Sunday, March 30, 2008

Our Inspiration

When planning the construction on our mission property, we had a few immediate ideas. We wanted to use local materials and styles, as much as would be practical. We wanted the buildings to blend into the local landscape somewhat.

The Hotel Finca El Capitan, here in Gracias, has served as an example and inspiration for our buildings. It is a nice hotel, but very rustic.

Allen is making some alterations in the materials and manner of construction, so that hopefully we will be able to convey a similar rustic country feeling, in buildings which will be stronger, and will be a bit easier to keep clean and maintained.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Putting Up Walls

This is getting exciting! The walls of the team house are going up rapidly, and it is starting to look like a building!

These photos were taken by our hardworking men-folk at the close of their work today.

Friday, March 28, 2008

A chip off the ol' block

In January, I posted some of my drawings and paintings from my college days. Today, Kirstin, my college age daughter (she's taking classes online while living here at home with the family) surprised me with the drawing she made for one of her college classes. She had to write a paper or poem, or create a drawing, showing the effects of the black death on individuals.

Kirstin hasn't had any art instruction, she just happens to enjoy painting and drawing. I try to keep art and craft supplies on hand, so that my kids can be creative when the mood strikes.

I am quite impressed with her work!

Thursday, March 27, 2008


This morning Allen traveled to Puerto Cortes, to work on getting a shipping container through customs. As he left, he knew that the Bill of Lading, an important document without which you cannot receive your shipment, had been sent to the wrong city, and that we would have to make arrangements to get it sent, by bus, over to where he could pick it up.

A friend in La Ceiba went to the FedEx office to pick up the documents and deliver them to the bus station. She reported back to us, that the FedEx office couldn't find the paperwork. So, we got the tracking number for her, and she went back to the office. Eventually, we found that the documents are not in La Ceiba, because they were sent to . . . Venezuela!

Apparently, when the documents were sent from Baltimore, the wrong country code was entered. Sigh.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Rules of the Road

A recent team took pictures during their drive back to San Pedro Sula from Gracias. They were especially intrigued by the way vehicles passed one another on the road. Intrigued might not be the right word here, as truly, this can be a terrifying experience. Double yellow lines, blind curves, and even oncoming traffic don't deter the drivers who intend to pass . . . including my husband, I have to admit. Of course, Allen and the kids would say it is just fun and exciting, and that I'm a wimp. You can look at the pictures, and decide for yourself.

Monday, March 24, 2008

2006 Dental Team

A few days ago, I mentioned the symbols and designs which are often painted on country houses in the mountains of Lempira. Today, I went searching through our (thousands!) of pictures, looking for a few photos of those houses, to show you. I've only found one so far, so I'll keep looking for more before I write a post about those. While looking, though, I found these photos.

This is a dental team which visited Lempira in September of 2006. The same group also ran a children's program that week, but the pictures I found interesting today were of the dentists, and the conditions in which they worked.

Medical professionals take a lot of flack for being demanding . . . but we have seen some incredible work done in extremely difficult conditions, in the name of Christ, and with an attitude of joy for the opportunity to serve others.

As you look through these photos, keep a picture in your mind, of these same people, in their bright, clean offices, with all of their supplies and equipment organized and ready, and with assistants on hand to do whatever they ask.

Dental chairs were not available, so the dentists used folding lawn chairs, which could be reclined somewhat.

Allen oversees the sterilization of the dental instruments

The sterilization process was something that had to continue throughout the day, in order to keep up with the huge number of patients.

Set up in a school, work space was at a premium, and needed supplies often had to be dug out of suitcases.

Patients waiting for care. The services of dentists are highly valued, and much needed!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Stations of the Cross

Along the pathway, created by the sand and sawdust carpets, the Stations were set up. Since we had already left town by the time the procession took place, I didn't get to see what sort of remembrance took place at each station, but I know that each station represents a particular moment which led up to Christ's crucifixion.

These photos show a few of these stations.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Good Friday in Gracias

One part of the Easter celebration, in our part of Honduras, is the creation of sand and sawdust carpets early on the morning of Good Friday. After the carpets are created, a procession, remembering the "Stations of the Cross," walks along them, which of course, destroys the carpets.

In the city of Comayagua especially, this tradition has become a very artistic endeavor, and a huge tourist event. Here are some links, to Good Friday photos from other cities in Honduras:







Here in Gracias, this event is not commercialized, and the level of artistry is not as high. The carpets (generally more of a carpet runner, or pathway in our city, rather than separate rugs) have more the feel of folk art. The designs remind me of the symbols people in the mountains often paint on their houses.

We left town on Friday morning, before the carpets were completed, so I don't have pictures of the procession. Tomorrow, I hope to post pictures of the "stations" which were set up along the path of the procession.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Driving in Lempira

If you like 4-wheel driving, the department of Lempira is the place for you! There are very few paved roads in this department. During the rainy season many roads become impassable, due to higher water in rivers (closing fords to traffic), landslides which can drop mud and rocks onto the roads, and can also wash the roadbed away entirely, and of course, simple muddy conditions.

But even on the best days, driving can be a challenge here. Of course, these are mountain roads, so there are curves, switchbacks, and steep inclines everywhere. Frequently, one side of the road or the other has, instead of a shoulder, a plummet.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

"So, what did you do today, dear?"

As you have likely noticed from the stories in this blog, Allen is involved in many different types of ministries, and so his tasks can vary widely from day to day. But one thing that remains consistent is that he is always driving around on roads which are rough on vehicles! Although we try our best to keep our vehicles maintained and in good running order, we are limited by the low quality parts available, the limited knowledge and abilites of the mechanics, and of course, by the remarkably poor road conditions. So, very frequently, when I ask Allen or Russell what they did that day, it will include something from the following examples:

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Isn't Honduras Beautiful?

Construction Pictures

Here they are! Yesterday, at the end of the work day, Christopher (age 14) took these pictures of the construction site. This first picture shows the side of the team house. This building will have two large dormitory rooms, and two multi-person bathrooms. You can sort of see, in this picture, the front and back porches (as these have floor sticking out, but no walls going up), and the placement of the window on that side of the house. Allen and Russell are standing on a scaffold in that picture - the wall is close to 6 feet high now.

The crew expected to do a lot more masonry work yesterday, but the delivery of bricks was delayed (hopefully the bricks are being unloaded at the site right now), so instead they poured some concrete beams for supporting the floor, on the other end of the same building.

Part of the work crew, mixing concrete

How the concrete gets from the mixing area to the pouring area

Grade beams, plus the view!

Some exciting news: yesterday, Allen made arrangments to start installing our water lines! We will be connected to a municipal water system in a not-too-far-away village. With the backhoe, and the miles of PVC pipe which both arrived in the container in December, we are ready to tear through this project! Still, this will mean that the work on the actual buildings will stop for a bit, as the workers switch to this different aspect of the project.
As you can see, David was a lot of help at the construction site yesterday: