February 2007 Mission Trip
This February's group made up of Judy Toner, Laura Metzler, Doug Young, David and son Javi Makepeace, Dick DeNise, Joe Grazmick and Mike, Mike Jr and Ethan Pellittiere. Thanks to great organization and leadership on the part of our in-country coordinator, Yovany Munguía, we hit the ground running.
Our goals were three fold: to construct the first of five rooms which will make up our "Centro Básico" or grade 7-9 school, to close in and secure the bedrooms of the clinic for the comfort and security of future groups and to continue our effort in changing roofs from wood and palm to metal thereby removing the threat of Chagas disease. Furthermore, we hoped to continue stove and latrine construction.
We made great strides in all areas thanks to an energetic and positive group and encouragement and financial support from NY/HELP statewide, the members of the Honeoye UCC, the United Church of Warsaw, the Binghamton UCC, students of Salamanca and Livonia Schools and Rotary Clubs in Livonia and Salamanca.
1. The school room will be finished in April. Four walls were constructed in February and the materials and labor to finished were arranged by the February group.
2. The clinic restoration and construction work is finished.
3. We changed three and ½ roofs and arranged for 8 more to be done in groups of 4 with before and after pictures.
4. We initiated a Kindergarten in La Laguna and arranged for a teacher.
5. We visited our boarding house and arranged support for the 4 students who remain.
An Excitement in the Air
We are feeling an excitement in the air about NY/HELP and our work in the Yoro region of Honduras. Rotary Clubs, churches and individuals state wide are coming to our aid due in large part to approval of our model for fighting poverty in the world, our miniscule administrative costs compared to many organizations and our 18 year history of work in the 10 villages that make up our area. We are even beginning to export our model by supporting the work of our environmental arm, Sustainable Harvest International, in the nearby communities of Subirana with a 1200.00 dollar grant with which we will be adopting one of the communities.
For the first time in years we have a second trip in August headed by Dr. Gordon Comstock. If you have ever thought about participating in an adventure or if you are interesting in supporting the work of an organization which delivers an extremely high percentage of its support to the people who actually need it, join the effort now. The train is leaving the station. Get on board!
Reflections on NY/HELP Honduras
After eighteen years NY Help is still going strong. We have made some mistakes but we have also had some major successes such as building the clinic and staffing it with local nurses; bringing a baby back from death=s door by purchasing a lactating goat to replace the non lactating mother; taking sick or injured people of all ages to the hospital in Yoro or El Progreso; getting involved with education above the sixth grade level by providing scholarships and a boarding house in Yoro for the better students; continually working to improve the health and education of the approximately 3,200 people in the villages on the reservation.
After Hurricane Mitch, we hooked up with Sustainable Harvest International to help the villagers learn better ways to keep the land producing varied and adequate crops. Hopefully this will raise their standard of living. We have also introduced fish ponds and chicken coops for more nutrition choices. We have improved health by building new stoves that use less wood and venting the smoke outside, building new latrines to curb the spread of disease and putting on tin roofs to keep the parasitic heart disease down to a minimum.
In the last three years we have done more personal outreach from La Laguna to the other villages. Small groups of two or three have gone to other villages to work on latrines, roofs and fences around the schools. We are truly walking a few miles in their shoes.
This year our group started a new school building for grades 7 9 in one village, put on three house roofs and did some maintenance and security upgrades on the clinic.
The villagers and the helpers are getting more excited about these projects and others in New York are getting more interested in going on this mission. This makes those of us who have been working on the projects for years realize how worthwhile our continuing support of the mission has been and keeps us excited about the possibilities for future growth.