2018 Team

2018 Team
2018 Team in the original church built for Suyapa

Saturday, July 10, 2010

From Seivert - Home In Iowa

Greetings to all blog readers from LeMars, Iowa.

We arrived home very late Thursday night. Very tired but energized by the wonderful experiences we had this past week. A great deal of work to do in the coming days, weeks, and months.
Many thanks to all of you that keep us in your prayers and thoughts. Knowing that we are not alone in these missions gives confidence and hope.
The planning mission review: thoughts.
Representing Gehlen Mission Honduras, Mission Honduras LeMars, and ...Then Feed Just one (fulfilling to say the least).
It seemed like we were always on the road - physically hard.
Many emotional moments.
Emotional memorial Mass for Illich. All of his family were present. A great reunion with them.
Lots of very poor, destitute, and sick children and adults.
A great deal of dengue fever in Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula. None or very little in the outlying villages. Very Hot and humid - hard to deal with.
Many children being taken care of through Mission Honduras LeMars and the Illich Foundation.
Gift of Mary Don de Maria children's home run by Mother Teresa's Sisters of Charity is amazing - many volunteer opportunities if you would like to go. We can make arrangements. 4 of Mother's Sisters are stationed there at all times.
Hole of la Pena San Francisco is also amazing - right in Tegucigalpa - run by Fr. Ramon from Spain - many volunteer opportunities here as well.
Introducing Plumpy Nut and Supplementary Plumpy to the medical people and the Minister of Health was awesome.
The visit to the Tolupan was special. It would take hours to explain the significance. Received a 'peace pipe' from Jefe Julio, chief of the Tolupan. In return I gave him one pack of Marlboro Lights as a sign of the strong bond between our two peoples. We then smoked a cigarette together - amazing feelings knowing we are the only people that have full access to the Tolupan. Loved hearing Tolupan being spoken between the people. Introducing Dr. Kemmer - nutrition specialist (retired military colonel and now professor) and Dr. Coello (U.S. Military base at Soto Cano and Task Force Bravo) and the new health initiatives was gratifying to us. Francis has been working toward this end for years. Amazing stuff.
Seeing the completed water projects just finished by an international Rotary water grant - 4 projects completed. The 5th will be done next spring by high school teams - we made that deal with the village.
The Cerro de plata foundation and the work they are doing for us and ...Then Feed Just One meals into the country. 3 full containers this past spring. Wow!
More requests for water projects in MDLF - will probably begin another application with Rotary.
Some of the children we are helping: These are all very severe medical cases - we will continue to work with them throughout the year through Marny Rivera and the Illich Foundation.
Jarmi, Nelly, Santos, Francisca, Yesenia, Cynthia, Alexi, Pablo, Oscar, Franci, and Kelvin
We got to see most of them on our trip.
Meetings with various groups all went well - as productive as we have ever had.
One of the most emotional experiences occured Thursday morning - we left Esquias very early and stopped for a small breakfast break in Dona Blanca's village. Much to our surprise in walked Ligia Erazo and her father. Ligia (23 three years old as I remember) was a young mother of two that Mission Honduras LeMars brought to the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, Maryland four years ago for a stem cell transplant. The pics of this reunion are amazing. I remember sitting in El Guante 5 years ago when she and her entire family came to our compound for help - otherwise she would die. Much thanks to Frank who pushed and pushed for this to happen. She comes back to Bethesda once a year for a check-up but is very healthy and well. She cried and cried before we had to leave.
Great things but a whole lot to do. Will send numerous photos via your email address when I get a chance. Will try to place just a few on this blog when I figure out how to do it.

Take Care,
Richard Seivert

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

In Esquias

Hi All,

Good day yesterday into Esquias. Very ill little boy. We saw him yesterday afternoon. Today we had a long day of bumpy travel to Vallecillo. Made a deal for next year's water project. Then drove to La Florida to check the water project. Everything is fine. Next we visited El Junco to check their water project. Things are okay but they need a little work after the heavy rains. Visited numerous sick people along the way that are being helped by Mission Honduras LeMars. Look forward to putting up more information tomorrow. We have awesome photos. We will try to blog or email tomorrow.


