Saturday, March 19, 2011

This was the week that was

(Anyone remember the show "TW3 - That Was The Week That Was" -- sort of an early version of the Daily Show?)

So, the St. Peter's team got their money's worth this week!  Just about everything happened while they were here.

A partial list:

  • Dropped off a team at the airport (2 separate trips)
  • Picked a team up at the airport (my third trip of the day)
  • Out to SBV to give the new team a tour
  • Church at the Chapel, lunch at a lovely restaurant,back to SBV so the team could do activities with the kids.
  • Brought 5 teens back to stay with us at Casa LAMB for the week.  (Julio, Xiomara, Wendy, Mirza, Paty)  They were getting up at 4am to catch a bus into town for school and a bus back, not getting back until 4pm.  They were exhausted so they came to stay with us until a better transportation system could be devised.
  • Welcomed Judy (our cook) in to recuperate from her surgery.
  • Sent team off to SBV, met a group of Westpoint Cadets who were working with us for 2 days.
  • Coordinated the work efforts for both groups.  
  • Evening was normal-ish - Dinner with 6 team members, Judy who was pretending not to work, 5 teens, Suzy's family, Leamarie and me.  Learned that Maribel, Lucy's birth mother, was mad at the daycare staff because her baby had gotten sick.  Maribel was threatening the staff because she held them responsible.  (Threats had ranged from murder to beating up.  Turns out in Flor you can hire a hit man for 50 lempiras or $2.50)
  • Back out to SBV for the morning then to Flor for a service project with Alonzo Movement kids, stopping first at La Colonia (grocery store) to buy cleaning supplies for the project.  Team members thoroughly enjoyed the grocery store!
  • Gave the team a tour of El Cordero while waiting for Gabriel.
  • Gabriel and 5 boys from the Alonzo Movement arrived and we jumped in the back of the pickup to go to Dona Francisca's house.  (Note:  this was my first time riding in the bed of a pickup truck!) Dona Francisca is Lucy's great-grandmother and it was her house where Wheeler discovered 4 day old Lucy.  It is in La Cantera, down a long, narrow, very steep and uneven staircase.  Dona F. is well into her 70s and suffers terribly from arthritis.  She has been unable to leave her house because she has been so ill.  She makes her living by finding discarded clothes, washing and repairing them, then selling them.  Her tiny hut (total living space is approximately 8'x10') was filled with bags and bags of clothes - filthy, mildewed, unsellable.   The pile of clothes was so high it obstructed the single window (square hole in the wood wall - no glass) in the hut.  She hadn't had any water (and I mean she literally had had NO water) for a week.  The few dishes she had were filthy in a bowl on a shelf.  The bedding was disgusting.   Don't misread this.  It isn't because she is slovenly.  She isn't.  She is a lovely, gracious woman.  When you are ill, have no water, and live in the midst of dirt and dust with a concrete floor, a tin roof, wood walls (single planks of wood) with spaces between them...well a hut can't help being filthy.  We managed to get all the bags of clothes up the steps and into the back of the truck.  They completely filled the bed of the truck up to the height of the top of the cab!  The team struggled up the steps for the first load and then we stayed up there to receive the bags and get them to the truck.  The Alonzo boys carried the rest of the bags along with Brad, team member.  Once the bags were out, we went back down to clean the hut as best we could.  We couldn't mop the floors or scrub the dishes because there was no water.  We did buy and leave a large number of bags of water for drinking.  We also talked to neighbors so that when the once-per-week water delivery truck comes, they would help Dona F. get a hose down to her allotted two barrels to fill up until the next week.  Maribel (7 mo. pregnant) and her baby Fernando (18 mos) live with Dona F. and were there too.  Imagine that life...  
  • Tuesday evening, Suzy returned home with Maribel and Fernando.  Maribel had asked Suzy to set up a meeting with the LAMB staff to discuss all the events related to Fernando's illness.  (He was truly extremely ill and Maribel was terrified he was going to die.)  They all calmly discussed what had happened and then Maribel apologized for the threats and asked for forgiveness!  She said that she wasn't a Christian like the rest of them and often can't control her emotions.  The LAMB staff also apologized for not handling the situation as well as they could have and asked her forgiveness.  After the meeting, Maribel told Suzy she wanted to accept Christ in her heart for real this time.  After dinner, all of us gathered in a circle holding hands as Suzy led Maribel in saying the sinner's prayer in which she confessed her sins and ended by giving her heart to Christ.  Suzy anointed her with oil and I offered the prayer.   I can't express how moving it was to witness one of the most lost lambs being found. Maribel and Fernando have been with us here at Casa LAMB since.
  • The team and I went back to Flor for the school children's weekly devotional.  The team was enthralled as 200 children sang enthusiastically, prayed hard, and laughed at a hilarious puppet show that reinforced the character trait of the week - responsibility.
