It's that time of year again. Everyone in the parish hall is enjoying the scent of gingerbread in the air! The El Hogar Service Team and their friends have been busy mixing, rolling, cutting, baking, assembling, decorating and wrapping our infamous gingerbread churches. Each church is handmade and uniquely decorated and you can get your very own at the St. Luke's Christmas Market on November 24th from 9am-2pm. The proceeds from the churches go towards the project fee for the team's upcoming trip in April.
Check out some of the team members hard at work...
And the first decorated church, right off the production line! (Don't worry, they get better. I can say that, because I did this one!)
Wednesday, 25 April 2012
Some of the dear little faces that we have grown to love this week.
When we got off, we found out that we were going to receive $600 Delta dollars AND a 4 hour bus ride to San Pedro Sula, the capital city and the next major airport! Not quite what we bargained for, but we were all together and would make the best of it. Seeing more of Honduras appealed to us in that drive, except by the time we got on the road, the sun had set and so we drove over those beautiful mountains in the dark!
|Waiting for our van to head to San Pedro Sula|
Flying out of San Pedro Sula gave us a chance to see a flatter and more fertile Honduras and this seems to be where the big crops are grown - bananas and pineapple.
Erika and Heather made it home on time, as you will have read Erika's Friday entry into the blog from her flight (Be sure to check it out with more pictures). Jane got stuck in Miami with some sort of airline work stoppage issues and so she didn't get home to Cincinnati until the next day as well. Our travel day on Sunday was uneventful and just long - 16 hours in transit and home finally safe and sound.
We have had a week of hard work, doing what we can to update, repair and build. There is always much to do at each site and they rely on volunteers to do much of this work. We were also building relationships, with each other as a team and with the children and teachers. They need our attention, our love, but we get so much back in return. We were witness to God's transforming love in these children, knowing their stories and their difficult beginnings in life.
GOD SO LOVED....
You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.
- Amy Carmichael, Missionary to India
Monday, 23 April 2012
This is being written at 0200 on Monday and we have just arrived home from Honduras via Atlanta, 24 hours later than we had planned, but all safe and sound. More details on that - to come later, perhaps tomorrow. It was a special week for so many reasons and we were privileged to be there. Thanks for your support and your prayers. Later...
Sunday, 22 April 2012
Hola, faithful blog readers. We wanted to let you know that we are all doing well. The internet connection was down at El Hogar last night so we could not write an update.
Today has been a busy day in transit, but as I sit on the plane thousands of feet in the air on my way back to Toronto, I thought I'd tell you a bit about our Friday, our busiest day of the week.
The day started off with a group of us attending the children's morning meeting, followed by a breakfast of beans and eggs. At 9:00 we all piled into the van together and as usual, saw bits of Honduran life and the lovely countryside, dotted with poverty everywhere.
We drove to Santa Lucia, a town about 25 minutes outside of Tegucigalpa. A quaint village with cobblestone and steep streets.
A piece of property has been purchased, just at the edge of the village, and will be the new girls' residence when they graduate from El Hogar.
When we arrived, a group of boys from the agricultural school were there on a retreat, and who always love getting their picture taken.
The property that was purchased has a breathtaking view and we were in awe of the beauty and the silence in this serene location.
After some pictures of the residences, the view and of each other we got back into the van and headed down the same road to Valley of the Angels, an artisan village.
There, we had lunch at a pizzeria that came highly recommended by our trusty leader, Raul. Raul is our driver, project manager and friend. He got us safely though the streets of Tegucigalpa and the countryside. He is so patient and puts up with our endless questions and we have learned much about Honduras from him. Here at a cafe, while we are shopping, he is working on the many other aspects of his job. As well as being the husband of La Directora Claudia, he is involved in all four centres of El Hogar Projects.We also got a bit of time to do some "chopping" (aka shopping) for Honduran souvenirs. Michael and Rick found some Honduran sombreros that they liked. (Rick is storing his new one over top of his loved older hat worn on many, many trips to Honduras. Will it be replaced by the new hat?
Our timeline was tight though, because we had one more stop to make.
About 50 kids from El Hogar went to spend some time with kids at a school for the blind. When we arrived, El Hogar's popular marimba band was playing and our kids had their kids up dancing.
We wasted no time in joining them. It was wonderful to see the children from El Hogar making a difference for other children.
It is harder than it looks!
Our new friends had one more surprise for us. We were lead into a multi purpose room where there was a mini concert. A gentleman who was visually impaired played the piano and the kids sang a number of songs for us, including a Spanish rendition of Do Re Mi. It was all very touching and overwhelming.
It was a busy day full of experiences that all made us grateful to be a part of El Hogar. We will all leave with our hearts a little more full of love and hope.
Friday, 20 April 2012
Again the team divided into the home and away team. The home team stayed at El Hogar and worked with the children on remedial reading, special education and testing all day. The children start classes at 7:30 and finish at 1 pm with only a 15 minute break. How do they do it - the volunteers were exhausted!!
The away group had it easy - a leisurely (well not exactly) drive, thanks to Raul, through the city and countryside to the agricultural school. There they were treated to a tour of the farm (pineapples, yucca, plantain, beans, cattle, pigs, coffee,...). All the things the boys need to learn about farming. They then were then served a delicious lunch (the main meal of the day), and then the drive back to El Hogar.
Thursday evening is the traditional evening we go out for dinner with those directors who can join us at a lovely Honduran restaurant. We continued that tradition with Raul, Raul and and Claudia's daughter Takerly, and Lazero from the technical institute joining us.