2018 Team

2018 Team
2018 Team in the original church built for Suyapa

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Day 8

Day 8 Thursday March 31, 2011

Last day, last 1 minute shower, last corn tortillas. This day was full of “last times”. We worked at the site for about 2 hours. I think today was the hottest yet. We did have some of the village kids around today, and we were able to personally hand out some toys, ball caps, and stuffed animals. The students also were able to hand out cans of formula to families and mothers we had met throughout the week.

After working we went to the main area where we met the villagers the first day. The School children were waiting for us and came toward us with applause and personally shook all our hands and gave us hugs. Then several people of the village gave us words of thanks and gratitude for coming and being a part of the project. One villager referred to us as “angels sent by God.” I then spoke on behalf of our group and told them that even though we had only worked with them for 6 days, our hearts would be with them forever. I also told them that we had come here to give to them, but instead they had given so much more to us. We then had a procession back to the school where we left our donations. This group had focused donations on school supplies and vitamins. The school had virtually no supplies before, and the teachers were so grateful for the gifts. The parents were also very happy to see the school would have so many things. The teachers are also going to distribute the children’s vitamins. They are going to give each child a vitamin per day. We gave a special bag of donations to Victor. Victor is a villager who stole all our hearts. He has a HUGE smile, and let us use his house for the medical clinic. For the next two groups, you will know him immediately by his smile!!! It was hard for us all to tell him goodbye. Dr.T pulled some teeth from a little boy this morning. He was a nephew of victor who had all of his front t teeth rotten. It was great that Dr. T could help him out. Before left Dr. Kratz and Dr. T helped to flush out a little girl’s ear that had an infection. Once it was time to leave for the compound we all gave away shoes we were wearing, hats, sunglasses, and Niko literally gave the shirt off his back to a man who only had a shirt full of holes.

In closing I would like to say a few more things. First of all to the parents of these students. They are AWESOME. Really, words just cannot explain how fun, giving, and hard working this group was. Thank you for trusting me enough to let them come. Secondly, I would like to thank Richard for all they hard work you do to get us here and monitor things during our stay. This experience would not be possible without the hard work, dedication, and giving spirit of both you and your brother Frank. Thank you so much for not hanging up on me the first time I called you! Thank you so much for letting me go with the Gehlen group 3 years ago and thank you so much for letting me join in your mission. You have changed all our lives with this opportunity. I would also like to thank Carolyn Bickford. You do so much for this mission as well as help me with the details. You trained me well Carolyn, and hopefully I will leave everything at the compound to your satisfaction!

Looking forward to being in the arms of our families. To the next two groups, good luck in carrying on the project. We will be anxiously watching the blog to follow your adventure!!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Day 7

Day 7 March 30, 2011

Even being a tourist is an adventure in Honduras. Today we left bright and early for Valley of the Angels. It was about a 3 hour bus ride from Esquias. We arrived about 10, shopped til 12, and then all met for Pizza. Lucky for us there is also an ice cream shop next door! Yesterday I was translating for Dr. Kratz with a patient, and today I had to save him from the ice cream lady. After a few more purchases, it was back on the bus. Watch out moms and dads, there are several machetes coming home! Riding the bus anywhere in Honduras is always full of fun and different sites. We got to see some beautiful mountain scenery, a very old bus which was being used as a house, and lots of smiling children! On the way home we encountered a tiny old woman trying to cross the road on crutches. Carlos pulled the bus over and Frank gave her the granola bars we had left, and everyone on the bus dug out all the “limps” that they had left. Frank discreetly gave her some of it, and he told us that he was afraid to give her too much because if someone was watching they may rob her. Just goes to show you don’t have to be digging to help people.

Once we were back to the compound we took our group photos and then bagged all of our donations to take to the village tomorrow. The students are very excited about actually putting these donations into the hands of the people. Everyone is excited to get home but sad tomorrow is our last day in the village. We will work for a couple of hours, then spend some time dispensing our donations. From the sound of things right now, looks like Dr. T will be pulling some teeth tomorrow!

We gave the cooks a standing ovation tonight for our fried chicken, spaghetti, potatoes, tortillas, fresh tomatoes, and watermelon. It is late, our bellies are full and we are tired.

Lessons for the day; passing a car while passing a car can be quite tricky with cows in the middle of the road, and that there is no right side of the road in Honduras, but rather it is the best side of the road. And the best side of the road………changes constantly!

