Thank you for visiting my blog. These words are mere reflections of my experiences in this place. Enjoy!
April 13, 2012 - Many women in Honduras suffer from leg ulcers because of venous insufficiency. This woman had lived with a festering ulcer for more than ten years. She found her way to the clinic because she had been told we had "new ways" of treating her problem. When she first came to the clinic, her ulcer covered more than one third of her leg and was filled with infection. It was also very painful. She explained she could no longer take in washing to support her family because she was unable to stand for any period of time. Thankfully, we were able to treat her infection and begin to encourage her own tissues to regenerate. Now, nine months later this wound is nearly healed. Normally, a wound this size would have required the use of a skin graft once the infection was resolved. Thankfully, this woman's own body has been able to slowly but surely regenerate the skin cells needed to finally cover what was once a gaping wound. The three main principles of wound care worked well in this case which are: keep the wound free of infection, free of swelling and keep the wound bed moist not dry to promote cell growth. We are so pleased to be able to provide these services to our fellow man and thank God for the privilege of seeing the fruits of our labors.
November 8, 2011 - Another giant leap toward finishing the new school building! The carpenters were here today in Buenos Aires to install four new doors for the school. There are two external doors (one for each classroom) and two doors for the bathrooms. Each classroom has its own bathroom with running water. Never before have the children had indoor plumbing at school. There is an outhouse, but now both teachers and students alike will not have to leave the building when nature calls. Tomorrow, the Midlife Men on a Mission from Fairfax Presbyterian will be at the mission for a tour. They will also be painting the new school building and installing lights. Finally, the children of Buenos Aires will have a modern building with enough space to learn.
November 4, 2011 - It's a wonderful day for the school children of Buenos Aires. The new school building is very nearly complete. Today, the brand new windows were installed. The children stood back and watched with wonder as the windows were carefully assembled and placed one by one. The construction of this new two classroom facility has a been a labor of love for many donors, villagers and FMI contractors alike. No more will the children have to sit outside to learn their lessons. Doors are to be installed next week. The Fairfax Presbyterian "Midlife Men on a Mission" will be joining us on Wednesday for a workday. The building will be painted and lights will be installed. Thanks to all for your generosity!
September 21, 2011 - Photography is a big part of what I do for the mission, but it's also a passion of mine. Today is a very exciting day because this photograph was chosen by National Geographic editors as the "Photo of the Day". When I received their email a number of weeks ago, I simply could not believe it! Sure enough, as I opened the page on the NG website, there was my grasshopper! This picture was taken in my yard here in Honduras. These grasshoppers show up unexpectedly only during certain times of the year. And just so you are not confused, this grasshopper isn't getting ready to jump. It's getting ready to kick at anything that would come too close. The barbs on its legs are very sharp. If a preditor or photographer in this case should get too close, this formidible insect will give a painful reason to back off. Enjoy the picture. Here is the link for today to see the picture on the National Geographic site: http://photography.nationalgeographic.com/photography/photo-of-the-day/?source=NavPhoPOD Here also is the link to my photo gallery on the My Shot page for National Geographic: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/myshot/gallery/337871/
September 18, 2011 - For several months now, we have been processing milk at the farm. We are currently milking nine cows that are a mixed breed of Brown Swiss with Brahman. What the cows don't produce in milk volume, they make up for in cream! With plans for a "corn feast" for the grade school in Buenos Aires, my job this weekend was to process more than fifty liters of milk. Goals: separate the cream for the making of fresh butter and pasteurize the skim milk to be used for atol de elote (a typical corn mash drink). I spent the better part of today working on this project. Recently, the mission purchased two key pieces of equipment. Seen here is the picture of the cream separator. What an amazing invention. The separator quickly removes the cream by way of centrifugal force. It certainly beats skimming the cream by hand. After the cream has been separated one can either add salt to let the cream "set up" and be used as "crema" or, the cream can be chilled and then placed in a blender to quickly make fresh butter. In our case, we will be doing both. I can hardly wait to see the children's faces as they enjoy our fresh field corn. Thanks to all who have given to our agriculture program so that the more than 150 children who attend the grade school in Buenos can enjoy full bellies this week!
