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Showing posts from 2011

Signs of the Season

It's been a while since I've seen something like this...

and when I got EMM's Christmas Card in my email I noticed some familiar faces. Click on the link and see if you can name all of the Laureles-related folk bringing you International Yuletide Cheer.
Eastern Mennonite Missions' Christmas Greeting

Another Laureles Happening

So the other day I told Girlfriend that I needed some photos from Laureles so that I could update the blog. Yesterday the youth from the Mennonite Church trekked out to Los Laureles to have Bible School with the little children there; apparently it was an impressive Bible School because she emailed me the following this morning:
In the Spanish-speaking countries the tradition of Christmas gifts is somtheing that is mainly represented and linked to the Child Jesus and The Wise Men - Santa is known and growing in popularity but tradition says that gifts come from the former. Curiously though in this past week's Bible lesson not one child mentioned the Child Jesus and much less, The Wise Men when I asked them about Christmas and our reasons for celebrating it.

Some of their responses were as follows:
- Christmas is for setting off fireworks and rockets (very good observation) - Christmas means that the fairy godparents bring gifts to the children. ("fairy godparents"? Do they m…

Dispatches From Afar

Some of you may have been wondering why my posts have been so few and far between these past few weeks, and in that October, November and December tend to be some of my most prolific months in terms of blog posts, your wonderment would be well-placed. Well that's because I've been here:
in the rolling mountains and valleys of Central Pennsylvania  hunting wild animals to survive the Winter
Ok, not exactly.
Since just before Thanksgiving I've been in Pennsylvania and I expect to be here at least until the end of January. A month ago Eastern Mennonite Missions, my home congregation and I began talking about the future, about the work in Los Laureles thus far and about how to best serve the community there while at the same time being the best stewards of the resources entrusted to us that we can. It was decided upon by all of us that it would be best that I take a short sabbatical for a time of rest, renewal and discernment for the future direction of our work in Los Laureles. T…

After A While You Can't Even Tell It's A Landfill

3 Birthdays in 1 Family

This week the family of Marta is celebrating birthdays 3 times over. First there was Elvin on Sunday turning 9. Then Dariana today turned 7. Finally Carlos, also known as Chihua, turns 16 tomorrow. We celebrated with cake.
I know I've said it before but I love this family. They're in constant motion, in their play, in their work, in their squabbling - they're like balls of energy colliding. You never know what you might find when you visit Marta's. This family truly loves each other. I like that.
Girlfriend came to celebrate too. I coaxed her with promises of cake. She cannot resist cake.

Or me.

Carlos Turns 12

one of the nicest, politest kids i know love this one. 

Pray for Manuel

it's not as bad as it looks?
I'd like to think that but I'm not sure. It all began about two weeks ago when he collided with another player on the soccer field. It left him with a sizable knot on his leg that left him in a lot of pain. He's been back working on the garbage trucks for the past month and apparently about a week ago as he was working some garbagey something sliced into his leg right where the soccer injury was. The knot began to grow and ache and while I was gone on an EMM Central American Retreat, someone had the bright idea to cut the knot open. All manner of puss and blood oozed out and this is what we've been dealing with ever since. I have him on antibiotics (amoxycillin) but I'd really like to get in there and scrub this out with iodine and alcohol. I have none though even if I did I doubt he'd let me. Pray though, with his leg like his he can't work on the garbage trucks and we don't want the infection to spread.

To Be Like Children:

Around the world today childhood is under constant threat from poverty and Honduras is no exception. According to the United Nations’ foundation for childhood (UNICEF), there are 500 million children around the world that live in poverty or, which is practically the same, live without basic necessities. This means that they live without basics such as proper food, housing, schools, clothing, medical attention, toys, etc.
The children of the community of Los Laureles are a fine example of what is happening to children all around the world. Here we find children without a roof or food and where a primary education has become a luxury, let alone a high school education.