Good night to all. We are all having very conflicting emotions about not wanting to leave and wanting to see our families at the same time. However, our snack table has dwindled to nothing, so it is time to come home. Love to all our families and friends. Until tomorrow, buenas noches.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Oh yeah, forgot to tell you, it was 110 today!!!!!

day 6

Day 6, March 29, 2011

Well, it’s official……there are coral snakes in Honduras! Fortunately, we have only seen dead ones. Nevertheless, good to know.

We had a late and long junta last night because the whole team still had a lot process on what we saw and experienced at the mal nutrition center in Sulaco. We were also extremely tired still from that long bus ride and the long day of work so I did not have too much trouble getting everyone settled down. The girls of course have a long process of spraying down there entire room with bug spray before they go to sleep. Apparently they are afraid of the critters that come at night. We woke up bright and early as usual at 5:30. We had a great breakfast of eggs, sausage, beans and tortillas, along with fresh pineapple and papaya. We did our usual job of shoveling and pick axing. Today was hard because the area where we were digging had lots of rocks. The scenery however makes it worth it. The mountain view we get every time we glanced up took any pains we had of work away. In fact, some of them even made their way on a trail up one mountain and I heard the view was incredible. Steve made lots of kids happy by handing out sticker, and some actually went up to a home and visited with a family.

Dr. Kratz had his “clinic” again today. This time Megan and Stephanie assisted by asking each woman a series of question and making them a card with basic information. The clinic is run inside a local’s home. The “patients” gather on her front walkway area, and enter into a small room. This room has two small couch like pieces of furniture and the walls and ceiling are covered in various vinyl table clothes. You go through to the next room which had a bed, a table, and today a rooster, and this is where Dr. Kratz worked with the patients. He did encourage the rooster to remove himself from the bed for the patients. There were also baby chicks in and out. I believe today they got to announce pregnancy to at least 3 women and show them their baby on the ultrasound. The big boss of this operation is Sister Juanita, and she is keeping Dr. Kratz in line. We had a very special patient today. His name is Brian Eduardo. He is 4 years old and has never walked. His mother presented him to us on our first day and we have been trying to help her. I assisted with this today and I can tell you it was heat wrenching because the mom is so worried about him, and is looking to us as her only means of help. Frank is going to make sure he gets to Tegucigalpa for a proper evaluation, and we have given her some exercises to do with his legs in the meantime. Prayers for Eduardo please! Keep checking the blob because I will try to get pictures loaded of the clinic.

The whole team is doing great, and is already a little sad that today was our last day to have lunch at the village and have a full day of work. Tomorrow we are going in to the Valley of the Angels for a well deserved light hearted shopping day, and Thursday we will only work a couple of hours them spend the rest of our time presenting our donations to the villagers and saying thank you and goodbyes. We are one more 1 minute shower away from being home!!! The best thing I overheard today was two students on the bus ride home saying that if they were juniors, they would definitely come again next year. I want nothing more than for this trip to be one of them most fulfilling things these kids have ever done. Knowing that they trusted me and this mission enough to come and already saying they wish they could do it again tells me this entire thing has been a success! Thank you again to all of you for your support, donations, prayers, and most of all lending a member (or members) of your family to this mission!!!!

Bugs seem to be the theme for today. We had a spider discovered in a sports bra ,at least one tick, and we discovered termites in a hollowed out tree that Carlos stopped at today. Chastyn screamed that she saw a snake but it was a frog. Carlos is our bus driver for those of you who don’t know. He is great! Today he drove home a completely different way so that we could see some different things.

To my husband, yes, get the basketball goal and set it up, tell Jack I am counting the tomorrows too, and I will probably come to Tulsa late Saturday because I cannot wait that long to see you and Trace!

We love and miss you all!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Day 5

Day 5 Monday March 28, 2011

Mondays are hard, even in Honduras. Getting up and going today seemed exceptionally hard. I think everyone was still recovering from the fatigue of the day before. We even skipped our junta last night we were all so tired and had gotten back later that expect ed. Also, the e students helped Dr. Kratz take the Tylenol’s some Aleve and some vitamins and divide them up into individual baggies to distribute to the “clinic” today.

Our drive to the worksite was as scenic as always, the sun was hot today. It was about 100 degrees. There were not many Honduras working with us today, and once again instead of switching off and taking turns with pick axes and shovels, we each had our own. This means everyone felt determined and obligated to work very hard. In fact, we stopped a little early today because I was having a hard time getting this group to take breaks! There were some bees around because of the coffee plants. We were not bothered by them, but I think the intense sound of their buzzing was not exactly comforting to some! In two past experiences the villages have been set up a little differently. They are smaller and more close knit, so there are kids around all the time to play with, and you are working side by side with the Hondurans and forming fast friendships. That was not our experience today. It was just us. We still had fun, worked hard, and had a great experience, but it does make for a boring blog! Dr. Kratz set up in a villager’s household to do his exams. He saw about a 15 women. He was able to use a portable ultra sound and this was first experience for most of the women. He commented what a contrast it was to be using the technology of an ultra sound in an environment that does not even have electricity. ( we had a generator in case you are wondering). He will see about the same amount tomorrow. Sister stayed with him to translate and Chastyn and Sami also helped out by asking the women basic health questions.

