2018 Team

2018 Team
2018 Team in the original church built for Suyapa

Friday, February 26, 2016

Our Day In Honduras

26 February 2016
Santa Lucia, Honduras, Central America
My day here in Honduras
Julio and I are back in Santa Lucia after leaving early this morning to meet with Marta and Claudia.  We would then travel to Nueva Capital (NC).  On the way down the mountain to Tegucigalpa (Tegus) we came upon an accident where a car had hit a pole, wires down on the road, 2-3 others cars damaged.  We saw the accident on TV about 0600 hrs.  No one killed thankfully.  We had a small drizzle.  Some of these people just drive so fast. 
We met Marta and Claudia at Cerro de Plata Foundation.  Then…to NC.  No more drizzle (it had quit about ½ the way around the “Ring” road).  We went around the way the big truck will take with the wood, tin etc.  When you see the pictures I will send, and you will then understand that all these materials that are being used (sand, rock, cement, water, side boards for the form and etc.) have all been carried to these sites by hand.  On the back of men, women and probably some children.
You can see the families are involved in helping.  They are so thankful. One of the most amazing things I learned today was that 2 of the families actually slept out in the open to protect all the materials from anyone trying to take them. That is how meaningful this is to them.  Even 1 of Paola’s brothers was helping.  Even the dog, Lassie was involved, but not so much in carrying buckets of cement.  I want to stress the very MANUAL process involved here.  Talking with Marta later, I asked her what it would have cost to bring a truck here with the materials.  She gave me a price…my comment…I probably would have paid!!!  But, this is not the way here in Honduras.  People carried it from the school, down the steep steps, and then up, up and up.
It will take me some time to upload the pictures of the day, and then later the videos.  For this reason I will end this message.  I will be back on the blog tomorrow in the A.M. to talk more about our discussions.
Again today was cool and windy, often without lights. Oops!  The lights have come back.
So, from Santa Lucia, Honduras…
Mr. Francis

Thursday, February 25, 2016

11 Days To Go!

25 February 2016

Santa Lucia, Honduras

Today in Honduras for me….

The day dawned early as usual.  I would go to Tegucigalpa to meet with my friend Julio that was returning from a few days working in la Montaña de la Flor (MDLF) at his farm with his family.  It started to rain about 0645 hours (which is needed here) but I had washed clothes in the early morning yesterday and they had not yet dried.  I had to hustle to rescue them, which I did.  For those that know me, I am not good at washing clothes in the pila…but I guess I do OK. 

Then I started my walk to the bus to go to Tegucigalpa to meet Julio.  It rained, but lightly.  I always enjoy the bus ride to Tegucigalpa.  I take the big bus in because of room.  I think it is therapeutic for me.  I also enjoy the ride back.  Many faces, many stops.  I have learned the faces of many.  The bus drivers now know me.  In Tegucigalpa I got a taxi.  This was one of the better (of many taxi rides) I have had in Tegucigalpa.  He has been driving for 17 years, no robberies, etc.  He has 4 kids and took me on a ride I have been on for much of it, but traffic was bad so he kept going different routes.  I had no problem with this because I know the areas he was driving, but I could not drive some of those tomorrow even if I had to.  Nice guy…good tip.  Taxi, old, beat up, but most are.  I learn much from these taxi drivers.  Good tip!

I met up with Julio at Toncontin Airport.  He had left MDLF (La Ceiba) at 0400 hrs.  It rained heavily, and he even had to stop and buy some new wipers.  We needed to do this earlier.  But…we stretch it sometimes.  He told me about 3 kids.  One was 5 months old from MDLF that had a fever for 3 days, had red eyes, red blotches on her little body, along with some black ones.  He took her to Talanga’s Hospital Solidaria where she was admitted and treated.  From what we know today, she was on her way back to MDLF.  I do not know the Rx, nor the treatment.  I will try and find out. The other was a 5 year old girl that had apparently fractured her lower tibia/fibula.  He took her from La Ceiba to Acote on a bus.  The family had no $$.  She got to Hospital Esquela (HEU) yesterday (Wednesday).  I had Julio contact the family, and did that take some time, but we did it.  I offered to go to HEU to help the family.  The little girl was being discharged today.  I planned to pick them up at HEU, take them to Mayorea (big market where the buses are) buy them some food, and give them money for the bus and see what was going on.  We had a little trouble with traffic and construction getting to HEU and then parking.  Dick, you, Carolyn and Linda have been there.  You know!  We got there a little late.  They had left.  We contacted them at Mayorea, but the bus would leave before I could drive there.  What a place!  I did arrange to pay for the bus ride, buy food in Acote, which is a village just down from the mountain.  My friend Belinda gave them lempiras, and I will pay it back next Tuesday when Julio and I return to MDLF to talk with the doctor in San Juan about the ultrasound unit.