  • Next was presentations by Gabriel (Micro-enterprise project and Alonzo Movement) and Jackie (El Cordero school.)  David Suazo (Safe House and Community Assistance Program) couldn't be there because they had just gotten another girl at the safe house and he needed to be there to help integrate her into the program.  The new girl who had just been rescued from sex trafficking is 11 years old.  Pause a moment to think about that.
  • After the presentations, Gabriel took us to visit 5 of the businesses that are part of the micro-enterprise program.  They are in his neighborhood so we met his mother, brother, cousins, and niece/nephews!   I think this tour will become a regular part of the Wednesday of team week.  It is spectacular to meet these women, go into their homes where their businesses are, and see how they run their businesses.  Naturally, we bought something from each of them.  My personal favorite product is the roasted cashews!  YUM!  On our way to one of the businesses, a nephew told Gabriel that his mother had invited us to lunch!  We filled Gabriel's mother's living room and snarfed down delicious chicken and rice that she made for us!  We were all so thrilled and honored to be invited into their home.  Gabriel's family is stellar like he is.
  • Next stops were Giancarlo's and Valley of the Angels.  A grand time was had by all and, yes, I am still buying stuff at Valley.  I can't NOT buy anything!  This time I bought things to decorate Casa LAMB (plus 4 lenca bowls for myself that I simply could not resist.  sigh)  Jose David, our driver, laughed at me everytime I brought something back to the van.
  • The team took off on their own to SBV and I went into Flor for a meeting with David and Evelyn.  The purpose of the meeting was to discuss hiring Mari (Suzy's daughter) to be my assistant because they feel I need some help and so I could spend more time on things like strategic planning, providing advice and guidance on the migration from their current accounting system to a new, web-based system, and helping make contacts and networking in Honduras.  I am very excited about helping the leadership team develop a strategic plan - the first one ever!  After the best papusa lunch I have had here, David, Evelyn and I took off to buy some furniture for Casa LAMB.  On the way to Valley of the Angels is a roadside furniture stand!  They sell beautiful, hand carved cypress-wood furniture stained with shoe polish!  A really beautiful dining room table is about $150!  We also bought a table for the foyer for $50!  I can't wait for the dining room tables (2) to be delivered.
  • The team came back to Casa LAMB with big news...  Brad proposed to Millie in the chapel, complete with gorgeous diamond ring made from her great-grandmother's diamond!  Big celebration!  We rushed out to the store to buy cake and faux champagne!  We ran into David and Evelyn and invited them to the party.
  • Later that evening, Fernando was getting sicker and sicker with a high fever.  Suzy, Evelyn, Maribel, and I took Fernando to the Pediatric Emergency Room (private.)   He had an ear and throat infection, chest congestion, and a very high white blood count.   A trip to the farmacia and back home again very late.
  • The team went back out to SBV for their last day and I took all the kids to Chiminike, an awesome children's museum.  I bought snacks for all 10 of us - 9 ice creams,  1 soft drink, 1 bottle of water all for about $7!
  • Suzy and Maribel took Fernando back to the doctor.  They got all new prescriptions.  Fernando is underweight for his age so the doctor also gave diet instructions.  After dinner, Suzy and Maribel went to the farmacia to get the meds.  Fernando stayed home in my care.  He screamed bloody murder the entire time they were gone - about an hour!  I walked round and round with him...grandmother practice.  When they finally got home, we had to give him lots of medicine.  I was wielding the medicine dropper as Suzy and Maribel held him steady.  He was NOT amused by all this.  I figured after all that, he would never let me get close again.  But, not to worry, as he was headed off to bed, he waved and let me kiss him!  Woohoo!
  • The team headed home this afternoon after a lunch at KFC!  (Yes, I mean Kentucky Fried Chicken!)
  • The teens headed back to SBV.
  • Leamarie and I are looking forward to a quiet evening.
So, that was the week that was.  Just about everything happened this week from wonderful to terrible and everything in between.  I would say it is unusual but it sorta is and sorta isn't.  Those specific things don't happen every week of course but, so far, something unexpected happens just about every week.  One has to be flexible here!  I am super tired right now but I love being here as much as ever.  Just the semitas alone are enough to compensate for any tough times.  (Semitas are the most delicious sweet rolls here.) Please keep all of us in your prayers.  You will find plenty to pray for in the content above.  Two particular things to add to your prayer list:  Maribel and Fernando - health, wisdom, and support.  Also, please add Bruce Cross, an Atlanta team member, who was just diagnosed with lung cancer.
Thanks for your love, prayers, and support.  As we say in the south, "Y'all come see us, y'hear?"

The team ready to go!

Walking down to Dona Francisco's house

Bags of clothes in the hut

Alonzo kids carrying up bags of clothes
The cleaning crew

Maribel and Dona Francisca
Tortilla business
Cleaning up
Roasting nuts in converted propane tank

Gabriel and family

The gang at Chiminike
Wendy, Julio, Lucy and me in the web!