Sunday, July 4, 2010

Montaña de la Flor

Hello Blog Readers,

What a spectacular day we had. As you can see from the above photo of Richard and Francis Seivert, the 2 docs, and the chiefs of the tribes, the meeting with the Tolupan in Montaña de la Flor ended on a very positive note.

Our day began at 4:30. Those Seiverts really like to get going early. It was a very smart thing to do, though, as Francis well knows. It took us around 4 hours to drive to the mountain over very rutted roads. We drove through streams approximately a dozen times. Once Sr. Val came close to getting stuck, but she gunned it, and we shot right out  of there. We all breathed a sigh of relief because pushing a truck through one of those streams would not have been fun, and we'd all have gotten quite wet.

Dr. Miguel Cuello - medical doctor with Task Force Bravo, Dr. Teri Kemmer - USD nutrition professor/retired military, Vanessa - a nurse, Marny - Illich Foundation, Marta - Cerro de Plata Foundation, Sr. Val Knoche - translator who spent 32 years as a missionary in Honduras, Richard Seivert - president of MHL, Francis Seivert - team leader of all mission teams, Linda Reichle & Carolyn Bickford - representatives of MHL travelled in two trucks. After a brief stop for a breakfast of fruit, yogurt, and sandwiches, we continued to a small village where we visited a little girl with osteomyelitis. She has a rod in her leg and it is much shorter than her other leg. The doctor examined her, and Marny will follow up with the required work of scheduling appointments and arranging for the girl's and her mother's transportation into Tegucigalpa.

Upon reaching La Ceiba, our friend Julio reintroduced Richard and Francis Seivert to Chief Julio. Chief Julio presented a pipe he had made to Seivert in thanks for his continued support and the support of the Le Mars Rotary and Mission Honduras LeMars  for the water projects, and to MHL and Kids Against Hunger for the life-saving food packages that have been sent to them. After greeting the other chiefs - Thomas and Alvero, all moved to the meeting room. Francis, Richard, Dr. Cuello, and Dr. Kemmer welcomed everyone to the meeting. They then spoke in turn to ask permission of the Tolupan to allow them to do a nutrition study of the children, and to bring medical teams in through Task Force Bravo. MHL also plans to bring in Plumpynut, in conjunction with Drs. Kemmer and Cuello. Pumpynut is a nutritional supplement for extremely malnourished children, of which there are quite a few on the mountain. The Tolupan leaders were extremely grateful for this opportunity for their people. All people in the meeting signaled their agreement through a show of hands.

We spent some time touring the school on the mountain and speaking with some of the people. Two village leaders requested water projects for their villages. The village leaders of the three completed water projects voiced their gratitude, relating that MHL and Rotary has done for them what their own government has not.

The trip down the mountain was also bumpy, but the treks through the various streams proved quite easy for the drivers. However, Seivert and Linda were almost bounced out of the back of the truck and into the stream. Fortunately, they were holding on tightly enough to avoid being bucked out.

We said a farewell to all of our Honduran friends. I am sure we will be seeing more of all of them, as we all work together for the poor in Honduras.

This evening we enjoyed a meal at Chili's. At this point most of the group is either already in bed or taking a much needed shower after that dusty ride. I plan to join them shortly. It was a wonderful day. The agreement that was reached today with the Tolupan promises to greatly improve the health and well-being of the people of Montaña de la Flor, thanks to the efforts of a group of caring and dedicated people, most especially Francis and Seivert.

Tomorrow Francis says we can sleep in a bit. We'll eat breakfast around 6:30 and then head to Esquias for the next leg of our journey. Hopefully, I will be able to continue these blogs there, but there may not be internet service there.