By the way, the little girl was able to be casted and at this time does not need a rod, plates or screws.  Now that may change later.

Dick, the little girl (I am sending along a photo) that you saw in August in MDLF continues to be sick.  I bought her food in January, but I’m sure the other kids got most of it.  Julio tells me she is sick, with fever, etc.  We will get her here to Tegucigalpa.  I’m just not sure when…with the team coming, etc.  Ondina needs to help us.  I promise I will get it done!  I can only imagine the results.  I’ve seen it so many times.  I hope she can recover!

Also, Julio and I have been watching Channel  8, THN, for about 30 minutes or so about the Tolupan in MDLF.  They were in Julio Sota’s village, where Julio’s daughter Raquel was teaching school; San Juan with Yesinia’s dad Isreal was making baskets, etc.  There were others of Chavelo, Julio Soto’s son and family.  Marta will try and get a copy so I can bring it back.  Amazing!!

We go to Nueva Capital tomorrow at 0830 hours.  I will begin training Ondina and Marta on the Suresite Vision screener on Monday.  We will also revisit the CPU (Chloro) unit so Julio and his family can advise others in MDLF on its use.

Full day.  Good day.  I love it.  Sad I was not able to meet with the families of the kids from MDLF.
Tomorrow I will have another report.  The time is short.  I will also buy more good extension cords, since we will need to use both generators.

From Santa Lucia, Honduras…another day.

Mr. Francis

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

13 Days To Go!

As you can see, they are making progress on the concrete foundation of one of our homes. All three are expected to be done this Friday. Late next week they will begin working on the pilas. We will get to help mix the concrete for those, so we'll have the experience of mixing it by hand.

Donated items are coming in well. It's gratifying to see how generous everyone is. Although we still do not have enough to fill our 72 bags, the Gehlen Mission Honduras storage area is beginning to fill. We will continue collecting all items. This week our focus is new clothes (or gently used), cloth diapers, diaper covers, and diaper pins.

During our final week we are focusing on all items. However, we are also hoping to collect the handmade stretch bracelets, small toys (jump ropes, bubbles, stickers, match box cars, Play-Doh, sidewalk chalk, etc.). hair ties, nail polish, combs, and brushes, 

We'll try to post more pictures of the progress in Honduras as they come in.

Monday, February 22, 2016

14 Days To Go!

In just two short weeks we will be sitting at a special Send-Off prayer service. If you have never attended one of them, you are really missing a special event. I encourage you to join us in the Ron Fox Memorial Gym, Gehlen Catholic School, at 1:30 p.m.

As soon as the mission team walks out of the gym, we will board the bus for Omaha. We'll get settled into our rooms and eat a meal together - our first one as a team. Once we are back at the hotel, we will go over the details for the flight into Honduras and what to expect for our first day in a third world country.

Many of the missioners are filled with anxious anticipation, wondering what the mission trip will be like for them. For those of us who have been in Honduras many times, we are looking forward to greeting our Honduran friends and seeing how the homes we built last year are faring.

In Honduras the land has been leveled and the concrete poured for the bases of our three homes. Marta and Frank are going over some of the details that must be covered before the teams arrival. They've purchases mattresses, pillows, and blankets. We have a new stove that will go into place in the kitchen and a new bathroom that will double the facilities from last year. I'm sure the students at Santa Teresa are aware that we will soon be arriving to teach some English lessons. They'll be meeting new American friends!

