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Posts Tagged ‘Honduras’

Jovenes Update

As the holiday season starts to come to a close, I just want to say thank you.

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Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the donations, good thoughts, and prayers you’ve been sending for Jovenes, the orphanage that Holly and I are raising money for this holiday season.

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As of right now, we’re at $715!!! I can’t tell you how excited I am about this – we are SO CLOSE to hitting our goal of $1,000, but the end of December is coming quickly!

If you’re still looking for a group to give back to or a great organization to support, please consider Jovenes.

If you can, we would be honored if you all would help out.

It takes $28,000 per MONTH to keep Jovenes running, and while I know money is tight for all of us, every little bit we can raise is going to help them cover their costs.

Just to show you what your contribution can do:

  • $25 = support of children at Jovenes
  • $50 = purchase backpacks & school supplies
  • $75 = funds skills training program
  • $100 = purchase school shoes & uniforms

The minimum donation is whatever you want it to be. Maybe you can go without a new jar of almond butter or coconut milk ice cream and donate that $5-10 here instead. Or maybe you can give more and sacrifice your holiday lattes for the month of December. In the grand scheme of things, it might not be much of a sacrifice for YOU, but it can make a huge difference to them.

I can vouch for this orphanage, for this program, for these boys: anything, everything you can give, is used to keep the orphanage running, to keep the boys healthy and educated and to help give them a life that they wouldn’t have otherwise.

Please consider giving this season.

Share the blessings you’ve received with someone less fortunate.

If you are feeling merry this holiday season,
please click here to donate to Jovenes!

Or here.

And perhaps here.

You can click here too.

Donations are completely secure and private.

We would appreciate any linkbacks you can give to this on your blog, e-mails you can send to family + friends as well as any other ways you can think to encourage others to donate (Tweet! Facebook! Call!). 

Again, we are hoping for $1000 by Christmas so we can provide Jovenes with the much-needed funds to help them continue doing their selfless, amazing work.

Thank you all for everything you do – I know how amazing this community is and the power that comes when people truly get behind something they believe in.

Love and good wishes,

Holly + me

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A Challenge to Give

With the holiday season in full force, I want to offer a challenge. And this challenge isn’t just for you – I’ll be participating and offering this up to my family, too.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that these boys have stolen my heart.

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But Jose and Norman are just two boys out of 60 at Jovenes.

Just 2 kids out of hundreds in a country that gives them the message that children are a nuisance and worthless. That they are easy to get rid of and better off dead.

Two kids that, without Jovenes, would have been left on the street, pick pocketing to survive, and addicted to drugs to deal with the pain and despair of everyday life.

Every year, my family and I travel to Honduras (paying our own way) to volunteer at an orphanage for homeless, abused and abandoned children called Jovenes en Camino, located about 25 miles south of the Honduran capital, Tegucigalpa.

This amazing program (run completely from donations) houses more than 60 children and with very limited resources and educates, houses, feeds and gives them the tools so they can start to change the society and culture in the country.

Honduras is in great need of responsible male role models, ones who want to be good fathers and caretakers and contributing members of society. In a country that is still ravaged by poverty, natural disasters and rampant crime, this program is truly needed.

If you would like to read more about our travels in Honduras, check out some of the blog posts here.

In conjunction with Holly and Jovenes, I am hoping to help raise $1000 by Christmas to donate to Jovenes en Camino.

If you can, we would be honored if you all would help out.

It takes $28,000 per MONTH to keep Jovenes running, and while I know money is tight for all of us, every little bit we can raise is going to help them cover their costs.

Just to show you what your contribution can do:

  • $25 = support of children at Jovenes
  • $50 = purchase backpacks & school supplies
  • $75 = funds skills training program
  • $100 = purchase school shoes & uniforms

The minimum donation is whatever you want it to be. Maybe you can go without a new jar of almond butter or coconut milk ice cream and donate that $5-10 here instead. Or maybe you can give more and sacrifice your holiday lattes for the month of December. In the grand scheme of things, it might not be much of a sacrifice for YOU, but it can make a huge difference to them.

I can vouch for this orphanage, for this program, for these boys: anything, everything you can give, is used to keep the orphanage running, to keep the boys healthy and educated and to help give them a life that they wouldn’t have otherwise.

Please consider giving this season.

Share the blessings you’ve received with someone less fortunate.

If you are feeling merry this holiday season,
please click here to donate to Jovenes!

Or here.

And perhaps here.

You can click here too.

Donations are completely secure and private.

We would appreciate any linkbacks you can give to this on your blog, e-mails you can send to family + friends as well as any other ways you can think to encourage others to donate (Tweet! Facebook! Call!). 

Again, we are hoping for $1000 by Christmas so we can provide Jovenes with the much-needed funds to help them continue doing their selfless, amazing work.

Thank you all for everything you do – I know how amazing this community is and the power that comes when people truly get behind something they believe in.

Love and good wishes,

Holly + me

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Well, I saved the most exciting (?), crazy story for last in these recap posts from our trip.

Besides finishing what we started, helping out around Jovenes, and spending precious quality time with the boys, we had the chance to attend a soccer game on Sunday afternoon.