September 15, 2011 - Today is Independence Day for Honduras. The day is filled with all kinds of celebration activities, not the least of which is a parade. For more than two weeks now, I've been working on my children's costumes. They will be the "Indian" representatives for their kindergarten. I'm not sure who is more excited, the kids or me. I've enjoyed every minute of sewing their outfits. Juan seems particularly excited as we have tried on his "loincloth" made from faux jaguar fur, multiple times already! For me, perhaps one of the most important things is to have the opportunity to instill in my children a sense of appreciation and pride for their rich cultural heritage. What a gift it is to be able to share these wonderful things with my children. I'm truly blessed beyond measure!For more pictures of the kids and the parade see: http://www.facebook.com/#!/media/set/?set=a.2434360135778.140056.1154913728&type=1
September 14, 2011 - I can hardly believe it has been more than two months since my last blog. For those of you who follow these updates, I sincerely apologize. It's been just a little bit busy around our corner of the world! The cornfields have been coming along very nicely. We expect to have an exceptional harvest. We are planning a corn feast at the gradeschool in Buenos Aires sometime early next week. The field corn is young and tender, just right for making traditional foods such as atol de elote, riguas, tamales and of course just plain ol' corn on the cob. Stay tuned as we bring pictures of the festivities to you early next week!
July 7, 2011 - The corn has germinated and looks as if it is off to a good start. Thankfully, it has been raining steadily since we planted. Last year's corn crop was such a success, that it almost seems greedy to hope for more. This year we have doubled the amount of corn that is planted. There have been fifteen men working hard beneath the relentless tropical sun to ready additional areas for planting. They have been moving rocks, pulling stumps, spraying weeds and wielding their machetes for nearly three weeks. The men are glad to have work and we are most grateful for their service. Already the men can be heard saying about the cornfield, "se ve chula" which is hard to translate but essentially means it looks "really, really good". In the midst of so much hunger and difficulty, it's good to have hope as one looks out over this cornfield and imagines the possibilities. For more pictures of our progress go to: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.231758046846657.57529.182387368450392
June 20,2011 -Greetings from the fields of Honduras! It is my greatest pleasure to share these pictures with you. Yesterday was one of those days you just live for as a missionary. What I wouldn’t have given for all of you to be here with me. The hope and excitement that was shared by villagers, field workers and FMI employees at the sight of the corn being planted was an experience I will never forget. Corn is at an all time high here in Honduras. It’s selling at $0.25/pound which means that most families around here are spending half of their monthly income just on corn for tortillas. The average family of six can easily consume 100 pounds or more of corn in a month. The months right before the coffee harvest are particularly difficult for the people of the mountains as work is scarce and money is tight. It is common that people of the mountain do not eat every day during this time of scarcity. Even though this field won’t be ready for harvest for a number of months, the hope that it represents seemed to be more than enough to bring almost a festive atmosphere to our little corner of the world. To see more pictures go to: Fellow Man International Facebook Album Planting Corn - A Kernel of Hope
June 16, 2011 - After many weeks of preparation, tomorrow will be the big day. The tractor is coming to plow our fields to ready them for planting. We have been blessed with rain the last two days, so the ground is finally soft enough to work. We have had no less than fifteen men working to clear the fields of everything from weeds to rocks. As soon as the tractor has all of the fields plowed, the corn can be planted. This year, we were most fortunate to aquire Pioneer hybrid, round-up ready corn. This particular hybrid is resistant to many local insects and has the potential for extremely high yields. In order to help increase our yields, the corn will be planted with a special popup, starter fertilizer, formulated specifically for our soil makeup. We will plant more than 10 hectares of land hoping to meet the nutritional needs of school children and the hungry of the area. We also hope to sell enough of the crop to at least pay all of the costs of production. At this time, corn prices are very high. This represents a significant negative impact on families who make subsistence wages. After all, tortillas are perhaps, the single most important item on the menu. Once the corn is in the ground, all eyes will look toward the sky and all hearts will be praying for rain!
