Hello Family and Friends,
We are back from a four-day excursion with the class of 6 second year students; a visit to Moholy’s home town of Tocoa and a side trip to Isletas. A long trip with 10 people in a small van, but rewarding in so many ways.
We departed TLC at 6a.m. last Friday, a bumpy ride at dawn off campus to begin the 10-hour trek. Heading north and descending from our 5,000-foot elevation, we passed through Comayaga, and Siguatepeque and then stopped for breakfast. The girls enjoyed ordering different foods at the roadside restaurant including some fried chicken and chorizo at 9 a.m.!
Next we passed Lake Yojoa, through El Progreso, Tela and then to La Ceiba on the northern coast for lunch around 2 p.m. Fried chicken, tostadas and fast, plentiful internet made for a great lunch. A quick Face Time with family was wonderful. (I miss my grandchildren!)
We arrived in Tacoa about 4:30 in the afternoon at the home of relatives of one of our first-year students, Judy. The students settled in while we, (Dan, Joseph and myself) located neighbors who had graciously offered to house us. We then connected with Marta, (a graduate of TLC 2 years ago) and had quick dinner of baleadas and fruit smoothies, then off to church; long, loud and passionate.
Marta now works for Clean Water Missions and she is truly a TLC success story.
Tocoa is a relatively large town, about an hour from the coast line. It is busy, with many stores, gas stations, restaurants and so on. The homes surround the busy main road in small neighborhoods. The main street is paved but most of the side streets with homes on them are not.
The next morning, Dan, Joseph, Marta and Chris headed to Isletas to visit Olga and Yanetzi who many of you know from their visit to the USA in December. The hour or so long trip to Isletas was enabled by traveling through the Standard Fruit (Dole) banana plantation that surrounds the community for many miles.
Isletas is a very modest community with one main road that is not paved. The area is surrounded by water, streams that regularly overflow so many homes are elevated.
Yanetzi’s store, El Classroom is up and running and did 10,000 limpiras ($500)of business in the first week. Initial customers include students who need school supplies to attend school, workers who need copies of documents (1 Limpera each copy) and even teachers who need curriculum developed. By spending several hours in her store we can tell you she is poised and confident. Her Internet and administrative services are becoming a significant part of her business. She has been invited to the local school to discuss her products and services. She is also a leader in her church. Can you tell that we are proud of her?
We also spent time with Olga trying to determine the best way for her pharmacy or medicine store to proceed. We have several ideas now that we have spent time in Isletas and Dan is working hard on this business plan. We were at Olga’s home for several hours talking and enjoying her family and drinking coconut water from her trees. Olga’s Mom fixed lunch for us and we were able to meet many family members.
That night we attended church with Yanetzi and were the overnight guests of Nidia’s family in Isletas. The hospitality and generosity of people with very modest resources is humbling.
Isletas is a very small community located in the very center of a vast banana plantation owned by Standard Fruit Company (Dole). As such it is a company town, almost everyone works for Standard Fruit. The company controls the road in and out of town and the limited healthcare that is available. Though not “well off” by US standards, most men in Isletas are employed.
We returned to Tocoa the next morning to join the second-year students as they presented the second day of seminars to a small community just outside Tocoa. The goal of these training sessions was to inspire a group of community leaders to begin to address some of the problems facing this very poor community. The students did a wonderful job with the seminars and left with promises.
Another evangelical church service on Sunday night featured Joseph and Maholy singing Open the Eyes of My Heart Lord, and Si Senior, most inspiring! (We have a video to share later.) The service was attended by about 400 people and was loud, joyful and very long! We arrived back in our homes for the night tired and ready to sleep.
We left for home very early the next day (5 a.m.) and although it was touch and go several times, the van made it home. We rented this van at a cost of $350, a significant cost for TLC. A lack of reliable vehicles continues to plague this ministry. The construction truck has been on its last legs for two years, bumper falling off, inaccessible driver’s side door, faulty electrical system and broken floor boards. The TLC van has been in the shop for over 4 weeks receiving a rebuilt engine costing $2000. The director’s vehicle is an 10-year-old SUV with more than 200,000 miles. The motorcycle’s headlight does not work. To say that this ministry needs better transportation vehicles is a leading contender for understatement of the year. Much is being accomplished here despite regular setbacks and daily frustrations.
When we reflect on how two young women who were educated here at TLC might begin to change and improve the small village of Isletas, we can really see the impact this mission might have in Honduras in the future! That is encouraging and we thank you all for being a part of this.
Classes resumed today and we are hard at work again, teaching, tutoring, leading discussion groups, sewing, reading and working on business plans. Definitely earning our salaries. 😊
We are looking forward to Team Jose’s visit in a few weeks. Keep us and the TLC students and leaders in your thoughts and prayers. Till next time.
Chris and Dan
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