Saturday, 30 September 2006

Honduras: Photo Album 6

Honduras: Last Tegucigalpa Distribution

Good Day,

Today was our last distribution in Tegucigalpa. Tomorrow we are off to El Zamarano to finish off the last of our 5000 bedkits.

Our distribution today was at the Reino Paises Bajos School in Tegucigalpa where we delivered 766 bedkits, 40 singles and 726 groups. Considering the large number we finished relatively quickly and were done by noon. All those happy children make what we do very worthwhile.

After a quick lunch we went off to a short presentation about the Healthy Schools Program (Programa Escuelas Saludables). All the team members were presented a certificate of gratitude from the First Lady of Honduras for our support of the program for the girls and boys of Honduras.

We went back to the hotel and relaxed a bit and went to dinner at Charlotte's Restaurant across the road. This has become one of our favourite eating spots while in Honduras.

We then got together for a team meeting to discuss different aspects of the 2006 Honduras distribution. This will be presented to the Rotary members on Sunday in order to improve the service that we join in together to make the children happy.

Harry from Barrie
Reporting from Tegucigalpa, Honduras

Friday, 29 September 2006

Honduras: Photo Album 5

Honduras: José S Azcona Hoyo School

Good Evening,

We had an excellent distribution today at the José S. Azcona Hoyo School in Tegucigalpa. All the pictures were groups, so it went a lot quicker. It started sputtering as we were setting up, so we decided to set up in one of the classrooms. It never really did rain, just a few sputters, but we did all are pictures indoors.

We started shortly after 9 AM and we were done by noon. We had lunch provided by the Rotarians at the distribution site and then headed back to the hotel. Some of us went shopping at 2 PM at a multi plaza mall. It was so much like the malls back home -- including the prices. This is not what we had hoped for. We wanted some local products and souvenirs to bring back home with us, not things that we could as easily buy back home. Oh Well!

On Saturday, on our way back from El Zamarano, we are supposed to stop by the Valley of Angels which has all sorts of tourist artifacts for sale.

The distributions are getting to be second nature now and by the time we head home we will be very proficient at it.

This evening was down time for most of us just sitting around relaxing and watching TV for the most part.

Harry from Barrie
Reporting from Tegucigalpa, Honduras

Thursday, 28 September 2006

Honduras: Photo Album 4

Honduras: Oswaldo Lopez Aurellano School

Good Day All,

Another successful distribution has been completed. This time we were at the Oswaldo Lopez Aurellano School in Tegucigalpa. Things went smoothly. We started at 9 AM and we were finished by 1:15 PM.

The team is getting quite used to their positions now and things are speeding up. We rotate positions every day.

The positions are:
  • Children Line-Up
  • Label Puller and Initialler
  • Stamper & Take Children to Label Counter
  • Label Counter
  • Handing out bedkits

And, of course, the Team Leader takes the photographs. Meanwhile, Dave Dryden is interviewing mothers of the bedkit recipients to find out which items are most important in the bedkit.

On our return to the hotel after the distribution, Jenny, Elaine and I went for a walk to do a bit of shopping. There are armed guards and policia everywhere in this city. It is a bit overwelming at times.

Tonight we were invited to the Rotary Club Meeting. At the meeting Laurie-Beth gave a brief talk about the SCAW team and how much we appreciated the Rotary help during our distributions. Then Rae Waring (pictured at left) gave a small talk about his involvement with the Tegucigalpa Rotary Club today and 15 years ago. Dave Dryden then got up and gave a presentation on Sleeping Children Around the World. He had assistance earlier in the day to translate his presentation into Spanish and to put in some pictures from the 2005 Honduras distribution. He was able to give the presentation with the assistance of a translator.

After this the Tegucigalpa Rotary Club presented us with an award for our excellent collaboration in their Sleeping Children Around the World project.

After a very late dinner we thanked them and headed back to the hotel for some much deserved rest.

Harry from Barrie
Reporting live from Tegucigalpa, Honduras

Wednesday, 27 September 2006

Honduras: United Nations School

Hello All,

Today we distributed 619 bedkits at a United Nations School in Tegucigalpa. The drive up to the distribution site was very steep and uphill for quite a distance. There were a few frazzled nerves during the ascent and descent.