The school principal has made a schedule for our English teaching lessons. She has also chosen the 30 families who will be receiving the gift bags, as well as the 13 families who will be receiving our bunk beds.

During these last two weeks before our mission trip, we are still collecting items for the gift bags. This week's focus is new (or gently used) clothing, cloth diapers, diaper covers, and diaper pins. These items may be placed in the "houses" at Gehlen or in the boxes that the CLT students have placed in all of the churches. Our hope is that we will be able to fill 72 black duffle bags with 50 lbs. of donated items that we can carry into Honduras.

If you have not yet done so, please become a follower so you can send us comments while we are on our mission trip. Most importantly, continue to pray for our mission team as we prepare and travel to Nueva Capital, Honduras.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

19 Days To Go!

Hi Guys,

We are back from Nueva Capital and visiting the 3rd home. Marta, Claudia, Julio, and I went there earlier this morning. Claudia was not feeling well, but made the trip.

 Here is the report. When we got up to Nueva Capital, at least a certain part, we did not turn up the big hill road. We were taking the other route up to Nueva Capital on the other side of the ravine. For those taht have been here before, there is a corner store, I call it a "depositorio" because it is a central warehouse location for so many other little stores. We continued on up, no the big hill road, but the other. Julio and I know this road. We were stopped at the police checkpoint to show my license, registration, etc. That was no problem for us, even though I was driving.

Once Claudia made contact with the father of the family we are building the third home for, we met him on the road and took him to the location.

This is the road the Honduran Military truck will take daily. It was good until we had to turn off and visit the site. But...this is not a problem for our Toyota or the Military truck. Once we offloaded, we walked down through rocks. (??? Are you sure???  YES!!) We took a few photos. Sadly, I'd forgotten my camera and left it in Santa Lucia, but Marta had her cell phone. She took photos and also took a couple videos.

We could see the workers at the other two homes, working to level and prepare the sites for concrete. The third place has already been prepared. It had sand, gravel, etc., on site.

Sand and rock to be used for the concrete floor
Marta and I talked about the need to have the roof tin be 22 ft. long, if possible. We need to make sure we have more tin to cover the roof with an overhang. Rain will be an issue. We need to build a concrete channel to run the water so it does not enter the house.

Each house is about 20' x 20'. The same guy will do the concrete as last year. He knows the drill!!

I was really glad to see the work ongoing. It will cost a few more dollars, but we will get it done before the mission team arrives.

Hot in Tegucigalpa, cooler here in Santa Lucia.

So until you see Marta's pics and video, I remain ...

Mr. Francis

Site of third home

Typical home in Nueva Capital

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

21 Days To Go

15 Feb 2016, 1630 hours

Santa Lucia, Honduras
Hello Dick and Carolyn,
It was another day in Honduras with some little problems, but no major problems. Julio and I left Santa Lucia about 0900 hours. Our mission was:
1. Meet with Dr. Miquel Coello, liaison with the US Med-Red program at Soto Cano Airbase
2. Try and find a generator for the team trip to Nueva Capital - second generator
3. Exchange dollars for lempiras
4. Buy needed supplies for where we live
I had a great meeting with Dr. Coello.  He is a true and trusted friend.  He and the U.S.A. med-red program were involved with Mission Honduras LeMars in 2011 and 2012, studying malnutrition in Montaña de la Flor (MDLF).  Sad statistics.
Today we talked about how to help the doctor in San Juan get the ultrasound unit we let him use in MDLF to get repaired.  I will talk with Dick about this later. We have opportunities to help.  I will travel to MDLF soon with Julio to meet with the doctor and talk about this and maybe bring the unit back for repair to the U.S.A.
In about 2 weeks Julio and I will travel to MDLF and talk with the doctor at the San Juan Clinic.  Dr. Coello will call him about our visit and mission.  I should have Dr. Coello’s comments soon. We will also take bags of medicine to the clinic to help the Tolupan (indigenous). 
We then talked about a small baby that has a suppressed immune system that also has respiratory problems.  She needs respiratory therapy at the Social Hospital. (Boy, have they had problems lately, but yet, this is where the little girl gets help.)  What she needs is an O2 tank, probably an E tank.  GMH will give her a nebulizer and nebulizer kit (if we have a small mask, etc., which we should have??)
Dr. Coello tells me the cost to buy a tank of this source is very costly. Dick told me to buy one in Honduras if we can one at a reasonable price.  Dr. Coello will check on the internet about getting 1-3 from the U.S.A., depending upon if TSA will let empty O2 tanks fly.  Marta will also check here in Honduras.  We want to help this little girl. Maybe I’ll send some photos in the future.
Tomorrow we need to get a fuel leak fixed in the Toyota.  That should be no problem.  We will buy the generator, which is 3250 watts, a Honeywell,  and on Wednesday we’ll go to Nueva Capital to visit the third house.  Dr. Coello hopes to join the team for at least one day. Dr. Coello, you are very welcome to join us.
I will have more to share with you about my visit with Dr. Coello.  I will involve Dr. Benzoni more in those messages.
By the way, we did get groceries, and I changed some dollars for lempiras.  It was a good day.  It was hot in Tegus, but cooler here in Santa Lucia.

