Friday, 4 December 2015

 First posting from the 2016 El Hogar Service Team!

It is that time of year - our 2016 team has been formed and we are now busy into producing gingerbread churches to raise money for our next trip to Honduras which will take place April 23 - 30, 2016.  These funds will go toward the $2,500US project fee for our time there and the work that we will end up doing there.  Last year we figured that we put in over 400 hours to produce about 150 churches and this year will be the same.  It is vital that everyone pitch in at the task, but in addition we also get some alumni and others joining us which is very helpful.   
The process starts with the baking of hundreds of church parts, and then on to the fun part of  constructing and decorating..

 All this contributes to team building, sometimes a little Spanish practice thrown in and sometimes friendly competition takes place in the decorating part of it. 

 "I can't wait to taste this delicious gingerbread!  It smells soooooo good!"

 But they all come out unique and different and worthy to make many happy at Christmas time.
They were on sale at the Christmas Market and almost all sold. 

 This year, we also sold chocolate bark as well
which flew off the table - a popular item.  No doubt for a lot of Christmas stockings! 

And we are so very grateful to Marilyn for her beautiful paintings and note cards that she donates each year to raise funds for El Hogar.  When the Gingerbread and chocolate bark run out, there are always Marilyn's cards.  Always for sale and you can contact one of the team members to purchase any. 

On October 24th, the Toronto churches planned "Rally for Hope" - a Car Scavenger Hunt followed by dinner and a live and silent auction.  It was a successful, wonderful fun day, though non of our teams came anywhere close to winning!

This year we helped the fundraising  by contributing our Mosaic of Art.  As you may remember, we had the children paint canvases when we were in Honduras in April.  We brought them home and along with some beautifully done canvases by some of our local artists, we mounted 92 paintings in an impressive mosaic.  
Those  interested then purchased a ticket for one of the paintings and at the end of the evening, everyone was able to take home a wonderful painting knowing that they were supporting the children.
We were also fortunate to have a painting donated by John Keith who was inspired to paint a scene taken from one of our photos off our blog last year taken at Santa Lucia, a beautiful setting for the location of the teen girls campus who have graduated from the primary school in Tegucigalpa.   The painting was in the silent auction and taken home by a couple who have deep roots at El Hogar and were delighted that they got the painting having stood numerous times at this very spot at the side of the mountain looking into this valley.  Thanks John for the time you have given to us in this painting. 

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Life at El Hogar

So much happens in the course of a week here and we have not really related it all.  A few more pictures to try and let you know and understand what goes on here.

We love attending St Mary's Church.  The picture is taken before the service started and it seems to fill up only after the service has begun.  The best part is when the Sunday School comes in for communion and there must have been about 50 kids that arrived to the service.  The music is lively and the children usually sit beside us to help us through the service and find the right page for us to follow!  The parish is so welcoming to our team.  Raul introduced us in the announcement time to the people and some of the congregation we are beginning to recognize.  Most certainly, the Dean - Rev Gerardo Alonzo.

 Life in the Guest House does get interesting living with a team of 14 in a small space and we certainly get to know the rest of the team pretty quickly! . 
 Some of the fellows relaxing in what got to be known as the Men's Lounge. 
It was always a kind of team effort to go and get the drinking  water and then to mount it on the pouring stand.  We got desperately short of water for 24 hours until the water truck finally arrived. 

We always had visitors at our door in the school cat and her little family who loved to get inside.  And one day she did get in and was in there awhile when no one was around.  She certainly enjoyed our snacks that we had left out in the kitchen. 


We are thankful for the technology that we have access to so that we can connect with our loved ones and get the blog out.  We had also been without internet for a few days which was a difficult time for us techies.  This picture is of some of the team at the "Internet Cafe" (the hot spot for WiFi)checking their messages.

 Sometimes when the signal is weak, one must stand at the corner of a certain building as Michael is doing. 

 Technology is a wonderful way to keep the kids entertained.  Rick is probably showing these boys pictures on his phone of his family or of the snow we experienced this winter.  They love it. 
 Carolyn is doing the same.  Her boys are the same age of some of these kids and so they are interested in life back in Canada. 
 Technology is important at the Technical School and the boys need to learn about technology if they are going to get jobs in their fields.  These computer labs in the technical school and the Ag School and at the primary school have been made possible by many generous donations.  St Luke's has donated towards these computers. 

 We witnessed high standards in all the schools this week and we also noticed this sign at the Agricultural School.

"Without Agriculture, there is no food and without Christ there is no life"

 This picture is only of one boy doing his chores, but every evening, we saw a rotation of the students cleaning and moping the dining hall, washing the dishes, sweeping the grounds or delivering the laundry.

There are always lineups!   Lineups to go to class, to the dining room, to get to the sink to brush their teeth.  And always so orderly.  This one is to go into the dining hall. 
 We loved how the students took the election process so seriously.  Apparently because of the instruction that all the schools get in this aspect of their civics course, that the voting percentage is high in Honduras. It is nice to see them starting so young - even if they can't quite reach the box!
  The second candidate, Andrea is shaking hand with Renee, the new President of El Hogar.  The next day, we noticed that they were Folk Dance partners at the Despedida. 

We love how the kids get involved in anything they do,  These fellows love the small cars that the Habigs brought from Cincinnati and also how they love their crafts and enthusiastically get involved in any crafts we provide them with. 

All these paintings will be displayed and on sale on October 24th at the Car Rally in October.  You won't want to miss that!

 Terry, Rick and Ros in conversation with Raul, our  Project manager and friend.  He answers our never ending questions, and is our eyes to the culture and the history and the people of Honduras.  He is patient and fun and he is our go-to guy!

This kids this week certainly got the idea where we came from.  They were delighted with their CANADA T-shirts.  What 7 year old boy is excited about getting a T-Shirt? These boys were!
 In spite of the drought, we still saw lots of colour.  the Bougainvillea, Hibiscus and other exotic flowers and plants.

  We loved how Bruce, who we only just met on this trip, made the kids laugh and us as well with his one-liners. 

 He was striking up a good friendship right from Sunday. 
   Such manners that these kids are taught.

We are using our fingers for our fried chicken and the kids are trying to eat it with their knife and fork - until an adult gives them permission to pick it up in their fingers. 

I wonder how many hugs were given out and received this week.  Hundreds?
Sometimes even the big people like to get down on-their kines to do some of the crafts.  the murals that the kids have done this week will be on display at St Luke's and St Timothy's.

It was neat to have two Mom and Daughter teams there this year.  Glad to have Carolyn along this year on her first trip to El Hogar.