Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Gorgeous Laid an Egg!

Boo, who takes care of the chickens, shows off the first egg.

Today our chicken, Gorgeous, laid her very first egg! We are all so proud of her!

Pictures from Feeding Centers!

As we started passing out the donated food we recently received, we told the recipients that, before they could receive a second batch of food, they needed to bring us pictures of the people who benefited from the first batch.

This is all part of our keeping a high level of accountability for the Kids Against Hunger people, who, of course, are well aware of the potential for corruption in third world countries.

Yesterday, we received the first set of pictures back from a food recipient. These pictures were taken at the Emmanuel Children's Home, in the city of La Esperanza.

Along with the pictures, we received the report that everyone at the home really enjoyed the food, and that they were almost out of food when they received the boxes from Kids Against Hunger, so they were especially blessed by its arrival!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Another patient for "Doctor" Trish

Today was the monthly gathering for the families enrolled in our Special Needs Program. These are families which include a child with a special medical need. Many suffer from mental retardation, while some have other birth defects, or problems brought about by malnutrition. About 15 families come to our house to receive their package of food and vitamins. Today we were able to distribute food we received from Kids Against Hunger to these families. The ladies in this group walk for about two hours, to get to our house to receive their food. Today, they basically received as much as they could carry. One lady jokingly remarked that with all that food, she is going to get fat!

One of the ladies in this group is also my "patient" with the fungal infection on her shoulders. She is improving, but it is a slow process. Today, she brought along a relative (sister in law's sister, or something), who has a five month old baby with a bad skin infection. We were able to give this young mother antibiotic soap and antibiotic cream, for her amazingly adorable little son.

Here is a picture of little Erguin. You can't see his personality in this picture, but he is quite a bright, happy, friendly little guy. He has been running occasional fevers; I am hoping this is not a sign that the infection is affecting more than his skin.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Starting the Second Building - Poured Foundation Walls

This past week, in addition to all of the shenanigans related to the arrival of the container of food, my hard working family managed to pour concrete foundation walls on the second building on the Missionary Ventures property. (I can, without tooting my own horn, call my family "hard working," as I was not involved at all in either the construction work or the food rescue. But, I am the one who blogs about it. ;-) )

The building we have been working on for several months is a team house. It will have two large bunk rooms, each with a large bathroom, and long porches along two sides of the building. This will be used for housing groups, such as the teams which visit us from the states, and also for the students who come to the Bible Training School.

This second building is what we call "intern housing." In the past, we have sometimes had young (or occasionally not-so-young) people stay and work with the ministry for several months. For these semi-permanent workers, it will be nice to have somewhat more private housing. This building will have three smaller bedrooms, each with it's own bath, and some large communal porches. Since our own children have started reaching adulthood, and have been choosing to stay on to work with the ministry for a time, we will also use this building for housing our home-grown interns.

This particular building will have a large amount of dirt backfilled against this wall. To provide the necessary extra strength, the wall was poured, instead of built from block.

The top of that wall will be floor level for the building. Once again, we have situated the building to make the most of a fabulous view.

It's exciting to see this progress taking place! Once these two buildings are habitable, we plan to move the family onto the property to live, while we construct the additional ministry buildings, and our own home.

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Next Day (or The Saga Continues)

After working all day Tuesday on pouring concrete, then traveling over an hour each way to rescue the container full of food, and then unloading half of the contents of one truck, and loading it onto another truck . . . this family deserved a day to sleep in and rest. They didn't get it.

The truck driver badly needed to get back on the road, to try to salvage some of his schedule. We started unloading his truck onto our carport at 7am on Wednesday.

Here is the container, which of course was already half unloaded, from the night before.

We used the pallets to keep the boxes of food up off the floor, in case we should get water in the carport again.

The pile grows . . .

. . .and grows . . .

. . . and grows!

The food distributions have already begun, to schools, feeding centers, and orphanages in our area. This is a LOT of food, and we'll be handling distribution for several months. Russell will have the job of driving out into the mountains to deliver many of these boxes of food.

