  The community while very rural was quite large and high up the mountain. Our crew hiked 20 minutes up the mountain to the first house where we would pour a floor. Imagine my surprise as I met 'la seรฑora' and she was wearing  a tee shirt that said Deep Run East - Push the Rock 2013. Of course I told her this team was from DRE and took her picture. We had incredible help from all the home owners today. But what made them all wonder if we were crazy was when they pulled out a garden hose to fill our water buckets. We went crazy with excitement as it made filling buckets much easier as well as cleanup of the tools.  The water came from a spring high up the mountains and there was very good water pressure and it was crystal clear.  If there was ever a temptation to drink the water this was it - but nobody succumbed to temptation. ๐Ÿ˜€. We had a second surprise when the water hose followed us to the second and third houses. As we moved from house #2 to house #3, we took a shortcut thru a cornfield. I grew up among cornfields, but I have never seen a cornfield so steep in my life - almost vertical. There was a large rock at the top of the field and we persuaded our Honduran friends to take our picture standing on a rock in a cornfield! After we finished house #3, John, Big Dave, and two Hondurans took a 20-30 minute hike downhill to a waterfall. They showed us pictures and talked of sitting behind the waterfall.  We all continue to marvel at both the beauty and the poverty in this place.  I must also mention the compassion and caring of Joe who walked down a steep hill to bring lunch to our crew.  Of course he had to walk back up that hill. ๐Ÿ˜ฃ๐Ÿ‘ The clinic saw a large number of people today. Families were large (9 & 11 children at two of the houses we did) and children were plentiful. When I asked an older gentleman how many grandchildren he had, he laughed and said 'over 100'.  The medical crew ran out of micronutrients, shoes, tools, and donations. The creativity of the team was evident as a nebulizer was made for children using a Gatorade bottle.
Tim for the team.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Tuesday January 13, 2015 Casa Viejas, Santa Cruz de Yojoa

Today the team was up early and enjoying scrambled eggs and bacon with tortillas!  We only had a one hour drive to Casas Viejas, Santa Cruz.  We set up in the school classrooms while people waited for the medical brigade to begin.  I worked with Adrienne Vehec at the deworming station and a wonderful local lady named Lydia.  Lydia spoke fluent English and Spanish which helped when issues came up.  We had way over 100 children plus many women and men.  Most of the children were calm and cooperative but once in awhile a little one didn't think taking vitamin A was a good idea and loudly refused.  One little girl wouldn't even take a sticker after we battled down the Vitamin A.  Later at the end of the day I tried to give the same little girl crayons and a coloring page but the she just yelled remembering the vitamin A!
There were many large families and they traveled through the centers; registration, deworming, vitamin A, blood pressure, anemia testing, height and weight, and micronutrients and finally goodies.  I looked up once in awhile and watched the happy faces as Eva Yoder helped people selected a small toy or Beanie Baby or clothing for children.  Evan Trauger had a nice family give him rubber band bracelets.  The children loved them!  Another woman donated a Beanie Baby collection that was her moms.  I wish her mom could see how happy she made so many children.
The concrete crew did 48 bags of concrete.  The first two homes were brothers.  They each helped helped the concrete crew and each other with water and sand.  One lady worked at the first two homes and then at her own.  I am sure she will sleep well tonight.  Neighbors donated water, they received freely and gave freely!  Joe enjoyed seeing a large blonde feathered rooster.  At one home there was a beautiful huge white rabbit with red eyes.
As we traveled home we had a few misty showers.  We had twenty two for a spaghetti dinner and then ended the evening with devotions and a paraphrase of The Lord's Prayer.  It was a day full of blessings.  We all appreciate your prayers.
Enjoying the warm weather and all the team members.  Appreciated the staff and their hard work.
Reporting for the team, Ruth Hohenstein

Monday, January 12, 2015

Why are you here?

    After starting our day with a treacherous two-hour drive--which took us on some of the bumpiest, most forgotten-about roads traversable in Honduras--we arrived at our first village.  Honduras's own "Santa Fe" contained a variety of houses and people, all surrounding a four-room schoolhouse.
     The medical brigade gave check-ups to over 80 family units, some of which contained five or six people. Most of us struggled with communicating with the locals, but they were forgiving and appreciative.
             Items donated to the group for this trip were distributed at the medical clinic as well. A few of the highlights for the local kids (and for us as well) were the Beanie Babies and the educational coloring books. Several of our volunteers were almost injured by the ecstatic boys and girls of the village jumping for their bags of crayons.
      The construction crew was also hard at work, completing seven concrete floors and using fifty eight bags of cement. Of course, no work day would be complete without running several miles to fetch water--something John took literally when he stumbled upon a woman bathing at the normal water site.
      When we got back to the MAMA house (after barely surviving the Honduran style of driving), we  discussed the events of the day. We framed our thoughts around the question "Why are you here?"  We all had different motives, but a common theme seemed to include that of serving others with some of the many liberties we have been blessed with.  We all hope to keep these motives in mind as we prepare for another day of serving.
Evan Trauger for the team

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Day of Prep & Settling In

Woke to a beautiful sunny day!  (Some a little earlier to make coffee at 3:30am-wonder who?). First task was emptying suitcases and sorting donations. We walked over to MAMA's nutrition center for a tour and then visited our friend Eddie's house under construction.

We enjoyed a special lunch "with a view" at a beautiful restaurant high above Lake Yojoa. Everyone had the whole fish meal (head to tail on your plate).  Of course every day here includes packing pills!!  That was how we spent our afternoon.

Tomorrow we will take suitcases full of clothes, shoes, toys, beanie babies to the community.  We have micronutrient powder packed in family size bags. The staff is packing eyeglasses, and a portable pharmacy of meds.

The cement crews are lined up and ready to go. Our "cement crew angel"Karen, will leave a care package in each home of kitchen towels, toys and snacks.

The nutrition center has room to invite families with children at risk for malnourishment so we will be on the lookout for these cases and also Children Without Choices medical cases.

Pray for Day 1 tomorrow as everyone gets into routine. We will have a Honduran doctor, nurse, and dentist with us to see patients. Pray for stamina for our cement crew as they bless at least 6 families w new concrete floors. Pray for travel safety and that we may be a blessing to everyone we meet tomorrow.
Barb for the team.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Safe Arrival!

We are enjoying a lovely evening on the porch!  We are happy to be here but all a bit weary from a long day of travel. Travel was uneventful, and all 34 of our suitcases made it too.

We will unpack bags of donations tomorrow morning, visit the nutrition center and go to the lake for a fish fry lunch. It is nice to have a day to gear up for the work day on Monday.

Thanks for praying us thru today!
Barb for the team

Friday, January 09, 2015

Jan 2015 Team of 17! (Jan 10-17)

We are ready to serve, fellowship, have fun AND be warm!  Leaving PA frigid freeze will be wonderful.  The cement crew will be working hard mixing 250 bags of cement by hand, but we pray 30 families will be blessed to have new clean floors.  We look forward to great clinics and partnering with Honduran doctors, nurses and volunteers.  Always receive more than we give in restoring our souls and spirit to the servants God calls us to be.
We appreciate your prayers for travel, health, safety, and team unity.
Jake, Barb, Dave, Don Rice, Joe, Ruth, Karen Hohenstein, Adrienne Vehec, Chris Trauger, Daryl Hackman, Evan Trauger, Evan Yoder, Dave Radeschi, Kevin and Eileen Riley, Tim Weaver, John McNichol