Now, I know that soccer is different in Central and South America (and Great Britain) than it is here. Different than any sport here, actually.

I’ve seen Green Street Hooligans, and I know that the fans / gangs are often the worst part of the experience, and that their actions often have nothing to do with the outcome of the game.

Anyway, we went to the game with our Honduras friends and had a great time.

soccer

The game was exciting – both teams got SO close to scoring, but it never happened. One shot even bounced OFF the goal posts!

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Here’s (L to R) Oscar, Walter, Bob and Cindy – Oscar was excited for the game  🙂

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Not only was the game exciting, but the views were beautiful. There aren’t many places where the soccer stadiums are enclosed by mountains.

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Our Honduran friends were great to have with us – they knew everything about these two teams, which were apparently the 2 biggest rivals in Honduras: Olympia and Montagua.

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Hi Dad!  🙂

All in all, the game was fun. No one scored, but there was no overtime, so we walked out from a 0-0 game and started heading to our van.

At first, everything was fine.

We saw a few fist fights, which I expected, but kept walking and eventually found Walter’s truck.

Well, we ended up never moving to the van.

We’re still not sure what started it, but the fans/gangs/groups from one of the teams were fighting with the police.

We couldn’t see anything (even though we were RIGHT by the gate they were coming out of), but we heard lots of gunshots (what we thought were fireworks since they had those in the stadium) and people were saying that rocks were being thrown.

Our Honduran friends forced all 8 of us into Walter’s truck to keep us safe. At that point, things were kind of crazy, but we still couldn’t see anything other than big groups of people running back and forth past the truck.

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I even took my camera out to try to get a couple of shots of how we were crammed in – Nick was on my dad’s lap in the back seat, then Gabby, then Nick’s mom and I was on her lap in the seat behind the driver’s seat.

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Walter was in the driver’s seat and Merle and Bob were crammed in the front seat with him, situated around the gear shifter.

I don’t think any of us realized how serious things were outside of the truck.

Tear gas had been set out by the police and shots were still going off.

Right after I took this picture and put my camera away, someone ran past the truck and hit Walter’s drivers side mirror, and then we heard (and I felt) this big bang on my door (the door behind the driver; my back was up against it and I was in Cindy’s lap in this seat). We all figured it was a rock that was thrown, since that had been happening right around us earlier.

By that time, we were just able to get out of there, but the only way to go was THROUGH everything. We couldn’t back up, so we had to drive through the tear gas clouds to get out of there.

We got back to the hotel, and everyone was safe and healthy and fine. But when we went around the side of the truck to see the dent from the rock, we saw this instead.

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Yeah, that’s not from a rock.

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The bullet went in the door and never came back out.

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If this had been shot from any other angle or height, it would have been in the truck and hit either me, Nick’s mom, or both of us.

3 people died in the craziness that happened after the game, and about 12 were injured. There was a lot on the news there the days after questioning how the police reacted, what started it, what else could have been done, etc. We heard a few things that might have started all of this, but we just don’t know for sure.

Our friends there even said that they go to games all the time and they had never seen anything this crazy before. Maybe all the political stress there is affecting the police force, maybe some things happened that no ones about except the people that were there. We don’t know.

There are some videos on youtube that show (what we think) is the cop who shot the truck and some of the stuff that was happening, but one part is not easy to watch and I didn’t want to post it. This wasn’t a movie or something exaggerated. This was real. Families are hurting, and people died who had nothing to do with what happened.

It’s scary knowing that something was so close to being fatal. I mean, I know anything can happen at any time, but it’s different seeing how close something got to you.

And just to prove that I’m really not making this up, I even have the bullet.

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bullet

Do I plan on going back to Honduras? Yup. I hope many, many more times. As much as I can afford.

Do I plan on going back to a soccer game in Honduras? That….I’m not sure of   🙂 Or we’ll at least stay IN the stadium for at least 30 minutes and let everyone else head home first.

Have you ever had a close call?

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More Fun at Jovenes

Ah….I already miss being there.

In addition to the roof being done, we were able to do other things to help out while we were there.

Since the boys were usually the ones on the roof, us girls found things to keep ourselves busy when we weren’t playing with the kids  🙂

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One of the first things we tackled were the flower beds on the side of the building.

The ONLY things that were actually supposed to be in there were the palm trees  – good thing Dennis and Munguia found a tool to use! Some of those weeds were super strong and hard to break up.

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You’ll see more of him later, too, but let me introduce Dennis. He was born without irises so he doesn’t open his eyes very much, especially outside. He was so sugary sweet to us – tons of hugs all the time and so helpful. I miss him.

Our other helper with the flower beds was Munguia, who I think is playing with an inchworm he found in this picture.

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After a few hours of pulling up weeds and clearing them out, the flowerbeds looked brand new!

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Our helpers did a great job wheeling the weeds away in the wheelbarrow, too.

Gabby, Cindy and I also got to help serve lunch a few days while we were there. They have such a beautiful cafeteria – I love how open it is. It was fun being in here with the kids and hearing our team up on the roof at the same time!