The Story You've All Been Waiting For: The Arrival of the Container of Food

I apologize for leaving the story of the arrival of the container of food, donated by Kids Against Hunger, hanging unconcluded. Here, finally, is the rest of the tale.

On Tuesday morning, we received word that all of the paperwork for the release of the container had been completed, and the truck with the food was on the road to us! We waited and waited, but no truck arrived. Allen and several of the kids worked on the construction site that day, keeping the cellphone close at hand, so that they could come home and help with the unloading when the container arrived.

Finally, in the late afternoon, they got the call. It was not, however, the good news that the container was at our house.

The truck had left Puerto Cortes, on the north coast that morning, and headed toward Gracias, on the main north-south road on the west side of Honduras. (Here in Honduras, we call these major roads 'highways,' but I am not going to use that term here, as it will give my US readers a completely incorrect picture of the type of roadway we are discussing. These are paved roads, one lane in each direction.) After traveling several hours, the truck had to turn around, because a large accident (involving a different overturned tractor trailer) had completely blocked the road, and wasn't expected to be cleared for many hours. This map shows the first part of his trip, with a bright red line on the top left corner of the map.
The driver of our truck backtracked, and then turned south again, on the one other major road which runs north and south in Honduras. This road heads toward the capital of Honduras, but there is a road which connects this road to the western road, and that secondary road runs through Gracias. However, that road is not completed. A lot of it is still unpaved, and at this time of year it can be quite muddy, and occasionally impassable. This second map shows the middle part of the trip, with another bright red line, starting at the place where he had to turn around.

The call our family received, late Tuesday afternoon, relayed the above information of the truck's trip so far - and some more bad news. At that point in the trip shown on the second map, the truck slid on a particularly muddy turn in the road, came dangerously close to overturning, and got quite stuck. A second tractor trailer, traveling the same direction, and thinking the road was wider than it was, tried to get past the truck with the container of food, and got stuck right next to it.

Although Allen and most of the kids had just finished a ten hour day pouring concrete (I have construction pictures, too, but I'll save them for another post), they piled back into the Land Cruiser to go rescue the tractor trailer and the food! They borrowed two large trucks from the alcalde (mayor) of Gracias, and picked up a heavy chain, with a plan to unload the original truck (to get rid of some of the weight) into the borrowed trucks, then pull the tractor trailer back onto the road using the chain and the other trucks.

The site of the incident was just over an hour's drive from our house (the distance isn't great, but the travel is very slow on the unpaved, muddy roads). Here are a few pictures of the situation they found there. It was, of course, already dark when they arrived.
The food is in the white truck, on the right.

The road was completely blocked by the two trucks, and there was a small hill close to the road on one side, and a muddy ditch on the other side. In order to unload the boxes of food from the container, our intrepid crew had to carry each box under the trailer of the truck, and then up a hill to load the boxes onto the alcalde's truck!

The workers unloading the food from the container

carrying the boxes and pallets under the tractor trailer

Of course, working in this mucky spot where the truck was stuck was a sloppy mess. The next day, everyone had sore, strained muscles, from this bending and lifting and carrying work in the mud.

After around 700 boxes had been unloaded, carried through the mud, under the truck, up a muddy hill, and then loaded onto the alcalde's truck, it was decided that the load was lightened enough to attempt to pull the tractor trailer out of the road.

The two borrowed trucks were then connected to one another by chains and cables, and the stuck truck became the caboose on this train. Straining together, they were able to get the original truck out of the mud!

The convoy of three trucks and our Land Cruiser returned to Gracias at just after 11pm. Most of the drivers and workers hadn't eaten, so we had a midnight meal for about a dozen or so people at our house, before everyone collapsed into bed for the night.

The next morning, we still had the job of unloading the truckload of boxes into our carport/storage area. This had to be done quite early, as the poor truck driver was already waaaaay behind on his schedule!

I have pictures of that, too, but this post is entirely long enough now. Watch for that part of the story later!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Container of Food HAS arrived!

It's a great story, and I've even got pictures, but I'm not ready to put it all together for you here. We're having a rough morning.

