Saturday, May 22, 2010

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Brief report to update CHE

The last week of April, I completed training with 3 men that will help me do community awareness and training. Our first assignment was to visit a community call Fontina. There is a church, from Canada, that wants to partner with that community in doing school clinic and primary health care. We have taken two visits to Fontina to do community assessment. There is good potential there for development and community health training. The church is the center of community. Population is about 3000 people and covers over 5 square miles. The area school is run by the local Wesleyan church partnering with Compassion International and has 257 students. There is no clinic in the area and the hospital it over an hour away so preventative medicine is greatly needed. They already have a community counsel, this coupled with the fact that they seem to be a motivated farming community, causes us to believe that we could have good success starting our program here. One of the first problems is that they have two wells that have good water but both hand pumps are broken. Deep Water Wesleyan church is interested in fixing them but we must first establish local ownership of the wells and develop a way to collect funds for future repair. The soil is good in this valley and there is real potential for Ag business /micro-enterprise.

We also have traveled west down the coast via speed boat to find access to the village docks. We are looking for easy and affordable ways to get medical teams to coastal villages to the west. We plan to go east to look for access to docks and do some community assessments within the next week.

Tuesday we are going to a community meeting for the Saline Church to explore CHE on the Saline. One possible project is "back yard" raised gardens. One of the problems on the Saline is that you get high tides and standing water after rains that is brackish or salty. So by creating raised beds on a base of rocks we can keep the salty water out. There are lots of plastic bottles around that we will collect and cut in half and lay out flat on the rocks. Then we will overlap them creating a semi permeable barrier to hold soil and moisture. Topsoil will then be put on top and seeds or plants planted. We will the cover with a palm branch shelter for those plants that need shade. There is also need for health education and micro enterprise. Of course all of the projects are to be community lead.

Pray for us this week as we present to the Saline community and also to Fontina the vision of Community Health Evangelism. We need them to see this as a community lead project and not some rich outsider who is going to feed everyone and make everyone happy. This is the first requirement for us to begin work in these areas. Also, on Saturday we have 30-40 people coming to a CHE training on Soil and Composting. I’m not an export on this but I’m the teacher so pray that I will have wisdom and the ability to present this information in a way that will make it easy to understand and embrace.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mothers Day

It was probably the most unusual Mother's day that I have had. We started out by going to church and then came home and packed to go out on the boat. With plans to leave by 11:00 we were on our way around noon. First we went south to the next village down the coast. We were greeted by several teens and children. We learned that the village has a school building but not teachers. There is a teacher that lives there but travels into the town we live in to teach so that she can help support her family. I don't know if the numbers are right, but the story is there are 200 children in the village and surrounding hill that don't have a school. They have a water system which gets turned on every afternoon for a few hours to make sure there is enough water for the next day. Yet, it was a orderly, clean little community. We met the pastor of the Wesleyan church there and have plans to go there for service sometime in the near future. I was afraid to ask, but found out church is from 6am until 11am.... quite sure sitting that long will be beyond me. Glad I have Maddie as an excuse to have to go outside some.

Then we headed north to see how long it would take to get to the village of La Souse. We drove there a couple of weekends ago and it took nearly 4 hours going under 10mph most of the way over extremely bumpy roads. So we were pleasantly surprised when 45 minuets later we were flying by it.... OK so that is the part that troubled me, the flying by part. This was the plan. Time how long it would take to get to the village by boat for future teams to do a medical clinic and then stop for lunch and some snorkeling. But we didn't stop... Lowell was having way to much fun flying in the speed boat. After several hand motions and confused looks, he stopped and asked our guide how long to get to the end of the Island. With a mixture of laughs and moans we persuaded him to turn around and let us eat!! We explored a new reef and saw several flounder, sea slugs, jelly fish, star fish, sand dollars and a rainbow of beautiful tropical fish. Cassie and I paddled around in circles an inflatable kayak (with plans to get to Cuba but we don't know why) and laughed at our lack of coordination.

We returned home tired and sore and happy. What make it a strange Mothers Day? It wasn't until we were getting ready for bed and Cassie hopped on to Facebook and saw all the mothers day posts that we realized it was mothers day... She said the traditional "Happy Mother's Day" but what made it happy was just being with her and laughing and exploring and living my life. The cherry on top was when just as Maddie fell asleep she looked at me and said, "Your my Mommy and I love you"