Feb. 6 Thursday

The days go quickly as we are so busy.  We are having beautiful weather...about 85 degrees each day, sunny, light wind to move the palms.

Quick update:  volunteers arrived successfully Feb. 1 - some are staying for one week and some for two weeks.  Another group will arrive on Feb. 8.  We hope the 2nd group will have an easy and successful trip.  We always hope that all the luggage arrives.  We had a beautiful welcome dinner at Hotel Sherwood, typical Honduran meal and a special cake welcoming all the volunteers.  Sunday was a day to not work but to have fun.  Some volunteers went to Punta Sal by boat (national park) and they hiked, swam, snorkeled and had a typical lunch.  Words to describe from Kathleen (one of our new volunteers from Kentucky) "paradise, relaxing, saw monkeys, spiders, rain forest spectacular, grilled fish w/head and tail on right on the beach".  Others who preferred a different experience - we first went to visit the Hogar Materno and see a of Tela.  And then we were invited to  Dr. and Ana Garcia's home for lunch.  Dr. Garcia is a physician at the Tela Hospital and also owns a private clinic.  Ana is a teacher at Policarpo school.  Dr. Garcia and Ana and their son Roberto came to Vermont in December to visit their daughter Ana who is a scholarship student at Rice High School.  They came to our house for dinner one night and are wonderful people and very supportive and helpful for our program.  Lots of connections really help our program.  They fixed us an outdoor typical lunch prepared on their outdoor Honduran stove. 

Each day we have an 'end of the day meeting' at 5:30pm to gather and share project reports, stories and it is a time of camaraderie.  Great way to learn more.

Work:  Projects include Las Palmas school where we have worked on and off for about 5 years.  Built large double classroom with windows/doors, latrines, water systems, also a 2nd large classroom was started by the previous mayor but was not completed.  This trip volunteers have painted the entire school inside and outside.  The community has come to help - clean up the grounds, paint the security fence etc etc.  We give school supplies, some uniforms.  An unanticipated project here is in motion - replacing the tops of the children's desks.  Electricity issues will be addressed next week.  Also next week we'll have a fluoride clinic at this school.

Tres de Mayo school - 3rd year of work at this very rural mountain agricultural school.  2nd classroom completed.  Now painting the 2 classrooms interior/exterior.  Working on a drainage problem.  Renovating a 3rd building that has been unusable due to water drainage problem.  Volunteers enjoyed demolishing the roof of this 3rd building and now the process includes raising the walls etc.  Many different plans (plan A to now Plan F) have been in motion with this project.  Also happening is putting in electricity (they have some computers but no electricity).  Next week, we will have a fluoride clinic here.

Rec field/park at Colonia Sitraterco with soccer, basketball renovation.  This project includes the replacement of the very long rusted out benches - 6 rows. (volunteers will work on replacing those next week) This provides seating for kids watching basketball, having sports presentations etc.  Now there is no place to sit for events.  Also reinforce the basketball backs, get new hoops, remove vines etc around the fence - the soccer field is in pretty good shape.  We plan to have the giving of the soccer equipment/uniforms next week at this park.

Fluoride clinics:  yesterday we had the first fluoride clinic at IHNFA.  64 fluoride applications were conducted - successful.  Wonderful event - we had 4 stations set up so 4 volunteers worked with the children, other volunteers took names and ages.  Was a great day at the child care center in the heart of Tela - where we have provided many projects to help them.  We love the children there - babies to about age 7.

Next week - 4 additional fluoride clinics will be held at schools.

Next week - 5 days of Women's Health Clinics - all the preparations have been completed for this including the requested security.

You cannot imagine all of the 'behind the scenes' preparations that are going on to make all of this happen!  That is happen successfully!  Yes it goes regularly from plan A to plan Z.

We have not yet begun the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit yet at the hospital.  It is due to changes by the government.  Al, Dave and I are working diligently to feel comfortable to hopefully begin this very large project.  We had a very successful meeting with the new Mayor Mario Fuentes and are very happy with him.  We also have had a good meeting with the police.

Our relationship with the Tela American School is great. We have 10 of their juniors with us every day to act as translators and help physically with projects.  We are very happy with these students who get 'community service' credit.

BTW - Al has recovered from his bronchitis.  All is going well in Tela which we find very tranquil - we are happy to say we are very comfortable here.

Thanks to all who help Hands to Honduras-Tela to be so successful!

Hasta pronto.