I'll try to get the story and pictures onto the blog before the end of the day, though.

Thanks to everyone who prayed with us about this container of food!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Container of Food has NOT Arrived

We received word that the container of food which Kids Against Hunger sent (for us to distribute in Lempira) was due to arrive here this past Saturday. So, we made sure that we had sufficient space in our storage area/carport to receive approximately 20 pallets of boxes.

As Saturday morning passed with no sign of the truck, Allen called the shipping company, and was told that there had not been enough trucks to send our container that day, and it would be coming on Monday instead.

Yesterday the truck arrived! Russell and a crew of guys came home from the construction site to unload it. The back of the truck was opened to reveal . . . construction supplies and medical equipment?!?!?!?

It wasn't our container. Sigh.

There is a medical clinic in our area, and it was their container of stuff. I don't know how the paperwork got confused with ours, but fortunately it was a fairly easy task to get the truck and container moved from our house to their clinic.

The shipper says that they still have our container, but that it has not yet been released, which may mean that it has not successfully passed through customs, or that all fees have not yet been paid. We have a government agency helping us with this, so the process is not in our hands at this point. Although we had been told by the agency that everything had been completed to release the container, the shipper doesn't seem to agree. Of course, yesterday was a holiday (as were the two previous Mondays!), so we were unable to talk with anyone in the government to find out what is causing the delay. Hopefully this morning we will be able to get this sorted out!

Friday, October 19, 2007

One Doofy Thing from my Day

There are several empty 55 gallon drums sitting on my front porch right now, because we use them to transport water to our construction site. I was sitting on the porch, reading "Augustus Caesar's World" to my kids for school, and sipping on a large glass of sweet iced tea.

I say 'glass' of tea, but thankfully the tea was actually in a big plastic cup, the kind you get when you buy a supersize drink at a fast food place. Yes, we are that classy, we keep and use those in our home. We also have 55 gallon drums decorating our front porch, so it all works together as a decorating theme.

It was just around noon, and the sun was peeking onto the edge of the porch, and heating up those empty drums. Suddenly, the drum next to me (with the iced tea perched on top) decided that the pressure of the heated air was enough to pop the top of the drum, making a loud burping sound. My very full glass of cold, sticky tea was tossed into the air, turned over, and came down all over me! It was a stunning surprise! ;-D

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Russell is doing much better

I know a lot of people are checking for updates, so here is a quick one. We haven't had any additional issues or problems related to the soccer injury since Russell had that slight fever on Tuesday. Russell is, of course, still on the antibiotics. His pain has definitely lessened, and he is up and going about fairly normally, except that we aren't letting him do any lifting or construction work, and no soccer. He doesn't mind so much about the work, but not playing soccer for a few weeks is hard on him!

Thank you all, so much, for all of the prayers. We appreciate them more than we can possibly express!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I Went to the Bank Today

. . . and I stood in line for four hours. I was finally able to complete my business though, so this was good in comparison to some trips to the bank.

When I got home, Russell was running a slight fever, so he is now on antibiotics, and we are keeping an even closer eye on him.

There isn't much else to tell about my day. After spending four hours standing in line (about half of that on the sidewalk in the sun, half in the building), I didn't have the energy to tackle anything else!

Dealing with Childhood Injuries in Honduras

Hmmm, at 18, I guess Russell doesn't really count as a child anymore, but he got injured while playing soccer, so I think the categorization is fair.

Sunday, at around noon, while playing goalie, Russell was hit in his chest and the lower right side of his torso by the feet/legs/knees of another player. It was a hard hit, and Russell was in too much pain to get to his feet for most of an hour. Although his friends and teammates offered to take him to the hospital, he declined, and sat in the shade until he had gotten his breath back. Eventually, he managed to get himself into the truck and drove himself home from the soccer stadium.

He was in severe pain, and we were concerned about the possibility of internal injuries and bleeding. His skin wasn't broken, and he didn't even bruise up from this hit, but from the amount of pain he was experiencing, we were concerned about broken ribs and damage to his liver.