There is however lots of soccer and duck duck goose going on in the park right now. Bonding with the kids here in Esquias has definitely been a highlight. There was one little boy who had a really torn up pair of shoes there the last time, and the students made sure to take him some new ones today.

Fun and light hearted moments of the day; Emily’s “pet frog” that a little Honduran boy stabbed with a stick, Brandon and Lauren sang “ice ice baby”, we saw a snake, we gave out suckers to the children as they got out of school today, and they ran alongside the bus smiling and waving as we were leaving, and I learned giving a little Honduran girl a beach ball will bring lots of laughter. Our group motto we decided for the day is “felicidades es el pedo seco”.

Lots of love to all our families. We love you all very much. Everyone is healthy and happy but starting to get a little homesick so your comments mean so much. A3 Spanish, thanks for checking in, I miss you! Jack, I will be home soon so we can have your birthday party!!!!!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Day 4

Sunday March 27, 2011

Pavement and a cold drink. These were the two things I think we were all most thankful for today!!! Our morning started out with pancakes and mass. Both were wonderful. That is the wonderful thing about a catholic mass, it can be anywhere in the world and you know what is going on. The church was full and we got welcomed with applause from the congregation. No animals running through or on the altar this year though!Immediately after mass we loaded the bus for Sulaco. This was an almost three hour drive on nonpaved roads, but beautiful mountain scenery and lots of sites going through different towns. Along the way we got a glimpse at the house of the “stick lady”, drove pass a huge gaping hole on the side of the road, had to bypass many cows, and waved at lots of Hondurans. Our first stop in Sulaco was the sewing school which is now just a place of business for some of Sister’s former students, and the woodworking school which is also no longer operating as a school. There were some purses and pillows, quilts, etc for sale at the sewing center and some woodworking pieces for sale as well. It was a good opportunity for some of us to get some souvenirs and support the local workers. The next stop was the mal nutrition center. There were at least two children that were not only there when we were there last year, but my previous year as well. It took the children just a short while to warm up to our group, but it did not take our student long to get the children to go to them and even play. Niko had a child on his back, Nick invented an indoor soccer game, and Devin and some of the girls had a few of them outside. We also presented our beds. For those of you who don’t know, SCHS raised money and bought 12 pack n’plays to take to the center. Even though they do not have many children now, in a few months they will and there are just not enough beds. Thanks to the generosity of our Catholic community that is no longer a problem. Mrs. Bureman even made sheets and extra mattress pads for each bed so they would be more comfortable. We also we able to give them 9 large cans of formula, and in a bank account in their name our community has raised and or contributed a total of $2,156. Thank you so much to all who were involved in these gifts. It is such a great feeling for us all to know we have made a difference in a place that so desperately needed it. This is always a painful visit. The children are severely mal nourished or they would not be there, and although it is fun to play with the kids, it is a hard lesson for the students to realize why they are there. The other hard thing for Sister and I was to see the lack of toys, books, and stimulation for the kids. GEHLEN PLEASE HELP. There is literally nothing there. Maybe on your visit you could bring some toys? We all left with a very depressed and empty feeling.

Sulaco was very hot, so it was a nice end to the day to walk to a friend of Sister’s named Dulce who had VERY cold cokes waiting for us and “fritos” which was a fried dough pastry. We board the bus for the long ride home. We got back very late so that is why this blog is very late. We had a hamburger for dinner. The students say they are ready to get back to the hard labor tomorrow. Our work day will be a little different. Don and Greg are running a Clinic. Don has a list of 30 “patients” and Greg may be pulling teeth. The people of this mountain have not seen nor do they access to Dr.’s. so this is a real opportunity. We love and miss our families, but everyone is doing great and is very happy. Thanks to all our family and friends for the comments. It means so much to us. Bob, thanks for handling everything, and Trace I love and miss you too! Jack and Ty have fun at school tomorrow (ha ha) and I love and miss you both.

