Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Tanzania: Trip Reports Posted

The donor newsletter for the Tanzania bedkit distribution has gone to print and can be downloaded from the Sleeping Children Website.
Tanzania 2010 Photos
Photos are available in the Tanzania 2010 Photo Album. You can view them by clicking the link above.
If you would like to read the reports on the web, you can read them in their entirety here.
Here is a download link for the PDF version of the newsletter.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Honduras: Distribution complete

From Honduras 2010 Photos
Yesterday, the last of the 5,000 bedkits were distributed. Threats of a tropical storm had almost suspended the distribution, but we ran with our luck and managed a successful day once again. Umbrellas were in sight as children were shepherded from station to station by the volunteers before receiving their bedkits. Soldiers in camouflage ponchos quickly guided and escorted the children onto waiting busses for safe journeys home. Fortunately, the weather forecast was worse than the reality of the storm here in Tegucigalpa. And the bright smiles of happy children shone brightened and lightened the atmosphere.

The constant torrential rains have decimated the hillsides, flooded homes, and made some roads impassable. Crops have been destroyed. One cannot fully describe the conditions in which these poor children live. Mother Nature has added considerable more hardship to their families.

We leave with some hope that our gifts of bedkits will alleviate some of the suffering. We have not been able to touch all of the children in need, but we do know that many of them know that someone in Canada loves them.

Irene Harrison
For Team Honduras 2010

Post your comments here.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Honduras: Rain and Hurricane Matthew

From Honduras 2010 Photos
We finished our 8th day of bedkit distributions to over 600 children. Unfortunately we saw a lot of deaf and physically- and mentally-challenged in this inner-city school site.

But today we had lots of help from not only Rotary Club members and their families and friends, but also from about a dozen dentistry students. They looked sharp and brightened the distribution, threatened with dark clouds and rain, in their white lab coats.

Only one more day left, but a hurricane is expected at midnight.

Stay tuned.

Rae Waring
For Team Honduras 2010

Post your comments here.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Honduras: House visit

From Honduras 2010 Photos
What an immensely informative and emotionally mind boggling day.

Today our team, along with some Rotarians, went to visit some of the houses of the children receiving the bedkits. When we first showed up to the area being visited we saw what looked like a respectable brick home. After this sight, I thought, "This won't be that bad."

We all got out of our vehicles and were told that the house we were visiting was in from the road and not the brick one. As we walked along the barbed-wire fence I noticed that my smiles were being returned in a different way than in the city. As we entered the dirt-floored houses, not only were they very small (12 x 16), but they also had a brutal angle with a stream of water going through the middle. No plumbing and one ceiling light.

The families, mostly female, were happy with the love they have for each other as they do not have a choice with their surroundings. It's very gratifying to know that the bedkits distributed are being put to good use in these distressing conditions.

Greg Hotchkiss
For Team Honduras 2010

Post your comments here.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Honduras: Difficult times

From Honduras 2010 Photos
It is the rainy season here in Tegucigalpa. Daily thunder showers are the norm, sometimes accompanied by brisk winds. This combination wreaks havoc: bridges collapse, mudslides make roads impassable, and homes of those already in dire straits are rendered unlivable. Even the national football stadium could not withstand a sudden, but short, gale the other day and a part of it collapsed.

But the hand of fate has been very gentle and kind to us and carried us through all our distributions successfully. We manage to finish our work just as the rains begin and both children and volunteers are spared a total drenching. Finding a spot to take pictures has sometimes been troublesome as the grounds are wet and walking is hampered by sinking ground beneath our feet.

From Honduras 2010 Photos
But the euphoria that carries us from day to day as we help in providing some comfort for the children of Honduras can not be dampened. We know we have touched the lives of many children -- over 3500 to date -- bringing much comfort and ensuring them a good night's sleep. It touches us deeply to see their broad smiles when they realize that the entire bedkit is theirs.

Mothers seem to deem the mosquito net and blanket as particularly important; the children, also recognize the value of these items, but sometimes express great delight to have a pillow - a real treat.

From Honduras 2010 Photos
We have had tremendous support from the Rotarians of Tegucigalpa, their wives and many young Rotaracts. The entire project is also supported by the First Lady's Office and many volunteers under her auspices attend each distribution. We are particularly grateful for Miguel, deemed an honorary member of our team, who assists us at the photo site. He has an ability
to work with children, allay their anxieties and bring assurance particularly to those who are disabled, blind, or upset. Without him, our work would be much more difficult.