Our big problem in a situation like this, as you may have already guessed from some of my other medical posts in this blog, is that the medical care here is so far below standard that frequently the hospital misses the diagnosis or the visit actually causes additional damage. We have little faith in the ability of the local hospital to diagnose and treat our son.

One local doctor, who is also a friend of ours, has been a reliable resource to us in the past, but he was out of town on Sunday. We discussed the options of taking Russell to the city of Santa Rosa de Copan (45 minutes from here), and also whether we needed to take him all the way to San Pedro Sula (around 3 hours from here).

Meanwhile, we were rounding up prayer supporters and medical advisers from the internet. And, we were monitoring his blood pressure, pulse, and respiration. These would show signs of possible internal bleeding or a ruptured lung. Lovely. Please realize, we didn't see any signs of these complications - we just knew that we needed to watch out for them.

Happily, we can report that his vital signs remained good. However, he continued to have significant pain, and in the evening he had blood in his urine. Not good stuff, for sure, but here, where the medical care is so very poor, and slightly better care is a long drive away, this was still not quite enough to make the decision to head anywhere for tests a given.

Our friend Dr Julio was due to return to town Monday morning, so he said he would come to the house to examine Russell as soon as he could when he got back. He arrived early in the afternoon, and he said that he couldn't be sure, but he thought Russell might have fractured a rib. He also said he felt the situation warranted a trip to the city, for a sonogram and X-ray. Both of these are available in a city 45 minutes from here.

So, Allen and Russell headed there, with Bethany and Rachel coming along for the ride. Dr Julio was sending them to a private practice place (these tend to be better than the hospitals) for the tests, but unfortunately, when they arrived, they discovered that they were closed for a holiday which we didn't realize was on the calendar for that day (this happens to us a lot).

So, they headed over to the hospital, which has an x-ray machine, though no sonogram machine. At least their drive wouldn't be an entire waste, if they got the x-ray. However, the x-ray technician had just left the hospital. They were told that he would be called right back in. After waiting about an hour, Russell got his x-ray.

When the family arrived home, they explained that the results of the x-ray were inconclusive. There is a line on a rib which might be a fracture, but the doctor couldn't be sure. So, at least we know that there is no severe damage to Russell's ribs.

(Hmmm, how bad can he really feel, if he's able to ham it up for the camera this much?)

We still don't know about possible organ damage, but it has now been almost 48 hours since the original injury, and he continues to steadily improve. He has not had any additional problems with blood in his urine, and he is eating and drinking normally. He does still has significant pain.

It would seem that God has allowed us to we have another 'almost (but not quite) horrible' situation here. We have been blessed with incredibly good health and amazingly few injuries in our years living in remote areas of Honduras, and that is remarkable! Our choice to live where we do and as we do is all about faith, but some days we are reminded of that more than others!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

We are floored!

This recent wet, misty Saturday morning, Allen and his crew headed out to pour the concrete floor in one of the rooms of the team house we are building. This was our largest pour yet, and several days were spent in preparation for this day.

First, the crew had to build two support posts (out of cinderblocks) down to undisturbed soil in central points of the room. Then, during the last few days of the week, they poured cement beams across from the foundation walls to the columns, to support the poured cement floor.

A larger water supply than we have previously used at the site was required. Allen purchased four additional 55 gallon drums, for a total of seven, and Russell filled them here in the city, drove them up to the property, and unloaded them full of water.

Forty-five bags of cement were purchased (some of these were used for the beams), and a larger than usual crew of workers was asked to be on hand early Saturday morning, at 6:30am.

As Saturday dawned grey and rainy, we all waited to see what the weather would do. It is often grey and misty at dawn, but sunny later in the morning. Some of the workers, deciding that we wouldn't be working that day, didn't show up. After an hour or so, the overcast was clearing some, and Allen the intrepid (with Russell encouraging him all the way) decided that the work would go forward.

The weather kept things cooler, which the gringos in the crew always appreciate. Two mixing crews worked steadily to keep up the pace of creating the needed cement. The prepared cement was shoveled into Mudzilla's bucket, hauled to the edge of the building, and poured in. Then, back for more - all day long!