I present you with Juan Carlos, better known as “Chinito”, a boy of approximately 8 years of age (an age that I calculate for the maturity of his mind). His mother, wracked by a certain class of schizophrenia, has left him not only without a safe roof to live under but also without proper nutrition and medical care. Chinito…

Something Different

I've come to believe that there are two ways of viewing the community of Los Laureles, and poverty-stricken communities more generally (there may be more but thus far I've discovered two). The first way, the most common way, is pity. We see heart-wrenching poverty, disastrously broken lives and seeming hopelessness and the first thing we feel is pity, a sadness, even a feeling of helplessness. Pity's natural, it's a valid emotion, a first response that moves us to reach out and help. I know I felt pity for Los Laureles when I first visited here; I felt pity for La Carpio, a very similar, ghetto-like community on the outskirts of San Jose, Costa Rica, when I first encountered it. Both times I was struck with what my eyes were beholding; the homes built out of scrap metal and wood, half-naked toddlers running through dirt streets, the smells of garbage, black water and decay around every corner, the obvious tooth-and-nail struggle that these families daily live through j…

Taking Flight

Samir from the dead hang
 a slight swing
 going vertical
 impressive samir, impressive
marta is pleased with her nephew's performance as we all are 

My First Guest Blogger

cesar "playing" the guitar
Some of you may remember that a few months back one of my favortie serial-visitors made his way down to spend a few days with me and to reconnect with some of the kids he had gotten to know here last year. I wrote about it briefy here in fact. In that post I had asked if he might be interested in offering his own perspective on both his time here and of Los Laureles more generally. I didn't think he'd take me up on the offer as he's a Senior in high school this year and busy with college admissions essays. I underestimated Mr. Jamie Moon and this evening via email, this is what he sent me:

I arrived in San Pedro for the second time, excited to see Matt, the kids and his newer home in Los Laureles. The first time I arrived was at the same time of year last August; that was a great opportunity to see Matt’s Central American life, as well as fulfill a school-required service project. I got a glimpse into a completely new culture, and was f…

Perro Loco

hanging out with my dawg

An Inter-Menno Debate...About Honduras?

Ok, so those of you that know me well, know of my deep and abiding love for all things Mennonite. From the culture, to the theology, to the hymn singing, to the recycling of tin foil; I think we've pretty much got this Bride of Christ thing locked down. It should come as no surprise then that I belong to an online forum called MennoDiscuss which as they describe it is "A place where Mennonites (and others) can gather to discuss...". The three dots I imagine are a clue as to the open-endedness of possible topics of conversation; which pretty much is the case. There have been topics as disparate as "Amish in Israel" to "How Anabaptist are Mennonites?" to "Nonresistance & Malpractice" to "How Long Does It Take You To Sew A Capedress?" to "Iced Mint Tea". The forum tends to be populated by Mennonites from the more conservative and plainer churches and was actually started by a man from the Beachy Amish Church but there a …

Duke is 15

duke turned 15 yesterday. we celebrated by sharing a bible study together. each day i love this kid a bit more.

Inauspiciousness Is What We Do Best

It was a rather anticlimactic end to a highly successful season for our beloved U-14 team. At the end of the regular season we were seeded in 3rd place out of 11 teams and thus qualified for the pentaganol tournament to determine the league champion. We tied our first game and then won our second two games and going into the final game this past Saturday we were in first place (point-wise) out of the top 5 teams. This last game though was against the best team (talent-wise) in the league; one we had lost to 4-0 in the regular season and the team that had taken first place in regular season play. Because of our point standings if we had just been able to manage a tie we would have forced an extra game, a true final as it were. But we fell apart, in the most inauspicious way imaginable. We scored first, Chamu, who hadn't scored much all season gave us our first and only goal. This of ccourse got us excited, we could taste victory, another game, a chance at glory. Then Duke, our center defe…

Kaká Turns 12

One of the nicest and quietist boys in Laureles celebrated his birthday last week. I had to apprise him of this situation because neither he nor anyone that lives with him knew that his birthday was upon us. In typical Kaká fashion he just glanced at me and smiled. After inviting him out he disappeared into his home so that he could change into his nice "going out" clothes. Once in the taxi he informed me that he didn't want a cake but a slushy from the mall. Thrifty me was happy to oblige. I hadn't seen him since we went out last week when he showed up at my window this evening to chat. Man I love this kid.

Saturday Mornings With The Eby's

saturdays have become odd as of late. most of life has really.

saturdays used to be spent doing things like this:
but because of an 8 month soccer season where the majority of our games are played on saturdays, we really don't have a lot of time for much else.

so these past few months most of our saturdays, when not on the soccer field, have looked like this:

but then came those eby's. they began filling a void that had taken root saturday mornings. for the past month and a half now the eby's have been coming out saturday mornings to hang out on my porch and play games with the kids.
they've been teaching the kids uno and other card games. the kids are expert dutch blitz players but seem to be too bashful to show off their talents. 
 andrew teaching the boys
  LaRee teeaching the girls
neighbor boy (is it bad that i don't know his name?) looking on