On the way home from the last distribution, we heard a song whose lyrics repeated the phrase "we belong here." The presence of SCAW and its commitment to help the children of Honduras is particularly important at a time when the poor have lost their crops, sometimes their homes, due to the heavy rains.

And, indeed, we do belong here.

Irene Harrison
For Team Honduras 2010

Post your comments here.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Honduras: Making a difference

From Honduras 2010 Photos
Today's distribution took place at a school in one of the very poorest sections of Tegucigalpa.

In Tegucigalpa 70% of the population live below the poverty level. The typical home in this area is made of any combination of available materials such as wood, aluminum, stone, and plaster. Most frightening is that the houses are built on the side of very steep hills where heavy rains during the six-month-long rainy season pose a constant danger.

The children were brought to the school in military buses and trucks. Military security was obvious to everyone outside and inside the school. I spent an hour or so interviewing three mothers and a grandmother of children receiving the bedkits. From their perspective the most important items in the kit were the mosquito net and the mattress. Only one of the families had a mosquito net in their house and it was used exclusively for a baby.

It was very humbling talking to these folks and I began to understand how SCAW is making a difference in the lives of these families.

Jim Gibson
For Team Honduras 2010

Post your comments here.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Honduras: First time distribution

From Honduras 2010 Photos
I am having an amazing experience here in Honduras! It's my first time on a distribution and it's really been incredible. So far we've distributed over 1700 bedkits in three different schools in the capital city, and in the outlying countryside. I've had so much fun playing catch with the children while they waited in line to get their picture taken, as well as seeing their faces light up when I've handed them their bedkit. They're really sweet children and when they smile at you and say "gracias", it's such a gratifying feeling!

The Rotary Club here has been great to work with. On Friday we had a special opportunity to attend a meeting they arranged with The First Lady of Honduras at the Presidential Palace. Through her translator she expressed great appreciation for all that SCAW has done to help the children of Honduras. Their was a lengthy discussion on the desperate need for mosquito nets and the issue of Dengue fever which has killed 69 people so far and made numerous others very ill. As there isn't a vaccination yet to prevent this, the nets are essential. Every bedkit we're handing out includes a treated mosquito net so this trip alone will result in over 5000 children being protected.

It's very rewarding being part of making such a difference in a child's life and seeing Murray Dryden's dream continue. Seeing it all first hand makes me have an even deeper respect for this amazing charity! Can't wait to see the kids again and give out more bedkits!

Susan Hicks
For Team Honduras 2010

Post your comments here.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Honduras: Our first distribution

From Honduras Photos
"Hola, Canada," from Team Honduras 2010.

We finished our first day of distribution quite early. We were situated in the central court of a School for the Blind in mid-town Tegucigalpa. The students were on holiday for a week and home visiting their families. Thus the school was empty but for the children bussed to the distribution from neighbouring barrios.

We photographed 523 gorgeous kids and enjoyed every minute.

My memory for the day was the interaction of the soldiers who will be present at each distribution with the little children. There they were with their camouflage jumpsuits and strapped on holster guns -- but they had the kindest faces and gentlest ways as they helped the little ones carry their bedkits to the busses. I will remember this contrast and this love.

Tomorrow we are back to work for Day 2.

Marilyn Waring,
For Team Honduras 2010

Post your comments here.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Honduras: The team has arrived

From Honduras Photos
The team has now all arrived [Left to right: Jim Gibson, Irene Harrison (Team Leader), Marilyn Waring, Susan Hicks, Greg Hotchkiss, Rae Waring.] amidst the colour and celebrations of Honduras' Independence Day and national holiday. Along with the official parade and festivities held at the huge, local football stadium in Tegucigalpa, a parade of thousands marched in colourful garb, waving flags and slogans of every political persuasion and self-interest group through the streets to the city centre. 'Twas a colourful initiation for those of us who watched the action right outside our hotel.

Tomorrow a more sombre day awaits us as we see the reality of poverty in Honduras. But it will be an equally joyous day when we witness the beautiful smiles of hundreds of children receiving bedkits. For the children of Honduras, thank you friends and donors for making it a very special day for so many.

Irene Harrison,
For SCAW Team Honduras 2010

Post your comments here.

Honduras: Post your comments here

As a courtesy, please include your name at the end of your comment or click on Select profile ... and fill in your name by selecting Name/URL. You don't have to fill in the URL but if you like you can put "www.scaw.org" there.