Because of the wet conditions, a few additional bags of cement were needed, beyond what was estimated, and Russell drove back into town to pick those up. It was on that trip that he took the camera out to the property, so the only shot we have is of the completed floor, receiving a final surface smoothing:

Looks nice, huh? Of course, Allen used to pour concrete all the time when he was a new home builder in Maryland. For a pour of this size . . . he would have had to pay the concrete delivery company an extra fee, to have them send out a mixing truck with such a tiny load! We would have happily paid the extra fee, if we could have had a concrete truck pull up our driveway and dump the cement into it's location here!

On Monday, Allen will be setting up the location for the second building, which we will be starting to work on soon. Here is a picture of Pastor Dionisio (who was part of the work crew this past Saturday), and a part of the stockpile of supplies which have now been delivered to the site. Things are moving right along!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

It's Broken

What is it? Oh, it could be so many, many things. Poor Allen is finding it hard to keep up with all of the repairs and replacements around here. It is frustrating.

Some of these things are really not his responsibility to repair anyway. The leaks in the roof, for instance, should certainly be handled by the landlord (the same guy who told us that the roof didn't leak anymore; that all of those stains on the ceiling were from before they repaired the roof). We have leaks in almost every room of the house, so this is starting to get just a bit annoying. So far, in spite of multiple trips to the roof by the worker the landlord sent over, the leaks just keep getting worse.

Recently, we started to notice water under the kitchen sink, coming from the plumbing. So, here is another repair which should really fall on the landlord. But we know he will send the same fellow who "fixed" the plumbing the last time, using strips of rubber from a bicycle innertube, a pretty hair ribbon, foil, a substance resembling dental floss, and some black water-soluble glue stuff. Hmmm, perhaps we'd be better off seeing to this repair ourselves.

Now, the knob on the brand new washing machine is messed up, and eventually we are almost certainly going to have stripped the threads on that knob. What happens after that? I don't know. Perhaps I will be using a pair of plyers to turn on the washer? It's not like we can get replacement parts or hire a competent repairman, you know.

During one recent shopping trip to San Pedro Sula, Allen purchased a new microwave (the computerized controls stopped working on the old one), a new crockpot (we dropped and broke the glass lid of the former crockpot), and a new rice cooker (I don't even remember what happened to the old one . . . it has been gone for a long while. Fortunately rice can be cooked in a pot on the stove).

Tonight, as Russell prepared to drive off in the pickup truck, he discovered that the key had broken off - in the ignition. He and Allen were out on the street until midnight trying to get that broken bit out. At midnight they wisely decided to go to bed, and return to this problem in the morning.

Oh, but I really want to end this on a brighter note. Allen has fixed the drainage problem in the yard, so we no longer have to bail the yard during heavy rains to keep from having a flood in the storage area/carport. I think that's pretty wonderful!

Monday, October 8, 2007

American Cooking in Honduras

Sausage biscuits for breakfast . . . sounds great, doesn't it? We think so too, although the process of producing these for our family takes several people a couple of hours. We start with the ground chicken, and a recipe which adds spices until the cooked meat resembles breakfast sausage. This meat is made up into patties and browned, while the biscuits are mixed up from scratch and baked.

I feel a little guilty saying this, because so many people in the states are giving up convenience foods to make healthier homemade food . . . but some days I just wish I had a package of frozen breakfast sausages and a can of instant biscuits (well, several packages and cans for my family). Hah - or an occasional trip out for a fast food breakfast!

In my efforts to keep the family fed and happy, I like to try new recipes, and I am always watching for those which 1) sound reasonably healthy, 2) will be considered tasty and acceptable by my family, and 3) include ingredients I can purchase here in Honduras or for which I can find substitutions. If the recipe calls for canned beans, I can cook up a batch of dried beans first. If it calls for frozen or canned vegetables, I can sometimes purchase the vegetables fresh, and prepare them in a similar manner to the canned/frozen variety. If it calls for boneless, skinless chicken breasts . . . we can turn a lot of frozen chickens into enough breasts to serve the whole family . . . but I rarely make those recipes, as that is just too much work. All of this translates into a lot of extra time and effort. A recipe which calls itself a "30 minute, one skillet meal" might actually require me to start a day ahead (soaking beans, or thawing the whole chickens for parts, for instance), and will likely require a lot more than one skillet!

