Monday, February 23, 2009

Kelly Rae

I won! I won! I won!

Since I don't have the internet, I was slow to find out that I won a giveaway sponsored on Kelly Rae's Blog.

I hope I wasn't too late getting back to her! As soon as I receive the gifts I will post them for all to see!!

Until then please check out Kelly Rae's blog and etsy shop, you will love what you see! This is one of the many things she's created.

Hands In Service Projects Part 3

Hands In Service helped a woman named Nelly realize her dream of opening a school for the disabled. She accepts students that the other schools won't. Her students are mostly deaf or have Downs Syndrome.

Nelly fell out of a tree when she was twelve and became a paraplegic, and her school wouldn't take her back since she was in a wheel chair.

In 1997, Nelly and her husband Nelson had opened a school in her home, and she realized she needed more space to teach all of the students. In 2005 Hands In Service started building classrooms and dorms for the school. Today, the school is named CasAyuda, which translates to 'helping house".

This is a picture of one of our team members Eric in the blue, Suzanne, Nelson, Michelle, and Nelly in the front.

Nelly has different class rooms for different subjects. The goal of CasAyuda is to provide the students with life skills that they are capable of doing that will make them money.

This is their cosmetology room, where the deaf girls learn to cut and style hair.

They also sell their paintings and pottery.

This was the first project that Suzanne worked on. She helped build these dorms for the girls who attend the school. Nelly gets a lot of students from the hills and other places that are quite a ways away since this is the only school in Honduras that accepts challenged students. Since the students come from so far away Nelly allows them to stay in the dorms free of charge and she also feeds them for the week for free. A lot of the students can't afford to pay the tuition, so Nelly charges them on a pay scale depending what they are able to pay, and parents of other students who are able to help out, will always give more than their share of tuition to help the others.

While we were visiting the school, we had a light rain, and a double rainbow formed over the school, it was pretty cool.
You can also the building on the left in this picture is under construction. They are adding a second floor. The entire school continues to grow. It gives hope to many families in Honduras.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Hands In Service Projects Part 2

Sorry for the delay in blogging. I have gotten a little tired of going through all of the Honduras pictures, but I will keep plugging on. I would like to have all of the posts complete on the blog, it will be nice to have it all together I think.
The second place we went to see was the Nutrition Center in El Rosario. Suzanne, who was on the trip with us, helped build the Nutrition Center so she was excited to see the progress.

This is the outside of the center. This was built so that the kids in the town would have food to eat during the day, this is kind of like a school cafeteria.

These are a few pictures from inside the center. All of the appliances were donated. I am not sure how many people utilize the center, but it isn't very big. There are two stoves and ovens though, and they said they get used a lot.

This is just the common gathering space.

It was nice to see that the facility is being used and is being well taken care of.

While we were in El Rosario, we met up with Manuel. He is a boy that Suzanne met and became friends with while she was working on the center a few years back. Manuel was nice enough to bring us to his house and take a couple of pictures.

This is Suzanne in their kitchen. You can see what they use as their stove behind Suzanne. It is that metal trash can and it is difficult to see but there is a pan on top of the can. They burn a fire in the can, by looking at the charred wall, a fire or two got away from them.
These are all of the people living in the house. You can see the bed to the right, the kitchen is through a door to the left and there is a small room behind the people in the picture and that is it. I believe there is only one bed for all of those people.
I will try to post more often, I have a few more things to show you!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Living On Food Stamps

I read every day at work, and I came upon this article about a CNN correspondent who decided to try living on food stamps since so many Americans now have to turn to food stamps to make ends meet.

Sean Callebs decided to document his experience while living on food stamps. As a quick over view, Sean has agreed to live on $176 for food for the month of February. He has also been in contact with the Food Stamp program to see what services they offer to help people spend and budget wisely, he discusses how Obama's stimulus plan would support the program and what I find most intriguing is that he discusses parts of emails that people who live on food stamps send him. The real life stories show you just how important government help is. One of the stories he blogged about today was this one.
"Kendra, is in part why we began working on these stories. She writes that she was a business executive that graduated with a 3.9 gpa. But once her company went under in this economy she couldn't find work and is now on food stamps.
Kendra says food stamps are "more dignifying" than having to go to a food pantry. She says "the latter is incredibly embarrassing and shameful for me." My heart goes out to her."
I particularly like that he has compassion for these people and in turn helps me to better understand the need of so many.
If you are interested in reading his blog you can click here.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Hands In Service Projects Part 1

While we were in Honduras our group was able to see and tour most of the other projects that Hands In Service built. The only project that we were unable to see was the houses that were built for the grandmas in the mountains.