Once again the children were there and waiting for us when we arrived at about 8:30 AM so we hurried to set up and were taking pictures by 9 AM.

The gratitude of the children is readily apparent in their smiles and muchos gracias.

We finished the distribution around 1:30 PM and then headed off to visit some homes of bedkit recipients before we went on to the hotel. We visited two families and in both cases were quite touched by how little they have and how they sleep in such cramped quarters. There are photos of our visit in Photo Album 3 below.

The first house was a single mother with six children and they lived in a small one-room apartment about 12 feet by 12 feet. At night they would lay down the mattresses on the cement floor for three of the children and the others would sleep with the mother on the bed.

The second family lived in a similar aprtment that was slightly bigger: a mother and four children. Again the poverty was quite evident. What an eye opener and how we are so well off in Canada.

We have reached our half way point and are really eager to continue handing out bedkits. What an experience and what a learning experience. The warmth in our hearts in being able to help some children have a better night's sleep makes this trip so worthwhile.

Harry from Barrie
Reporting live from Tegucigalpa, Honduras

Tuesday, 26 September 2006

Honduras: Photo Album 3

Honduras: Desarollo

Buenos Dias,

Well, another early start and another distribution. This time we stayed in the city but went to Desarollo on the outskirts of Tegucigalpa. We had 744 bedkits to distribute in one location for five different schools. Things got off to a slow start but sped up as time went on. We started shortly after 9 AM and we were done shortly after 2 PM. All went well. We then had a bite to eat which was provided by the wives of the Rotarians. We had a chance to chat a bit with all those that had helped out with the distribution and got to know each other a bit more.

We then were off to the hotel to freshen up. At 6:30 PM we met in the lobby and went out for supper at a reataurant across the street. We are certainly eating well.

The others are playing cards tonight while I am writing this report. I think most of us will be off to bed early tonight. Once tomorrow's distribution is finished we will be at the half way point.

Until the next email,

Harry from Barrie
Reporting live from Tegucigalpa, Honduras

Monday, 25 September 2006

Honduras: Photo Album 2

Honduras: Manzaragua and Guinope

Good Day,

I haven't been able to get an internet connection in the past two days. We have been on the road and have now just returned to Tegucigalpa. We completed two distributions, one in Manzaragua and another in Guinope.

We left Friday morning for El Zamarano which is an Agricultural University about 45 minutes from Tegucigalpa. We stayed there in the student living quarters (Hotel). We were given a tour of the facilities and told about this unique form of education. The students actually work in all facets of agriculture and produce products which are sold locally and in some cases internationally. Their products are sold under the name of Zamerano and include items like jalepino sauce, hot sauce and ketchup.

Jenny is shown to the right at our first distribution on Saturday morning. It was in Manzaragua, located about one hour from El Zamarano on dirt roads full of potholes and ruts from the heavy rains. The road was uphill for a few thousand feet. We handed out 393 bed kits, had lunch, and then were off to Guinope which is back in the direction of El Zamarano but forking off in another direction. It took about 45 minutes to get there on more rough and bumpy roads. We set up and gave out 384 bed kits and were on our way back to El Zamarano.

Sunday morning we went back off to Guinope to hand out bedkits again but this time in groups. This was a bit quicker process and we gave out 733 bedkits. It is always a wonderful sight to see the joy and excitement in the children's faces. It is a huge gift for them and they are extremely grateful. The members of the Rotary club and others involved in helping out certainly make our job a lot easier and it could not be done without them.

This afternoon we headed back to Tegucigalpa and checked back into the hotel we were in the first night we got here, the Honduras Maya. Tomorrow we are starting distributions in the city and surroundings and will be doing so until next Saturday.

I will send another report tomorrow.

Harry from Barrie
Reporting from Tegucigalpa, Honduras

Saturday, 23 September 2006

Honduras: Photo Album 1

Honduras: SCAW Team Has Arrived

Hello All,

We just got into Honduras today. Here are some pictures. We had a great day. It started at 1 AM for me. I had to get up and get transportation to the airport at 2 AM. There I met up with the other people travelling: seven of us including Dave Dryden.

