The whole group returned to La Montanita on Monday to help the locals complete the school desks and benches, start the Justa stove project, conduct a dental hygiene clinic, teach a group of women how to make various crafts for them to sell, and assist Dr. Elsa conduct a personal hygiene clinic.
We installed their first Justa stove today. This stove is an efficient, wood burning unit that is totally vented to the outside. Omar, a previous recipient of one of these stoves, assisted us by building one for a resident of La Montanita. He concurrently trained some other residents. On Tuesday, our plan is to install a second unit in another home. This installation will be done by the local residents under the supervision of Omar.
The enthusiasm and work ethic of the residents of this village are exciting and encouraging.
While Allen was carrying out his board president duties (walking around inspecting!), he saw a group of men & boys complete a desk, set it on the floor, and give it the “wobble” test. Well, it failed the test. Then, they disassembled the desk and reassembled it, and it now passed the “wobble” test. We were pleased that this group had taken great pride in what they were doing.
… And they came to the mountain on a horse
As we finished the dental hygiene clinic, two little girls (ages 11 and 6) came up the hill to the village school riding on a horse. They jumped off their horse uphill from the school and conferred. The older girl being a bit reluctant sent her younger sister down to the group of North American missionaries. The girls had heard that the team was giving away toothbrushes and they wanted some for their family. They had ridden the horse for an hour down their mountain and up the mountain to La Montanita. Surrounding the little six year old with love, we learned the family’s sad story. Just after the 11 year old was born, her father abandoned the family. The mother eventually remarried and when the 6 year-old was 14 months old, her father was killed by a gang in San Pedro Sula. The mother again remarried and her youngest child was born. The mother could not accompany the two girls on their journey as she had to care for her son and the flock of newly born chickens. When we demonstrated the correct method of brushing and flossing, the six year old related that she knew how as her mother had taught the children. Finally, after meeting with the children’s grandmother who lived in La Montanita, the two girls mounted their horse for the hour’s ride home – a home on the next mountain top with no electricity – a ride the girls made twice a week to their grandmother’s during the school year. The team was amazed by the beauty, intelligence, and presence of the six year old who held intelligent and thoughtful conversations with adults she had never met before. There were lots of teary eyes during this encounter.
Personal Hygiene..the road to better health
Today Doctor Elsa gave the first chat on personal hygiene to the women of La Montanita. Eleven aspects of personal hygiene were discussed such as skin care, hair (checking for head lice) and ears. Many old remedies were questioned. The Doctor assured the women that brushing a cat’s tail over sore eyes won’t cure the problem.
Our team cheered as she reinforced the importance of dental hygiene and encouraged the moms to set a good example for their children. Doctor Elsa closed with words we all love of caring for one another and helping where needed.
Some thoughts about Honduras
We have been very busy and have met many wonderful people. It has not been all hard workt hough. This is an amazingly beautiful place. Imagine sitting at breakfast with a view of hibiscus blossoms and hummingbirds. As I write this I see a flock of cattle egrets. The mountain views are glorious. Two very friendly and capable women prepare our meals and do our laundry. The people here may lack many of our material possessions, but they seem full of joy.
Such a meaningful experience for us.
Yesterday in La Montanita we were very pleased to have more than a dozen women & girls come to show us some of their handiwork – some embroidery and some hand sewing. They were quite interested in learning to crochet. We had some crochet hooks with us and were fortunate to find some acrylic yarn in Quimistan (35 cents for enough to make one baby cap). We found our pupils were fast learners and very interested. They told us they wished to learn to make artificial flowers and things they can use to decorate their homes so we are looking for supplies and ideas. Lovely, friendly folks to work with.
Dinner with Martha
We had dinner with Martha on Tuesday night. She is the” hostess with the mostest”. Due to her kind hospitality we are sheltered and fed in luxurious surroundings. We have flowers in the yard, a soft bed in which to sleep and lots of good food and company! She is a remarkable person. As she related to me. She grew up barefoot and with one dress that she washed every night so she could attend school. She witnessed a relative who was assinated in front of his home for being of the wrong political persuasion. She was able to come to the U.S. because of the sponsorship of an American family. At that time she was marriend and pregnant with her fifth child. Her husband and children stayed in Honduras. They later divorced. Her fifth child was born in the U.S. She lived and worked for many years in the U.S. Subsequently she married an American man and settled in California and brought her four other children to live with her.
They returned often to Honduras and Quimistan. After they semi-retired they decided to return here to live and bring Christ to the people by helping them to help themselves. The reason she shows Christian missionaries such kind hospitality is that as a missionary to Honduras she was sleeping in a card board box and it was so cold!
Drinkable Water at Last!
How do you feel when you help save a baby’s life? We got a little taste of that feeling this week.
Water in many areas of Honduras is contaminated with E. coli, a primary contributor to gastrointestinal disease, diarrhea, and dehydration that cause many infant deaths. One of our health initiatives has been to identify contaminated water sources in communities in our mission areas, and to help the communities overcome the problems.
This week we tested several water samples from two mountain communities of 300-400 people each—La Montanita and Santa Clara. We used field test kits that show clearly in 24-48 hours whether a water sample contains E. coli, and roughly how much.