Until another day….Mr Francis

plot of land for third house

This video gives everyone a good idea of the typical roads that run through Nueva Capital and what it will be like to get our wood, tin, and other supplies to the three house sites.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Some Pics of Where Homes Will be Constructed

The following is a video showing the plot for one of our homes, as well as the view from the land. As you can see, the mission team will have a challenging adventure. It was a very windy day, so it is difficult to hear.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Shanty Town

Carolyn and Dick. We got to NC today with Marta and Claudia.  It was really cold up there today.  You could see the kids wearing coats, hoods etc.whatever they could to stay warm. 

Talked with Jessica, and gave her our condolences on the loss of her sister.. I checked out the new bath/shower.  Nice.  Should work out well.  I understand we will have access to the same rooms as last year.  We should get 1 complete set of keys...if I understood correctly.  They really loved the idea of having a new stove.  I guess we will not take it there until a couple days before the team arrives.  Julio and I will get it there.

For the homes, we will build 3 but we only saw 2 today because the kid in the 3rd was not around and no one knows the way.

Anyway, we took off with 2 of the kids that will get a new home.  We took a short-cut which is without a doubt is a stretch for a short-cut.  I remember Mr. Bruce commenting about there are no roads, paths etc that are smooth and without rocks.  I can attest to this today.  The pics Julio took today have been sent and I have 4 videos I will try and upload later.

This is a 'shanty town' development, and is NW of the school.  There is a road for the trucks with the supplies, but in a different direction,  but I was not on it, but for a short way up to the top next to the construction sites.  The team will still have to walk to get to work if they take the Honduran Military truck there.

The families I met today: 1 has 4 children (1-2 month old baby), no man; the other has 2 children and no man in the house.  The 3rd house/family we will visit next Wednesday. 

All 3 of the new homes will be built on land donated by someone (or others) from Canada.  The areas are very rough and it will be a challenge to build, but that is what we want.  I asked Marta (after talking with Carolyn and Dick) to hire some men to get the areas prepared for concrete.  With only women and kids, the families I visited today would not be able to get the land area prepared.  I think we can do a 20 X 20 cement pad in the areas I saw today, but even if we can't we can get close if we can get the area leveled and squared.

Carolyn, you asked for a challenge...this is it and I have not even seen the other location, but I understand it is in the area (???).

One problem we may have is there is no electricity in the area.  There is a line running close, but I don't know where it goes.  We can steal some electricity from this (maybe??).  We will need to use generators; the problem, I only have 1.  I will check it Tegus soon about buying a small generator.  I (MHL) has a larger generator in MDLF  area, but it is heavy and needs repairs.  The current generator I have is about 3500 watts, and at 120 volts, should be able to handle about 30 amps of power.  What I do not know, but maybe next week I can find out, how many watts each electric saw and battery requires to work or be recharged.