We left Toronto at 6:30 AM and arrived in Houston at about 9:30 AM (all times Toronto time). We left there about 10:30 AM and arrived in Tegucigalpa at around Noon.

The Tegucigalpa Rotarians met us at the airport and we proceeded to our hotel to freshen up. We walked around a bit in the afternoon and then tried setting up the bedkits the Rotarians had left for us -- getting ready for our distributions.

At 6:30 PM the Rotarians picked us up for supper and we had quite a feast.

Tomorrow we are off to an agricultural college about an hour and a half from Tegucigalpa where we will start our distributions on Saturday and Sunday.

I will get an email out again whenever I can.

Harry from Barrie
Reporting from Tegucigalpa, Honduras

Thursday, 7 September 2006

Tanzania: The Last Distribution for 2006

We woke up this morning to the realization that this was our last distribution in Tanzania for 2006.

There were mixed feelings in our group. We were happy because by the end of the day a total of six thousand Tanzanian children will have received some much needed help for themselves and their families. We were also sad because it was our last distribution and we would soon be going home. The day began later than usual as we would be in the Vigina Cultural Centre in Dar es Salaam so did not have far to drive.

The children who are to receive bedkits today included albino children, some severely physically handicapped children, children who have HIV/AIDS or have lost their parents to the AIDS virus, some blind children, and some who are just needy.

The day started slowly and progressed slowly as the children came in small groups from different schools. We had some breaks when there were no children available. Apparently some of them were writing examinations which had to be completed. This was our longest distribution as it was not completed until 3:15 PM.

The weather was very hot and we were in the sun when the distribution was going on. The temperature in the sun was probably as hot as 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

We were all very tired and worn out when we were finished. What should be a celebration was a bit of a letdown. There was no power when we reached our apartment but we all sat down and had a cold drink, (nobody opened the refrigerator while we were away}. After a cool to cold shower we decided to go out to eat. By that time we are somewhat refreshed and had a good time and talked about all our experiences.

It has been a wonderful experience working with Tom and all the other friends that I have lived and worked with during the past two weeks. I think we have made a very good team and worked together well.

Helen Ruth Brown,
SCAW 2006 Tanzania Travelling Team

Wednesday, 6 September 2006

Tanzania: SCAW in Mjimwema

Three new items were included in our itinerary. There were the ferry, photographs of multiple groups of children, and a visit to the Canadian Embassy.

Today our team leader, Tom Belton, drove our van on to the main floor of the ferry “Sea Breeze” around 6 AM. We all stayed in the van as passengers stood to the right and in front of us. On our left was a jeep with six men in uniform with “Tanzania” stitched on to the lapels. Within a few minutes we were on our way across the harbour. The ferry was large enough to hold about one thousand passengers on the main level. The ride was smooth and slow. We reached our destination in about 15 minutes.

For the first time, we arrived at our distribution site before the truck which transported the bedkits. Therefore, we took extra time to find the most suitable location for the bedkit display. We discovered a lovely view of the Indian Ocean behind the school. Unfortunately, we could not use that area for the display because there were many trees and not enough open space. A suitable location was found and soon we were ready to say "Yako" as the children were given their bedkits. Tom played a soccer game with a few students while others gathered around to watch with delight, before the school bell rang.

The team members were eager to experience how the photographs of multiple groups of children would work. We completed the sets of threes at about 10:35 AM, then took about one-half-hour break to change the bedkit display and talk with the parents who had assembled to watch the distribution. In the previous distributions, there were ten children in each group photograph, whereas today, threre were two groups with nine children in the photograph, one group with eight, fourteen with six, seven with eleven, one with thirteen, and seven with ten. It was more challenging to organize the children but the team members all worked together to finish the task in record time.

Although we were sweaty, grubby and unkept we headed to the Canadian Embassy. We were going to meet with Mrs Jennifer Wood, the First Scretary (Senior Trade Commissioner). We were delighted! Mrs. Wood was very pleasant and seemed genuinely interested in our organization and what we were doing in Tanzania. She give us good wishes and took photos with us.

Just before we left the embassy, there was a peacock proudly stepping around around the parking area. This was symbolic of the pride we felt: to be Canadians and to have made a difference in the lives of 600 children today.

Grace Wood,
SCAW 2006 Tanzania Travelling Team