The first place we went to was the orphanage. This orphanage was started by Wayne Merz and his wife Char. The founded Hands In Service, and Wayne was with us on the trip. When they first started the orphanage, Hands In Service was known as All God's Children. All God's Children is still an organization but Wayne and Char don't do anything with that group anymore, they are self sufficient and help run the orphanage.
We went to the girls orphanage, the boys work on a farm, we were unable to go see that one. We walked to Church with the girls in the orphanage. They girls are very well taken care of, they have their own clothes, they are clean, they seem happy, they are just very deprived of attention, affection and love. There are 300 girls housed at the orphanage, and it is nearly impossible for the workers to have one-on-one time with each girl. The girls are not shy and they literally run up to you and swarm you and grab on to you and hold your hand and lay on you. This was a little hard for me because I'm not great with kids and I like my space. But the girls were sweet.
This was a mural that was painted on the side of a garage. Sammi, one of the girls at the orphanage took this picture. I think this picture was important for these girls.

This is the building with the beds in it.

This is a girl on her bed. She wanted her picture taken on her bed because that is the only thing that is just hers. They don't have toys or books or anything that is just theirs. She was proud of her space.

These were the girls that came running to me. They are both 11 years old. The girl on the left with her face covered is Suma, she really did want her picture taken, then changed her mind. The girl on the right is Sammi. Sammi was very good with my camera. She took a lot of pictures, and I didn't have to show her how. She even knew how to delete a picture! I was amazed!
Suma took this picture of her friend taking a picture. The thought it was hilarious! They were funny to watch with the cameras. I was scared I wasn't going to get mine back for a second!

Sammi took this picture of Suma in front of their flower garden.

I would not like the chore of doing laundry!

I didn't get all of the pictures I wanted to here because the girls were having fun with the camera, so I just let them take it over for the day! It was an eye opening experience to see all of these kids just craving attention. We stopped at a couple of other Hands In Service past projects, I will post about them soon!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Clothes and Toys Distribution

Back to Honduras.

While our main purpose in Honduras was to build a day care center for the village of Independencia, we also made a couple of other stops to hand out used clothing and used toys to different villages and the Children's Hospital in Comayagua. Here are some pictures of those stops.

First we went to a town in the mountains called Las Uvas which translates as The Grapes. We saw no grapes. The truck ride to Las Uvas was crazy! Rocky, windy roads on the edge of the mountain.

This shows the other two truck loads of our group on our way up the road, if you look on the top right corner of the picture you can see the road continuing up the mountain, it was close to straight up.

This shows the beauty of the mountains but also how high up we were in comparison to the other mountains. My ears popped the whole way up.

We made it to Las Uvas, and it didn't take long for a crowd to form. We didn't tell the people at Las Uvas that we were coming because last time they were told a group was coming, the group's truck got hijacked and they took everything. I thought we had a good turn out and this was about all the people we could handle.

My dad liked this picture, he figured that little girl better hold on to her toy tightly, otherwise the other two would swoop in and grab it! Don't worry though, they all got toys and clothes.

This little girl was adorable, but look how dirty her face and legs and feet are. I don't believe any of the kids had shoes up there. You can see the moms wore flip flops though.

We started our way back down the mountain and stopped at one more place before finishing our decent.
This was the 'water plant' those two concrete domes with the white x on them is the water reserve. I'm not sure how that spot got chosen or why, but that was it...I don't think it was full very often.
Again, it didn't take long for a crowd to form.

On another day before work, we stopped out at the brick factory. I will blog more about the bricks later, it was quite a process. But for now I will just blog about the give away and show the kids.
I know all of the pictures look the same, but I thought it was so fun that the crowds of people just came. It's not like they have phones to just call each other up and let everyone know what was happening. I didn't even see any homes near by the brick place.

Suzanne also brought along her Polaroid camera and took pictures of the kids and family pictures because none of these people have any family pictures because they don't have cameras and wouldn't be able to develop the film. Suzanne took her camera to Las Uvas too. People were thrilled with the pictures, we had fun with that.

We also had a day at the work site where the women who are running the day care center handed out rice mixed with milk, cinnamon, sugar and raisins. We also took Polaroids during this since everyone in the village was out.

We also stopped at the Children's Hospital on our last day before work. Don't worry, I didn't take many pictures here!! I felt kind of bad taking pictures of the sick and injured kids. We just handed out stuffed animals at the hospital. The hospital is a little different than ours. When you bring you child to the hospital, there needs to be a caregiver there at all times to take care of the child. The hospital provides the medicine and the beds, but he caregiver/family must provide the food and blankets and bathe the kids and feed the kids. So the parents were there at all times, leaving the rest of the children at home, usually unsupervised.

I'm not sure what was wrong with the baby in the top pictures, I think he had some sort of problem with his eating. The boy in the bottom picture had some sort of furniture dropped on his foot and I believe he lost a toe.

It was amazing to see how happy just a stuffed animal made these kids. I was worried I was going to be really sad to see how these people had to live but everyone seemed happy and it was a very joyful and rewarding experience.