Tag Archives: Honduras

Curious things about our new home and community

A few snippets and photos from our new home and what is like to live here:

buying fresh tortillas just about across the street, 2 for a Lempira

rain that is so loud on our tin roof that we can not even talk across the table during a storm

the many smiles and greetings that we get when we take Guillermo David out and about

the crib is extra protected- a mosquito net for mosquitoes, cups of liquid on each leg for ants and strategically placed to avoid leaks in the roof

washing clothes in the washer and hanging them to dry makes us feel very fortunate and sad when we see our neighbors carrying a bucket of water 5 blocks

getting used to new sounds: chickens, dogs, gun shots, buses, a traveling circus that was nearby for 2 weeks

getting to walk to work and eating lunch together at home

having youth stop by to say hello

observing the creative systems our friends have to trap the water from the gutters

after meeting a lot of people at the assembly last Sunday, we are running into more people we know on the street

Guillermo checks out Los Pinos from our roof

Our wash area, complete with a security gate, provides fresh air for the back of the house

Guillermo David gets his daily bath with bottled water as tap water is unsanitary

Spending time with friends in the hamaca in our back hallway

Our street

Entrance to our apartment

Favorite mode of transportation as there are few places to use a stroller

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postcards from the road

A few highlights from our trip…

Guillermo climbed Long’s Peak with my dad- North Face/cable route!  They had a beautiful day with not a cloud in the sky

We got to see beautiful aspen trees

 

We spent time with the Kim family in San Jose, CA

We saw my Grandpa and Great Uncle, whom I hadn’t seen in quite a while.

Farmhouse where my great-great-grandfather was born in Hollister, CA

We from San Jose, down Highway 1, stayed in Morro Bay and ended up in Ventura to stay with the Hodges (no pics with them, sad)

 

 

We stayed with Guillermo’s aunt and uncle in Sierra Madre, CA

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two great stories

Here are two stories from one of the projects I work with :

Mario José

*Mario Jose* is a four and half year old boy who has spent half of his young life institutionalized in a center because his mother disappeared in 2006 and his father is unknown.  His great grandmother, who is 85 years old, had to look for outside help when her great granddaughter disappeared unexplainably.  Being of advanced age and living in dire poverty, the grandmother placed Mario Jose in the center where he currently lives because she was unable to care for him.  The center took Mario Jose as an act of charity, considering that they don’t usually work with orphans, but rather function as a feeding center.

The family history of Mario Jose is a tragic and violent one.  His grandmother was killed at a young age, orphaning her daughter (Jose Mario’s mother).  The great grandmother of the family believes that Jose Mario’s mother is also dead.  While there are other extended family members, none of them have shown an interest in Jose Mario.

The priest who has been helping the family contacted the government in 2008 looking for help for Mario Jose, but he found no answer.  Through word of mouth, he heard about our Permanency Center and came to visit us in February of 2009.  Our team decided to investigate the case, making a visit to the center where Mario Jose lives and doing a psychological evaluation of him the same day.  The lawyers and social workers took on his case, placing it before the judge for him to be declared abandoned, opening up the road to a permanent family.

Unfortunately, under Honduran law, Mario Jose can not be declared abandoned because he has several living relatives that could care for him.  Our team worked with the social workers of the government to show that this was a special case that deserved a second chance.  The judge has agreed to move forward, soliciting statements from the relatives that are not able or not willing to take care of Mario Jose.  Through much detailed work and diligence, we have been able to have each one of the necessary family members come in and make their statement.

We now hope that with these statements given, the judge will declare Mario Jose abandoned and send his case to adoptions before he lives out another year of his life in a center.

George

*George* had been living in a center in Honduras since 2005 when he was 2 years old.  He was abandoned at that age by his mother. His father, who is understood to be an alcoholic who lives on the street, has never been in the picture.  This January, our staff visited the center where he lived with the intention of finding children like George: children who are in real need of an adoptive family but have become lost in the system.  When we reviewed his case, we realized his situation and also saw that he had not had any kind of a family visit since early 2006.  His case was also inactive in the court system.

