Thursday, June 30, 2011

June 29, God’s Green Earth      

Today, I was lucky enough to get to work with an American missionary who is starting a garden/farming project.  His name is Nathan Hale and he had come on Torch trips when he was younger.  In school, he studied Bible and Music at college, but he wasn’t really sure what he wanted to do with his life.  He learned about the people who lived in the dump and he felt called to do something about it.  He got the idea to start a self-sustaining garden/farm that he could use to feed the people in the dump.  In the long run, he wants to be able to have some of the dump people work and live on the farm.  His farm is on about 40 acres of land that was donated to him.  It is out in the country up on a hillside with a gorgeous view.

                                                      Nathan is a Liscomb graduate who is originally from the Nashville area.  His parents still live there.

We had about a ¾ mile hike to the sight today, but it was beautiful pristine land and we passed a couple of Torch houses on the property.  Nathan explained some of the things that he will be doing to make it an organic, self-sustaining garden.  He uses grass clippings for compost mulch; he also has worms that he will use their worm castings to make a rich soil.  I also learned about a very interesting plant that was brought here from India called moringa.  It is an almost nutritionally perfect food.  It is a fast growing tree that does almost anything.  I’m going to add some information, as well as a link to his web-site.

Using a machete to cut grass for compost

He was also in the process of having a very nice cement block farm house being built.  He was hoping to have it to the point that it would be livable.  (We would call it camping.)  The farmhouse was placed at the back of the property right beside the edge of the mountain, so there was a gorgeous view.

The farmhouse that they are trying to get ready to live in by this weekend.


We did many things.  We hauled dirt to his rows, broke up sod and got the grass out, we used a machete to cut grass that he would use as a mulch, and we hauled some older much to the garden.  He had a Honduran man name Roberto who was working for him and we watched him to figure out the best way to use the machete.  Us older “folk” did very well, if I say so myself!!! I was very impressed with what a Godly, committed young man Nathan was, and I hope to be able to visit his farm for many years to come and see is dream come alive.

God's green Earth


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tuesday, June 23: Mi Casa es Grande

June 28: Mi Casa es Grande (It is very slow to upload pictures, so I am only doing a few each day.  When I get back I will upload them all to either my blog or Facebook.  I got many great ones today!) Just a reminder, I'm not editing very closely, so I apologize.

Today began bright and beautiful.  Many people back home always think that Honduras is hot.  Actually, because we are up in the mountains, it is always mild, breezy and in the mid 80s.  Today was the day that I got to build my house.  We had a great team.  Brian Steffy  from PA was our “heffy” (our boss), my friend, Diane from FL, Taylor Sullivan, Blakely, Jessica from the Florida Keys, Gary Hendrickson from Mobile, AL, Austin Shivers, Brandon Mann, Malvin & Moriah Algood  from Ashland City, Michelle Burgess from Brandon, FL, and Pat from PA. 

We had just the right amount of people and everyone worked hard and had a great attitude.  The work site was on past the mission house farther up the mountain in a beautiful rural setting.  All of the wood was already delivered to the site and the ground was prepared and leveled.  The bus dropped us of about a half mile from the site because the dirt road was too steep and rough.  We all chipped in carrying our tools. (buckets of hammers, nails, post-hole diggers, 2 chain saws, shovels, pick-axes and a metal pole that we used to break up the dirt)  As we walked down this little dirt road, we passed cute little houses, caballas, banana trees, vacas and we were surrounded by gorgeous hillsides and mountains.  I took lots of pictures and I hope they do the landscape justice.

                I won’t try to describe how we built the house, but it is basically a 16 ‘x 16 ‘wood sided homes with wood floors and a tin roof.  We use hinges and cut out a door and one window.  We began digging the holes for the foundation poles around 10 am and we finished around 5 pm just as the daily storm rolled in.  I presented the plaque to Katie and her daughter.  It said (in Spanish) “Presented by Patty Johnson in memory of her father and brother, Charles and Chuck McCuiston”. We finished by taking group pictures and then having all of the work team with the family stand in a circle, holds hands and we said a prayer. 

                                                               A  man hoeing his corn right across the way.

                                                                                   Brandon Mann took these from above.

Local Honduran men & children helping.

 This is the third house build I have been on and it is always a special, humbling experience, but it was such a great feeling to know that I was able to be a part of providing this home for this family.  We had several local men who helped us, as well as children who were amazingly good at hammering.  Some of the little children were playing with the scraps of wood and I heard a little girl say, “Mi Casa is grande,” which means “My house is big!”  That really warmed my heart. 

                We kind of waited around for the rain to slow down and then we made the hike back out with our tools.  You can imagine how muddy that steep dirt road was.  I was glad I had my hiking boots on.  We had several people fall on their bottoms in the mud.

saying a prayer at the end

Our awesome building crew

Beautiful view from her window

                I was filthy and looking forward to a warm shower, but unfortunately because of all of the rain, the electricity was acting up, which meant, I had a COLD shower. (not so fun)  Dinner was the most delicious fried chicken I have ever had.  I know I will sleep well tonight! Tomorrow, I’m hoping to be one of the 40 people who get to help a young missionary who is doing a farming project. 

Mi Casa es grande!!


Monday, June 27, 2011

Monday, June 27: What to Do?

Monday, June 27, What to do???      

Today, I decided to go to Moaloa again.  Diane was supposed to be working on the “lasagna garden” and some others would be working in the kitchen or the daycare.  There was also a bunch of guys who were to remove dirt from behind the church.  A mudslide had caused the dirt and mud to pile up behind the church and it was in danger of damaging the church.  Before we left from morning devo, one of the men shared a very touching story about who we would be building the house for today. 