When I notice that I am discarding a lot of useful sounding recipes because of not having access to one certain ingredient, and I can't find a local substitute, I try to see if I can get that ingredient from the states, in a non-perishable version. For instance, we recently bought a package of powdered buttermilk, and we are excited about making buttermilk biscuits, and other recipes which call for this specific ingredient. We get some special spices (like Old Bay seasoning) brought down from the states.

Some other ingredients we have learned how to make without using any expensive imports. We love lasagna, but without ricotta cheese it just wasn't the same. We now know how to make our own cheese (it is something like a dry cottage cheese) that works just great in lasagna. When we lived on Guanaja, in order to make lasagna, we made homemade noodles, homemade sauce, and homemade cheese. It was a rare, all day event!

I am just getting started in learning how to make some other cheeses, because we can get local milk relatively inexpensively, but hard cheeses we have to get from San Pedro Sula (we only get there for shopping every other month or so), and they are horribly expensive. I'm excited about learning this new skill! I did have to order a few items to get the cheesemaking process started, but these are small items, mostly powdered, which will be added in to start the chemical/bacteriological processes.

Just so no one feels the need to chide me about this, we do eat the local foods, as well. We love empanadas, baleadas, tamales, beans and rice, plantains, etc, but not all the time. The family enjoys both Honduran and American foods, so I try to create meals which satisfy both desires. But many Honduran foods I can purchase ready-made, and they will be better than the version I would cook, for a very low price. So, I don't cook Honduran very much. Cooking American foods is enough of a challenge!

I am trying to get back into the habit of cooking in big batches, and freezing the extra prepared foods for future meals. Now that we have the big chest freezer (a gift from a team which visited in April, from Countryside Christian Center in Tampa), we can do this, as I used to do when we lived in the states. The little freezer above the fridge is barely big enough for our family's ice and basic frozen storage needs.

Ooooh, something new and exciting arrived on the food front this evening - Bethany discovered some tiny berries growing on the property. With a lot of effort she collected about 2 cups full, enough to put into a small batch of muffins or pancakes. They are edible, and resemble blueberries. The local name (pardon the crudity) is cat's eggs. I don't know the scientific name. I suppose they might even be a kind of wild blueberry. We just love finding a local food source . . . especially when it's free!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Up to the Minute Construction Photos (well, up to the day, anyway)

Today was a big day - the first pour of cement!

Here is the cement mixing crew. When mortar was needed for the masonry work, Christopher worked alone on mixing up the cement, but for such a big slab, most of the crew was involved in the mixing process.

Mudzilla was a great help in transporting the cement. Russell is unloading the cement which will become the floor of the porch.

Wait a minute - who's driving that machine?

Tah dah! The completed porch floor.

Thursday, October 4, 2007


October 4th is one of our family's most important days. On October 4th 1987, exactly 20 years ago today, I gave birth for the first time, to our oldest child, Kirstin. Then, nine years later, on October 4th 1996, I gave birth for the fifth and last time, to Bethany. So, it's a double birthday at our house!

Tonight we had a few friends in for a dinner celebration. The real birthday event will take place sometime in the next week or so, when we go for a family camping trip.

Our party tonight was great fun. We had 8 guests, all under 25. We had pizza pasteles (an original family recipe, half American/half Honduran), raw veggies, cake, ice cream and Cokes.

After our younger (non-English speaking) guests had departed, we played a round of Pictionary with the English speakers. This game got really loud! We had three teams, and the all male team won - which was a great surprise to us all, except perhaps to the men. The best part was when the men had to draw something from the category "P.U. It stinks." Before they had even started drawing, David guessed 'skunk,' and it turned out to be the correct answer. Yes, he was pretty proud of himself!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

A Gallo for our Gallina

Yesterday, the friend who gave us the beautiful girl chicken last week brought us a rooster to create a matched set. The rooster is not as pretty as the hen, but is still quite attractive. I don't know chickens, but I think he is a different kind of chicken than she is. Currently he is smaller than she, but I imagine he is just younger.