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And besides helping serve lunch and helping with the clean up/ washing dishes…

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The main cook also invited us in to learn how to make tortillas from scratch!

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Of course, now I can only make a batch of 200 and we used an entire 1 lb. tub of lard to roll them out  🙂

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Here’s Cindy patting one of hers out. Ours were so bad at first – we couldn’t even roll them into pretty balls! His tortillas were perfectly round with no seams, and he definitely went back and “fixed” a lot of ours  🙂  I don’t blame him though – some of our first ones were pretty ugly!

I did make sure to take a picture of my best one – I had to prove that I actually made one that looked good!

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After being patted out by hand,

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we took them over to the stove, where they were cooking them on 2 small skillets, one at a time.

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I can’t imagine how much slower we were than when they usually make them, but they were delicious! The cook let us taste one of our creations – I think we pulled out one of the many triangle/rectangle shaped tortillas we made to taste  🙂

We also got to make sugar cookies one day, but I guess I didn’t get pictures of that. More rolling out dough by hand, cutting into cookie shapes with a cup and baking lots and lots of cookies. I’m glad we were able to help.

There was also some other cleaning up around the orphanage, especially once the tiles were all down from the roof.

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Plus the most important part and the most fun:

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spending time with the boys.

Still to come!

  • The boys at Jovenes
  • Crazy experience we had

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Well, these posts have been so much fun and so much work to put together! I honestly had over 500 pictures to get through, and every single one made me do one of the following:

  • smile
  • laugh
  • cry
  • pray
  • think
  • remember
  • ache to go back

If you read my original post about our trip, our main mission for going was to put a new roof on their cafeteria building. Of course, as the unofficial-official photographer of the trip, I got lots of pictures of the roof and its progress throughout the week.

But first – getting into Honduras.

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The flight into Honduras is definitely a big part of the experience.

When actually landing on the landing strip, you are lower than the mountains and RIGHT beside them…I mean, it’s as if the wings are going to chop right through them OR through the houses you’re flying by.

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A little scary, but beautiful at the same time. We actually had great weather both flying in and out of the country. And no delays or cancelled flights! Those were a few of the signs that this trip was supposed to happen, even with all the political things happening over there right now.

While going through my pictures, I did find ONE picture of food that I took on the day we arrived. 🙂  Once a food blogger, always one?

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Yup, we ate a LOT of beans that week  🙂  But I was totally fine with it because their beans are amazing. These came out before our first “lunch” in Honduras which was actually our dinner…even though we didn’t really have a full meal that day until this point. They bring out these beans + chips in one and this awesome goat cheese+ salsa in another and they both have hot coals underneath them, which keeps them hot and bubbly. So good and flavorful and the cheese is so stringy.

The first day in the country included eating, walking around town, and resting up for the first day of the work (Thursday).

Jovenes is located about an hour outside of the capital (Tegucigalpa), which is where we were staying.

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There are 3 dorms, 1 cafeteria building, a little workshop and an administration building.

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The dorms actually all need new roofs, too, so we’re hoping that we’ll be able to help with those in the future.

The roof was worked on for 4.5 days. Thankfully, another group had come in and helped start it by taking the tiles off of one side so our team could get right to work.

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The first day was going well until this storm came through. Every day, it seems there’s the chance for rain, but Thursday had this view (above) on one side of the building and the below view on the other.

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I was actually up on the roof when the first raindrops started falling and happened to get down just before it started pouring.

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Unfortunately, our first day included an accident. One of our helpers that week, Johnny, fell off the roof on the first day right after it started raining. He was standing near my dad and helping to get one of the metal sheets down when his foot slipped on the wet metal. He fell on the ground right in front of me, Cindy, and Gabby and it scared us pretty bad.

Thankfully, he was fine. A few bumps and bruises, but it could have been much worse. He barely missed hitting the ladder, the piles of tiles, and a big cement block – we were very thankful to have him okay.

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We were accident free the rest of the week, and the roof moved along nicely.

We did have to leave early on Saturday to head back into town since we heard that the ex-President was apparently trying to come back into Honduras. We had heard that they would be closing the city borders so we had to leave in time to get back into town. However, even with the missed half day of work, all the work got finished.

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cafeteria

The other side of the building still had the old tile roof on, so they were working on taking those tiles off while putting the new metal roof down.

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This is Johnny and Franklin, two of our amazing helpers that week. Johnny (in the white) is the one that fell off the roof and scared us (and himself)! We’re glad he was okay and that he still wanted to work with us  🙂

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team

What an amazing team we had. Everyone contributed and we also had a great time getting to know the boys better and getting to know each other. I already miss everyone and am ready for a reunion.

While we may have been a small group, we were able to finish what we went there to do and spend quality time with the boys.

Merle, Sadyh, Dad, Bob, Nick, Walter, Marvin, Gabby, Johnny, Cindy, Oscar, and Franklin will always have a special place in my heart. I will never forget this trip.

———-

Stay tuned for more posts about the trip, including:

  • other things we did at the orphanage
  • a post just on the boys there
  • our craziest story from our trip – believe me, it’s crazy

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