So, until you see the video's (assuming I can upload them) I promise a very tough and rugged trip, but well worth it.  I wanted to buy the little girl in the one house some new clothes today, but I could not....maybe another day.

I wait to see the other family.  But knowing this area, and this new "shantytown development" area, I can only imagine.  The pilas will be difficult and the latrines ???. 

 On both of the 2 potential homes visited today, we will need to build channels in the cement to let the water run away from the homes during the rain.  We have done this before.

So, there you have it.  Tough!  That's why we DO IT!  More later.

Mr. Francis

Monday, February 8, 2016

28 Days To Go!

The time is going fast. In 4 weeks we'll be sitting at the Send-Off prayer service.

Francis and Marta were busy today making needed purchases. They bought blankets, pillows, and mattresses for each missioner. The mattresses will be placed on the floor, but we are hoping to use the bunk beds as they are finished by the team. That will get our mattresses off the floor. We'll be much more comfortable than the Hondurans who sleep on dirt floors with little more than ticking for a mattress. Hopefully, more than 13 families will be able to enjoy this year's bunk beds.

I spoke about the menus for our meals with Marta last night. We'll be following last year's menu, which centers on Honduran food as much as possible.

Please continue to bring it items for our gift bags. This week's focus is prenatal & children's chewable vitamins and ibuprofen. Thanks to those who continue to donate items for us.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

30 Days To Go!

Last night's tailgate was a great success! Thanks to Carol and Joe Kessenich for all their work, and thanks to all the missioners and parents who worked.

Congratulations to our raffle ticket winners -

J. D. Hunt - $100
Brittany Loutsch - $200
Cheri Herbst - $300
Mike Meyer - $400
Ron Kneip - $500

Thanks to everyone who helped us raise the money needed to build 3 homes and 13 bunk beds.

We will continue to collect items for our gift bags until packing day, Sunday, March 6. This week's focus will be children's chewable and prenatal vitamins as well at Tylenol. Watch for our collection houses to appear at Gehlen Catholic.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

32 Days To Go!

Francis and Julio actually traveled up to Nueva Capital today. They had a chance to visit Paola's house, even though Paola was in school. Her brother was home at the time, and everything looked good there. Francis is anxious to finalize the selection of the three homes. As soon as they are finalized, I will post the photos of the homes we'll be replacing. They were able to purchase all the nails today, so we're ready to start pounding!

Here at school we continue collecting all the items needs for our gift bags. Please continue to bring the needed items. We are focusing on children's chewable and prenatal vitamins as well as Tylenol next week.

Tomorrow we are hosting our final tailgate. We are serving grilled brat burgers, hot dogs, baked beans, chips, bars, and ice cream for free will donation. Come out and enjoy delicious grilled food inside a warm Gehlen cafeteria. All proceeds are used for our projects.

NEWSFLASH: During the halftime of the boys' game Friday, Feb. 5, we will be drawing the winners of our raffle ticket sales. Good luck to all who purchased tickets!

33 Days To Go!

Everyone should be rested after two days off school due to our blizzard. It makes that 90 degrees that Francis talks about in Honduras sound great.

We continue to collect items for the gift bags. At Gehlen we are focusing on lotion, flip flops, and shoes this week. However, feel free to bring in other donations.

Remsen St. Mary's started their collection of materials this week. That will help a great deal, since we have 72 duffle bags to fill. The more donated items we can carry, the more families we can distribute gift bags to. It's hard to describe how important the gift bags are to the Honduran families. Bars of soap are a luxury to them. Some of the young children have never even used a scented bar of soap.

Carroll Kuemper is also collecting items that Mr. McCarty will bring with him when he joins us on packing day. It's awesome that our various schools are working together to help the poor of Nueva Capital!

Next week we are going to focus on collecting vitamins and Tylenol. Since the Honduran children usually have poor nutrition, when they do have food, it's important for them to have vitamins. These vitamins will be distributed daily by the teachers of Santa Teresa School. Prenatal vitamins can help prevent some birth defects like cleft palate. Please consider donating children's chewable or prenatal vitamins for our collections.