 Mark Connell is our local connection who determines the families who are in most need for a house.  He went to a community to visit three sisters who all said they needed a house.  Mark walked way up the hill to find them and he explained to them that we were only building one house in the community and which sister needed it the most.  They all said Emily needed it the most.  It was a 5’x 6’ cardboard and tin house with a 6’ roof.  When she found out she was getting the house, she said “No” there is someone who needs it more than me.  Emily took Mark to a lady who was blind with two sons and one was handicapped.  One son stayed with his mom all day and the handicapped son crawled down the mountain each day to look for work.  Because of Emily’s unselfish and caring attitude, Mark assured her that they would both get a house today.  We were all in tears at the end of the story.

                The guys that were going to clear the mud ended up working in the garden because another missionary group came in to work there also today.  I decided to work in the daycare.  I had visited it a short while a few days ago.  I enjoyed rocking babies, “talking” to the children and helping the daycare workers.  I washed the dishes which was an interesting task.  They use a gritty “Lava-like” soap in a small tub and there was one short sink with only cool water that came from the tap.  I managed just fine.

                We finished and were visiting with the ladies that worked in the kitchen and the daycare.  It was getting close to time to leave and we went back to the spot where we were supposed to bus. It was getting late and a storm cloud was rolling up. Our young guys played soccer with the locals. We started wondering if something had happened to our bus as the other mission (not with us) left in our bus.  To make a long story short, the American missionary who oversees the daycare and feeding center decided she needed to get us out of there and she took us out in groups of 10.  (That was putting a bunch in the bed of her truck.)  It wasn’t long after that that we found out that one of the buses had broken down and another bus had to come pick us up.  We were never so glad to get out the rain and get back to the mission house.  The dinner we had tasted about as good as anything I have ever eaten.

                Tomorrow is the day that I plan to build the house that I funded.  I look forward to it, but I plan on getting a WONDERFUL NIGHT’S SLEEP TONIGHT!!!!

The daycare was build by a person from South Carolina in honor of her parents.

This is the four year old class.

This is Evelyn, who is the director of the daycare.  Some of our group brought some clothing for the ladies and they modeled them for us. I have seen her several times since I have been to Honduras and she always remembers me.

View from the backyard of the center

Some of the local kids hanging around while we were waiting for our bus.

The nice owner of the local pulperia (store) let us wait on her covered patio when it started raining.

Here's a video of the daycare children singing a song, I'm not sure if I'll be able to upload it or not.


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sunday, June 26, A day of rest

The song leader at church
Sunday, June 26: A Day of Rest

The kitchen crew had the day off, so we ate some of the food we brought with us for breakfast.  We got to sleep in a little bit because we weren’t leaving for church till after 8:00.  The plan was for the group to split up to attend three different churches in the area.

Here I am with Michael Hill from my home church in Clarksville.  He is interning with another group leader.  Ashley Stewart used to go to my church, she is interning with my group leader.
  Our group attended the Mateo Church of Christ, Moaloa Church of Christ and the Santa Ana Church of Christ.  I was fortunate to attend the Santa Ana church where I thought Michael Hill from Clarksville would be.  He was, and I got to give him a hug from Clarksville and we took a picture.  The people of the Santa Ana church were singing with loud beautiful voices and although we didn’t have an interpreter, I picked up words like “Dios”, “El Senor”, “gracias”, and I could follow along with the meaning of the song.  A 23 year old young man visiting from Baxter preached the message.  He was very enthusiastic and did an excellent job.

Our group waiting in line for el bano.

Afterwards, we had lunch with several American restaurants close together.  I ate with 13 other people in a Chillis.  We definitely paid American prices, but the portions were huge!!!  I was able to take half of it to the bus driver.  Later, we went to the warehouse to shop at the Mi Esperanza shop.  This is the ministry that I have mentioned before, where the missionaries train the women in skills so that they are able to support their families.  I bought some pottery, jewelry, and cloth wallets.  All of the proceeds go back to help support that work. 

My dinner

This nice young man goes to Harding and I heard that he is available.  (at least that is what his dad said!)

The last group prepared these boxes and we have passed these out when people come up to the group asking for food.  There is a label on the drink that has a religious message in Spanish.

Here we are at the bodega (warehouse) where we shoppped the Mi Esperanza crafts.

 For some reason, all 130 of us went back to the mission house in two buses instead of three.  It was crowded!


Right now, we are resting in the room.  We have heard we are going down to the mall for dinner tonight and some of the local missionaries may be coming to worship with us at the Mission House.  I’m not exactly sure what else we are doing tonight.

We have great things planned for tomorrow and I haven't decided which group I'm going to sign up with.  The options are:  2 house builds, medical clinic at Didasko, paint playground equipment at Didasko, hospital visit & food distribution, clothing give away at Didasko and I think there was something else, but I can't remember what it was.  I'm thinking I may help paint the playground equipment!! 

Oh, our last two evening devotionals have been given by the same person.  He has been talking about a book called, The Book of Awesome and evidently there is also a web-site too.  I think it is called  Tim O'Dell (I think that is his name) has been sharing some thoughts from this book and relating it to our work here.  This guy who wrote the book filled it with 1000? little things that he finds awesome.  (Many of them are very funny.)  Our group is supposed to write Tim notes about things that we are think are awesome about our time here.  I look forward to checking out this book!!!

Goodnight for now!