Adios, Amigos!


Saturday, July 3, 2010

Eye-Opening Sites

It is Saturday; well, not for much longer as I write this blog. It will be hard to tell you about some of the things we saw today. If I can get it to work, I will upload a couple photos. I hope it will work.  (Photo on left was taken in the place called "the hole" in Tegucigalpa.)

This morning we met some Honduran friends who would take us to a place that was in Tegucigalpa, but way UP on the edge. It was the home of Cynthia, a little girl who suffers with a heart condition. At this time Cynthia is living at the orphanage run by the Sisters of Charity. The doctors are unable to help her, and they say she has months, perhaps a year or so to live. Her mother would like to take her home to die. However, the mother requires a latrine and pila - a place to do the wash - so she does not have to leave Cynthia alone. Cynthia needs someone with her all the time. Marta took us to visit her home. It was a small shack with a hotplate for a stove, a table just large enough to hold it was the kitchen. There was a table just barely large enough for two. A sheet hung from a string to hide the twin size bed that served the mother and 2 children who are living there with her. The mother was off working. She does laundry for some families in the city and makes very little money. With that money she pays her bus ride to work and buys drinking water for the family and a small amount of food. Marta is getting funding for a pila and latrine. We are hoping to help her family with enough money so the mother can stop working and stay home with her children until Cynthia dies. It is a very sad situation.

The priest who is also helping this family and many others - including the school I blogged about yesterday - showed us another place he is building in that area. They showed us the progress on that building. Then the volunteers and Marta took us to another school that is what you could call a supplemental school. All the children must be in extreme poverty to be there. 1700 children attend that school. Some of the older children stay on after a certain age to work and teach the younger one, as well as take care of the grounds and go to university themselves. It was an amazing place to see.

This afternoon we picked up Dr. Teri Kemmer, the professor of nutrition from USD, and her son Nick. They attended Mass at the Basilica with us. Afterwards we all went to Marny's house, which she share with her parents, Fabio, and Graciela. They served us a delicious supper of chicken, beef, rice, bread, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, and more. We had cake for dessert. We all enjoyed lots of conversation.

It is now 10:30 in Honduras. The rest of the team is sleeping. We will rise at 4:30 a.m. to start our drive to Montaña de la Flor. It will be another special day for us. We hope to meet with all the chiefs of the Tolupan to set up a medical/nutritional connection of some type that will help the Tolupan with much better health. It was raining when I came to the computer. We hope it will not be raining in the morning or we will not be able to travel up the mountain.

Until tomorrow,

Friday, July 2, 2010

Welcome to Honduras

Hi All,

Our trip from Houston to Honduras was fairly uneventful. All of our baggage arrived; a rather new experience for me. Sr. Val and Marny met us at the airport and we all headed for Leslie's Place, our bed and breakfast.

It is a little toasty here, but not too bad. It is definitely cooler than when our team was here at Easter time for the water project. AND, we are staying in comfort for the first three days as our room has air conditioning!

Our first project was to visit the Sisters of Charity and their orphanage (as well as a place for sick elderly people and pregnant teens). We toured the facility, visited with Marta, who supports the orphanage, discussed our continued support through our food packing programs and plumpy nut, and played with the children for a bit. We then took an eye-opening ride to a place called "the hole." I have been many places in Honduras, but this place was still something new for me. There is a school that is run pretty much by volunteers from both Honduras and Spain. They run a before and after school program. The teachers there give them more instructions and they are fed a small mid-morning or afternoon snack as well as a lunch at noon. The children who attend morning public school come to this school in the afternoon. Those who attend afternoon public school come in the mornings. It keeps these children from roaming the streets and gives them a better overall education. I am glad we had the chance to see it.

