Sunday, February 6, 2011

Reunion

The last couple of days have been about reunion.   In Spanish, reunión means meeting.  After David rescued lost me and my battery challenged car on Thursday, I met with David and David Suazo to discuss David S.' new vision for the CAP program.  (CAP = Community Assistance Program) Then, on Friday,  I attended my second staff meeting.  I am here to tell you that the Honduran leadership team is a work of art.  They are all young (early 30's), very intelligent, creative, energetic, mixed with a large dose of dedication, commitment, and passion.   They work tirelessly for a pittance and never complain.  They are heroic in the way they respond to the challenges and ever growing need around us here.

David S. has a proposal for a revamping of CAP.  He is all about measurable objectives, accountability and driving self-sufficiency.  His budget has three main components.  First is caring for the elderly and impoverished single mothers.  Second is subsidizing medication for those in dire need. Third is strengthening the micro-enterprise project that had been started last year.   The micro-enterprise effort would begin with a contract between LAMB and the recipient with very specific goals, objectives, and time frames.  David S. talked about charging 3% interest (vs. the 40% banks charge) so that the program can grow and so that the participants are integrating into the "real world."  This would not be charity but carefully managed loans.  This is the "teach them how to fish" approach that most of us appreciate.  David S. is a social worker and, therefore, very knowledgeable plus he knows the area and the people very well.  He is so passionate about breaking the cycle of poverty and dependency.

The Friday staff meeting was long, lively, and eye-opening.  This was a regular working session, not an annual reporting session.  LAMB has gotten so complex that it is important for the leaders to keep up to date on each part.  It was wonderful to see them question each other, challenge points, offer suggestions, and brainstorm together.  It was the embodiment of...collaborative leadership! 

I was particularly interested in the long brainstorming discussion about the future of El Cordero, the day school in Flor del Campo.  They are really in a quandary.  They want to provide scholarships to as many children as they can fit in the school BUT, and this is a big but, the monthly distributions from the US are uneven -- some months there isn't enough money to make budget.  They are moving towards having the school be self-sufficient but the local families can't afford even a $2.50/month tuition increase.  (Average monthly tuition is $40)  The anguish was palpable as they discussed the children who had been in the school for years and now must go to public school.  (Last year the public schools were open only 100 days due to strikes)  Furthermore, the teachers don't even make minimum wage ($300/month.)  This school is a bright haven in the midst of violence and extreme poverty.  It simply cannot close.  I urge each of you to participate in the 20/200 program and to invite others to as well.

Reunion in English means, "Woohoo! Great to see you again!" which is what happened on Saturday.  Two teams arrived -- one from Charleston with some old friends and new, the other my peeps from Atlanta including Wheeler!  Boy, was it great to see everyone, especially, Dan and Carolyn Powers and Don Baggett, both new to the LAMB family!  Today, Sunday, we had another glorious reunion at Cristo Redentor, the local Episcopal church where Wheeler served as LEM for 5 years.  Tears of joy sprung from Connie's eyes (the priest) when she saw him!  The congregation too welcomed him with open, loving arms.  I just love the services there.

Tomorrow we go out to SBV. I can't wait!

Jan and Carolyn show off the new banner!

Son Trask playing with Dunia and Seydi


The ATL team at Cristo Redentor

Wheeler, Connie, Luis

Special prayer before the benediction. 


"Go in peace to love and serve the Lord!"



Love to you all,
A.

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