Our team took the case on and has poured in time and resources over the last 10 months.  Our staff have collaborated with IHNFA to do the psychological evaluations, social work investigations and legal steps.  We have subsidized the medical tests and media publications necessary for moving the case forward.  Our lawyer assigned to George’s case was diligent to not let details fall through the cracks and to always keep the case moving forward.  Much like putting together a puzzle, we had to resolve many things in George’s file in order to see if he was legally adoptable.  We needed to contact the mother, who was rumored to be dead.  A lead opened when the director of another center contacted us after hearing and reading the media publications regarding George.  George’s older sister (now 18) had been at this center and by locating her file at the court, we were able to follow a trail that led to information on the death of the mother so that we could get her certificate of death.  She had died of AIDS in 2005.

In early October, the court declared George legally abandoned, opening up the path to adoption.  This week or next his case will be officially assigned to the adoptions committee and there is already the possibility of one adoptive family who is looking for a boy in his age range.  We hope that George is with his new family by the end of this year.

While we celebrate this beautiful gift for George and our successful intervention, we must also take a moment for a sober analysis of the situation.  If our project had not been able to visit George’s center, how many more years would have passed before his case would have been noticed?  Was it necessary that George live for 5 years in a center when he could have been adopted much earlier?  How many other children are out their like George, waiting for someone to take notice of their case?  How many more children will grow up in centers because it takes so long for cases to be processed?  With out our financial intervention to pay for transportation for home visits, medical tests and publications, George would still be in the system, months or even years from being adopted.

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weekend with friends

We have had a good weekend, that would be great, but I have had a horrible cold.  I got a bad cold last Tuesday and today it is finally getting better.  Friday night we had our small group at our house.  10 for soup, bread and apple spice bars makes a cold night warm.

Saturday Guillermo played soccer for an hour or so and I rested and got ready for our next guests.  The Yanes (Anibal, Yadira, Abigail and Jose Anibal) are our good friends.  Guillermo and Anibal work together.  We have spent a weekend at their house and so this was their turn to visit us.  We had Mexican enchiladas for lunch and Saturday and also a little scavenger hunt for the kids.  Later they went to a birthday party while we went to youth group.  On Saturday night we went to a concert of the Honduran Philharmonic Symphony downtown.  I don’t have pictures from Saturday because I was too sick to think about much else.  Sunday we slept in, had a nice big breakfast and then walked all over the Hatillo before we had lunch and they headed home.

Abigail

Jose Anibal

He is quite the talker

Yanes family at Pinares

Little buddies

At the overlook

Amigos del alma

Dad and daughter

Jose Anibal balances

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s’mores

Teaching the fine art of making s’mores: translating s’mores into Spanish, seeing the excitement on their faces when I said they would each get their very own bar of chocolate, teaching them how to roast and make the sandwich, getting to luxuriously hand out marshmellows from the never ending bag thanks the the generosity of the group from Wabash church.  OK- we did cut a few off after like 10, but at least we are not at camp and they had to go home at the end of the night.  So fun doing things for the first time!

Around the fire

Good form!

Singing and watching the fire

We couldn’t get it going with out gas (I am so embarrassed, but fire making is a little harder in humid Honduras than dry Colorado)

Making sandwiches

The horchata crew

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game night

Sometimes at youth group, we deviate from the normal Bible study, prayer etc for an alternative form of growth.  Ever since Guillermo and I read the book Play: How it shapes the brain, opens the imagination and invigorates the soul, we have been looking for ways to incorporate play into youth group.  Most of the youth in the group come from a background that didn’t afford them a lot of time or materials to play.  Some of them lack some important emotional and social skills that will actually be crucial to their success in life.  When I see a 13 year old go up on front of the church to receive a diploma for English class with a BIG SCOWL on his face, I know we have work to do.  Just learning how to win and lose is a good skill.  So…

Chinese Checkers

Pick Up Sticks

This is one of the most popular games

Dutch Blitz

I couldn’t resist

Doing what jovenes do best- playing around!

Not quite!

Regroup

Try again

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soccer

Meet some kids in the ‘hood, invite them to play soccer, bring food, talk about Jesus.

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