Dear Friends and Family,
One of the challenges at The Leadership Center, given its remote location and relatively limited finances, is infrastructure and self-sustainability.
All electricity is generated by solar panels and water comes from the river and is filtered for bacteria. Composting is a big operation on campus (including composting toilets) to generate nutrients for the coffee farm. More and more food is being grown on campus. We have Aquaponic “cement ponds” which raise Talapia for consumption and the fish water is purified by running it through cement troughs that grow malanga and other vegetation for human and animal consumption. Duck and other water plants are grown in other tanks to feed the chickens and the fish. The pigs eat almost all the food waste and scraps. (One of the pigs will be slaughtered in about 4 weeks.) About 40 chickens are egg layers and a new batch of 40 chicks for meat are being raised.
TLC is a long way from self-sustainability but getting closer all the time. The organization must rely on charitable donations to support the free education program it provides to these Honduran women. The coffee farm is the real hope for future self-sustainability as this mountain shade grown coffee is really very good. The 25,000 coffee plants (about 75 % produce) will soon be supplemented by another 10-20,000 seedlings that will be planted soon. (If you are interested in some TLC coffee, let us know as we hope to bring back 50 pounds for a fundraiser!)
Dan’s business classes have had a challenging week. We had an Entrepreneurship mid-term exam and there is more work to do! On the bright side, business plan preparation is now underway. All four seniors are from small rural villages with limited kinds and numbers of businesses. Betis is working on an agricultural supply store for farmers and small land owners including fertilizers, pesticides and veterinary products. Esperanza is developing the San Jose Dairy Store which will sell products like milk, cheeses and eggs, from local farms. Gaby is planning Gaby’s Bakery and Coffee Bar which will specialize in cupcakes and locally grown coffee. Angela, who probably will teach English on graduation, is working on a business plan for a fast food restaurant (fried chicken and plantains, pizza, tacos and hamburgers!)
We had a wonderful visit yesterday with our good friends from Heart to Heart. They drove over from Puerto Cortez (about 5 hours) to see us and TLC. Oscar Serrano, Mary Frenter and 4 others joined. We toured the campus. They sat in on classes. They were really impressed with TLC and it is our hope that some of the H2H teens might apply to TLC next year.
Every Sunday morning the students at TLC celebrate a worship service together. This past Sunday’s service was notable because it was the first official function in the new multi-purpose building (The Salon) AND Dan delivered a thoughtful message entitled Not Yet. We prepared a bulletin, Trinity style, with a Call To Worship, Responsive Reading and wonderful Praise Music led by TLC musicians Maholy, Karla and Dayana. Through the story of Lazarus, Dan reminded us that prayers can be answered several ways, sometimes yes, sometimes no and sometimes NOT YET. In these instances, patience and faith are required. Jesus waited 2 days before traveling to Bethany to raise Lazarus from the dead; the prayers of Martha and Mary were answered, but the first answer was definitely, “not yet.”
We are not suffering the weather here as you will see from the breathtaking sunset picture below.
Blessings To All,
Chris and Dan