The first meeting of this newly created couple was inauspicious, as the female (whose name, by the way, has been upgraded from "Beauty" to "Gorgeous") immediately attempted to murder her prospective spouse. Being rather larger than he, she cornered him and pecked at him unmercifully, while he cowered.

"Handsome," the rooster, was rescued from the chicken coop, and peacefully slumbered for several hours in a large cardboard box in a corner of the kitchen, until one of the cats joined him in the box. We discovered that roosters can cover a significant distance in a directly vertical direction, when necessary. His velocity and altitude even freaked out the cat, but not as much as the cat freaked out Handsome, apparently! Handsome ran around the kitchen, bawking, and he kept seeing his reflection in the oven door and trying to run into the other chicken he saw there. I have no idea what the motivation for this could have been. Really.

Eventually, Handsome calmed down and found a new hiding place. We have a long, narrow table along one wall of the kitchen, which has a shelf just above floor level, and the largest cooking pots reside on that shelf (hidden under the tablecloth). The rooster perched up on the rim of one of the pots, totally hidden from sight, and stayed there all day.

At around dusk everyday, Gorgeous leaves the chicken coop (she can scramble up the wire and fly out over the top of the wire when she feels like it) and comes to visit us in the house. When we return her to the coop, she settles into her house for the night. It's like a bedtime ritual now. Just before Gorgeous was due to arrive in the house, Handsome came out from under the table and began to check out the rest of his surroundings. We shooed Handsome out of the house, and he hid under a table on the porch, which is currently surrounded by empty cardboard boxes (waiting to be knocked down and stored for future use). When Gorgeous came for her afternoon visit, we chased her out of the house as well, and she decided to hide under the same table.

We didn't know where they both were, until slightly later, when we wanted to move them to the comparative safety of their coop for the night. Christopher found them. He said, "I can't tell in the dark, but it looks like one of them is huddled in the corner, and the other is stalking back and forth under there." Yes, that would be Handsome and Gorgeous. Talk about a hen-pecked husband!

We put them both back into the chicken coop, and they settled into the house together for the night. This morning, they seem to be able to get along without threatening and cowering. We shall see. It could be the start of a beautiful relationship.

Monday, October 1, 2007

More Construction Pictures - and a VIDEO!

Today our crew moved our 20' shipping container up onto the property, to use as a lockable tool shed. As with most things here in Honduras, this relatively simple task was quite complicated and involved. We have pictures, of course: First, here comes Russell, driving "Mudzilla," our front end loader. This machine was donated for the ministry in Honduras by Gainesville Presbyterian Church, in VA. We do a lot of road repairs with this machine, and it will really be wonderful to have on the construction site . . . now, I will no longer be able to brag that all of the work on site has been done by hand. What we give up in bragging rights, we hope to make up for in speed of progress!

That's our container, on the back of the truck which carried it to the site. Russell and Mandito (the truck driver) are on top, preparing to attach the chains which will secure the container to Mudzilla's bucket.

Attaching the chain to one side of the container.

Attaching the other end of the chain to the bucket . . . almost ready for lift-off!

Here is a video Kirstin made of Allen unloading the container from the truck. There is a delay in the middle, just after Allen has lifted the container a few feet off the truck. This was when the truck was supposed to pull out from under the container . . . but the truck wouldn't start! So, then, Allen goes ahead and turns a bit and backs up, to get the container into the position where he has chosen to place it. There is a bit of excitement at this point, as people didn't expect this to happen. Eventually, the truck starts up and moves off, and the container is placed on the ground.

Please be kind - this is my first video upload. I know I need to learn some editing techniques, etc, but I am really proud of myself for just getting it this far along, so that you can see it! (Oh, I don't know why the viewer is insisting on giving you a menu of other videos to view. I can't vouch for what is on any of those, although they appear to be other construction equipment videos, so hopefully nothing objectionable pops up!)