After returning to our hotel, we prepared for Mass. This was a Mass for the little 4 and a half-year-old Illich, who died on June 10. The family was in attendance and many friends, as well. We gave them a DVD of photos of Illich and a Shutterfly book full of pictures of him. We hope they will treasure these keepsakes. Seivert gave a nice speech to let them know how special Illich was to all of us. He will never be forgotten. And his Aunt Marny also expressed how Illich will live on through the Illich Foundation, which will help many other young children with special medical or other needs.

On our way back to the hotel we stopped at Burger King and ate like Americans. PLUS, Linda had a chance to get her ice cream fix. With the travelling both in the air and on the busy, crowded, bumpy streets of Tegucigalpa, we are all ready for a good night's rest. Our saga continues tomorrow.

Hasta mañana!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

On Our Way

Hey Everyone,
We left Le Mars around 9 a.m. enroute to the Omaha Airport. Francis likes to go through security early and Seivert likes to wait until the last minute. Linda and I stayed 'middle of the road.' We all went through security without a hitch; however, Linda got the experience of the full body scan. There is just NO privacy anymore.

Our airplane was a small one. We experienced a few bumps, but altogether, it was a pretty uneventful ride. We were in the Houston Airport, picked up our luggage, and were waiting for the hotel shuttle before 5. After settling into the Country Inn & Suites, we all walked down the block for some beverages. It's cloudy and extremely humid here in Houston. We noted that the temperature was a bit cooler than last year, and I'm pretty sure it's a lot cooler than what we'll be experiencing in Honduras the rest of our trip.

While waiting for our shuttle at the airport, we all met a newly ordained priest from Kentucky. Before leaving on the shuttle, Seivert had told him all about our mission trips - both student and medical. We left him with a business card with hopes that he will be checking our websites.

After resting tonight, we'll head for the airport at 6:30 a.m. Our flight leaves for Tegucigalpa leaves after 9. Sr. Val will meet us at the airport. It will be great to see her again and to spend some time with her. She has a wealth of Honduran experience and will be our translator throughout the trip.

Ah, you may be interested in knowing that Seivert gave us quite a history lesson as we relaxed this evening. Thus, I'm pretty sure we can already call this a 'work' trip because Linda and I worked very hard at learning our Texas history tonight. Seriously, the real work begins the minute we step foot on Honduran soil. We can hardly wait.

I promise to keep you updated to the best of my ability - as long as I can find a computer with internet. Please keep all of us, as well as those we hope to help, in your thoughts and prayers over the next week.

Hasta luego,

Planning Trip

This morning Seivert, Francis, Linda, and I are heading for Honduras to do some preparatory work for the upcoming mission trips. It will be a busy week of visiting many people and places. I am really looking forward to visiting the Sisters of Charity Orphanage in Tegucigalpa. I have heard a lot of this orphanage but have never had the opportunity to see it in person.

There are also quite a few sick children that we will be seeing. We hope that we are able to help all of them so they can live healthier lives one day.

Friday evening we'll attend a Mass for Illich, the little 4-year-old boy who passed away on June 10. If you do not know Illich's story, I hope you'll take the time to read his story at the http://www.missionhonduraslemars.org/ and click the 'Special People' link.

Weather permitting, we will also be traveling to Montana de la Flor to set up health and/or medical trips for the Tolupan. Dr. Kemmer and a doctor from Task Force Bravo will join us for the trip to Montana.

July 5th we'll head for Esquias to stay at the compound for the remainder of our time. From there we will meet with the mayor of Esquias. We'll also travel to El Junco and La Florida to check the past two student water projects. It gives us the chance to see the completed projects and observe how they are treating the water. It's nice to be able to see the completion of a lot of hard work by students and chaperones.

Finally, we'll make our best effort to find a water project or projects that will keep our upcoming mission trips busy. It becomes ever more difficult to find water projects in the vicinity of Esquias because we have completed so many of them already. I guess that's a good problem, but still a problem we must solve if we are to continue our water projects.

Please keep our little group in your prayers over the next week. Whenever I can get to a computer, I will update you on our progress.