Until tomorrow………..SCHS Mission 2011

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Day 3

Saturday, March 26, 2011

A pick ax to the Eye!! Don’t worry, it’s not as bad as it sounds, but I know it would get your attention. Emily Ortega got her own eye pick ax, but it was minor and just below the eye and we do have an eye doc on board (and mom too). We thought we knew hard work yesterday, but today really challenged us all. We were paired up and each team worked a section digging. There were no ceremonies this morning so it was straight to work once we got there. It was also very hot today, so digging and pick axing from 8a to 12a wore us all out. We keep everyone one their water and Gatorade. The little kids came around and me and a group of the girls had fun leading them in song and playing games. We sang chocolate, heads shoulders, row row row your boat, and played duck duck goose…………all in Spanish of course!

During our work day we had no access to bathrooms, so that made for some interesting fun. Melissa had her first “natural experience”! We ate again in the church, tortillas and rice, spaghetti and meat balls and more watermelon. Tonight we had tortillas, chicken, vegetables, and fresh tomatoes. As you can see we are well fed.

We had lots of time in the park today. The students are a real hit with all the kids. We had Stephanie, Macy, and Chastyn doing head stands, Mary and Megan were surrounded by a group of little girls, Connor and Brandon were showing some basketball moves, Niko, Lauren, Melissa, and Kirsten were playing soccer, Nick was sketching the whole thing, and Sami was in the middle of it all. Devin seems to have his own fan club there. I also walked them to the corner store and we bought ice cream. You would not believe what an exciting treat that was, something as simple as ice cream has much more significance now. It was not all play back at the compound, moms get ready, everyone was washing their clothes at the “pila”. This is a small well inside the compound with a washboard and soap. But our chaperones are busy too….Steve Rice has tended to an eye injury, helped fix a truck, and apparently he and Don just helped install a water tank here at the compound. Tomorrow we will go to church and off to the mal nutrition center. We will be delivering our beds as well. The team is both excited and anxious about what they will experience.

Everyone is doing well and having lots of fun. Once again I was very impressed with how hard everyone worked. It was hard to get them to even stop for breaks. I think everyone will sleep well tonight. Thank you for all your comments, they are very much appreciated!

Oh, and Chuck, Don says the fishing here is great, you should try it!

All the students and chaperones say “miss you and lots of love!”

Friday, March 25, 2011

Day 2

Friday March 25, 2011

Hello to all! After a refreshing night’s sleep, we were up early and excited for the first day of work at Vallecio. The students had a breakfast of eggs mixed with peppers I think. Of course, all of our girls matched this morning wearing their Irish work shirts and styling all their hair the same! Even in Honduras our girls look cute! The ride to the village was on very winding and narrow roads, but never fears parents, Carlos our bus driver is the best! Vallecio is not but about an hour away, so the ride went by very quickly. We all enjoyed waving to all the children going to school that we saw along the way. When we got to Vallecio, we parked in what appeared to be their soccer field, so immediately we had some happy people in our group to see that the village had a place for them to potentially play some soccer with the kids. Some people of the village had gathered, but it did not take long for there to be many more. The best thing was when the school teacher marched all the children down to greet us. Then there were several speeches of thanks from different leaders of the community. Then we all grabbed either a pick ax or shovel and followed Angel (the project engineer) down the road to see where he wanted us to start digging. The dirt was dry, the work was hard, but with the help of several very strong Hondurans we made a lot of progress.

One thing was that some of the boys felt sorry for the Honduran kids helping and already gave way their work gloves. As I was scolding for this I then found out Nick had also given away his sunglasses. This was all in about the first 30 minutes of working. I found out today that we have some very soft hearted boys in our group! We got their gloves back…don’t worry moms! Everyone pitched in and worked very hard. The students are already attached to several of the kids. After work, we were served lunch at the village church. We had corn tortillas, rice, a potato salad type dish, and fried chicken. The best was when they sliced open watermelons for us!

Next was back to the compound for our 1 minute showers. We were out of water for a while, but eventually everyone got cleaned up. The students went to the park to play with the locals. There was soccer, bubble blowing, jump roping, basketball, and cartwheels by Devin!! We are now about to have dinner now. Please know that everyone is doing SO well. The kids are great. They are having fun, behaving, and contributing so much in every way. You should all be proud! Please Please leave us comments!!! We miss everyone!

This just in: Stephanie had a bite that was just treated by Frank by the juice of a poinsettia leaf!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Day 1

Thursday, March 24th

Day 1

Well, we are here. We are safe. And we are tired!

Before I can go on any further, we first all want to say to Peyton we love her and miss her. We are all so sorry about your passport and we all want you to know you are here with us in spirit!