June 14, 2011 - Generally speaking I try not to indulge the urge to become frustrated with things that are either beyond my control or simply related to differences in cultures. Today, however, was one of those days in which indignation took up residence in my heart...at least for a few moments. I spent two hours waiting for new tires to be put on the mission's truck today. TWO HOURS! Because of our road conditions, I had decided to purchase tires that would give us maximum traction for the upcoming rainy season. This meant abandoning traditional radial tires and switching to rubber tires with inner tubes. After two hours of waiting and wondering if I would ever finish the rest of my very long laundry list of to-do's, a man from the shop appeared to inform me that the stem from the inner tube would not fit through the hole in the truck's rims!!! How they could not have known this at least within the first thirty minutes of my visit was beyond me. And there it was, I was mad and not just a little bit either. I had medicine and construction materials to purchase. The hope of achieving all of those things before sundown (it's dangerous to drive at night) faded right before my eyes. I asked for my money back and pretty much stomped out of the business.
I remembered a place where I had purchased tires previously. The owner was an older gentleman who seemed sincere and had offered a fair price for quality tires. Perhaps he could help me. Sure enough, there he was sitting at his modest desk wearing the same pair of tired old Birkenstock sandals, surrounded by the smell of rubber, just as I remembered. He had the right tires at just the right price. Could they get them on the truck right away? The answer was a definite yes. I sat there in his office basking in the comfort of his kindness. We talked about everything from current events to coffee cultivation. And before I knew it, I was right back on the road to finish my tasks for the day. Did I mention we saved one hundred dollars in the process?
"God always teaches us patience, when we do not have time for the lesson."
June 12, 2011 - I spent the entire day working cattle at La Joya, the ranch the mission is renting to produce more food for the hungry. All of the cows and calves got a healthy dose of ivermectin for parasites as well as their annual vaccinations. I can't remember the last time I was so covered in cow manure! The herd of cattle, while mostly a Brahman/Brown Swiss cross, will be used for both milk and meat for the school lunch program in Buenos Aires. I must say, I had forgotten how cranky cattle can get. After about the third swipe of a hind leg this huge cow had taken at me, I was tempted to just let the blow flies have their way with the cantankerous old girl. Still the thought of hungry children drinking warm milk for breakfast pushed me forward. Fresh cheese and butter will also be on the menu. In the days to come, I will try to purchase some equipment for this part of the agriculture project. We are going to need a pasteurizer, cream separator and butter molds. Who could have ever imagined taking Dairy Science at K-State would end up meaning so much to me now? All I can say is thank God for green grass, tall corn and cows that don't kick!
June 8, 2011 - Hope is the beginning of change.This newly purchased "walking tractor" is a key piece of sorely needed agricultural equipment that will help us to produce more food for the hungry. And while feeding hungry people is an important part of what we do, teaching them to feed themselves is perhaps even more important. This machinery, which has been referred to as "appropriate technology"has the abilityto perform many tasks.To see a video of the walking tractor in action click here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIABdxNXtE4&NR=1
May 24, 2011 - Thanks to a very generous donation, we were able to purchase a second vehicle for the mission two weeks ago. Today, this Isuzu Rodeo saved a life. We took an eleven year old boy with a suspected case of Dengue Hemmorrhagic fever to the hospital. The poor child was vomiting blood and was bleeding from the nose. It was such a blessing to have a dependable vehicle at such a critical moment! To read more about dengue fever see http://www.cdc.gov/dengue/fAQFacts/index.html
May 23, 2011 - It seems fitting today that my first entry reflect my joy as the mother of Juan and Jessica. This picture, taken at the Maya Ruins at Copan, is one that I will cherish always. It's good to balance mission work with private family time. Making memories with my children makes my heart joyful and my spirit ever grateful.
Thought for the Day - A Moment for Reflection
"Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow can be better, we can bear a hardship today." Tich Nhat Hanh (Vietnamese Monk, Activist and Writer)
"The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them."Thomas Merton.