Our day started out by getting up at 3am. We have traveled by bus, plane, and bus again. However, the students and chaperones alike have all agreed it has been worth it! It is so hard to explain to those who have never been the excitement of landing and the sights and sounds you see along the way to Esquias. We are all settled in our “rooms”, and Tacha had a nice dinner for us of corn tortillas, rice, beans, meat, and the most delicious fresh tomatoes!! Everyone is adjusting perfectly, and we are busy getting ready for bed and preparing for our first work day tomorrow.

We closed our evening here with our “junta” which is small sharing and gathering we have each evening. The students were also given some rules about the compound, showering, and diving for toilet paper with stick if they accidentally throw it in the toilet! Bugs killed or chased off by Mona so far; 1 roach, 1 beetle, and a spider which the girls insist was a tarantula

Frank wants us on the bus ready to go by 6:50. The students will wake up at 5:30, dress, eat breakfast, do their chores, and load the bus. Loading the bus requires a lot work. Not only do the students have to make sure they have all their personal items like gloves, sunscreen, etc., but we also have to load all our water, Gatorade, medicines, toilet paper , and dishes for our meals with locals. We will probably be greeted by a large group from the village when we arrive. We will be given a welcoming ceremony, then Angel the engineer will put us to work. I will have to let you know tomorrow what that will be specifically. We will work until about 12, then have lunch at the village that has been prepared for us. We will then load the bus for our trip home. We will probably do some work here in the afternoon to sort our items, and hopefully they can go play with the kids at the park tomorrow.

Love to all our families. Thank you all for your support for letting us come, we miss all of you. Thanks to all of our loyal friends a blog followers. We are turning in for an early night. I will update you more tomorrow with details on each of your children! I sure I will have many funny stories by then.

Love you Bob, Ty, Trace and Jack!!!!!!!

Springfield Catholic Team Arrives in Esquias

This is Carolyn blogging for the Springfield Catholic Mission Team. Seivert just spoke with the team (6:01 p.m. Iowa time) and they were unloading the bus. After that they were going to get settled into the dorms and get everything organized. Merica hopes to blog if she can. Everyone on the team is excited and ready to go to work tomorrow.

Springfield Catholic Arrives Safely

This is being posted by Richard Seivert at 2:20 P.M.  The mission team from Springfield Catholic High arrived 5 minutes late into Tegucigalpa today - Thursday, March 24.
Francis Seivert and Julio Rivera met them at the airport. With them came Sister Joan Polak, Notre Dame Sister from Omaha. Sister met the team in Houston.
I just spoke with my brother Francis at 2:15 this afternoon and they were all north of Tegucigalpa on their way to Esquias. All their bags arrived with them - a minor miracle.
I will speak with Merica Clinkenbeard late today.
The plan is to stop briefly in La Esperanza for a bathroom break and maybe a soda. Then on to Esquias.
Hopefully Merica will be able to blog from Esquias. I will visit with her by phone as well. If she is unable to blog I will do it for her following our phone conversation.
Francis describes the condition as very hot. Although the team is in a rather new bus with air conditioning at the moment. He describes the team as being very upbeat, ready to go, and excited.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Message From Frank in Honduras

Dick, Carolyn, Merica, Linda, Fr. Cosgrove, Sister Joan, Mary, Katie, All team Members and Parents,

I am sending you this message to confirm that I have a great doctor that will support all 3 teams when in Honduras.
Her name Mardi Avila and she lives and works in the city and department of Cortez. She was one of the special doctors that JTFB had with them during our recent medical trip into la Montana de la Flor (MDLF). She has agreed to be available to answer my inquiries if one of the kids or adults get sick during the time they are working and staying in Honduras. I wish you could meet her.
Mardi,thanks for your willingness to help our teams. The project this year is again a large water project in the village of Vallecillo in Comayaqua department. The teams comes from Missouri, South Dakota and Iowa. These teams will bring 85 people (mostly high school students) into Honduras. Mardi, you can go to these web sites and get a better idea of the mission(s) we work on: www.gehlenmissionhonduras.org and www.missionhonduraslemars.org. If you go to www.missionhonduraslemars.org you can read (under the heading of "Feature Story") about our recently completed mission to MDLF. I wish I had a photo to send to the supervisors of these teams, but Julio did not take one of you.
Okay Mardi, thanks again for willing to help us in case we have a medical problem. You know the payoff. I will not let Dr. Coello know. Julio and I plan to meet with him and Dr. Hoilein and Col. Shipley next week.
I will talk with you later. Until then, I provide your e-mail address to my chief and those that are the main coordinators of this trip: Mardi Avila ;
Mardi, until we meet again (hopefully in late May/early June) I wish you peace, hope and love. God bless my friend. See you soon.
Mr. Francis