Sunday, 25 August 2019

Honduras 2019: Success, Smiles and Good-Byes

Today we completed our goal of giving out 7,000 bed kits and backpacks to 7,000 very happy children. 

The children headed home eager to see what was in their backpack and bed kit.

It was a beautiful school because the wives of the Rotary Club members here had put in some lovely gardens, washrooms, a kitchen, a playground and an extra classroom. They also built a cement wall around the whole area and had the rooms brightly painted.

One donation was for 50 bed kits. Debbie photographed them in 2 groups on the stairs, which were also donated by the Rotarian wives.


We had a surprise visit from some stilt walkers who came to entertain us.

The Rotaracts outdid themselves and because it was a Saturday we had extra help from them. Today was especially fun because we all wore pyjamas. 

We were sad to have to say goodbye to the generous and friendly people we had become friends with over the last two weeks.

Carol Maranda
Team Honduras 2019

Saturday, 24 August 2019

Honduras, 2019: Day 11: Generous Donors, Happy Children

Each night our team gathers to review the labels that will be in the photos the next day. We read the messages from each of the donors and it  never fails to make us smile. We  know that each label represents the gift of a bedkit for the child.  

We see the labels from our friends and our families, we see the labels for the birth of a child, and for the passing of another.  We see milestone celebrations - 50th anniversaries, a loved daughter turning 21, a dear friend hitting 60.  Some are markers of special events, fundraisers within communities and schools.  

This trip had many donations from corporate donors as well as from super-organized donors who were already purchasing bedkits for Christmas presents!  

One of our favourites this year read simply "Just because the world is a good place". 

After 11 wonderful days of working with the children here in Honduras, we agree wholeheartedly!

Debbie Will-Dryden
Team Honduras 2019

Friday, 23 August 2019

Honduras 2019: Day 10: The Children Give Back

Every day of our distribution we are greeted by the children, the teachers and the community with smiles and gratitude.  

At the schools the students and teachers have treated us to dance and song performances. We see them rehearsing, we see their excitement and a bit of nervousness, and then we see them perform. 

It is a treat to see the children shine and we know it is their way of giving back and giving thanks for the bedkit gifts they have just received. At today's school they had even created a backdrop on the stage with a message of thanks to Sleeping Children along with a Canadian flag.

As we wind down our work here with 6000 children now cosy with their new bedkits, we are wishing time would slow.  With only 2 more days with the kids we will savour each smile!

Debbie Will-Dryden
Team Honduras 2019

Thursday, 22 August 2019

Honduras, 2019: Day 9, Recognition of Our Wonderful Overseas Partners

We just finished day 9 of our 2019 Sleeping Children Around the World bedkit distribution in  a rural community outside of Tegucigalpa and I’m pleased to say that another 500 children are getting a “Better Night’s Sleep” in this developing country.  

To date, we have distributed 5,500 bedkits and with 3 days to go we are extremely pleased to be on track to complete a new country record of 7,000 bedkits.  So far, the distribution has run extremely well and our overseas volunteers, the Rotary Club of Tegucigalpa and the Rotaracts have been excellent partners.

We had an opportunity to attend the weekly Rotary, where Debbie Will-Dryden provided an overview of Sleeping Children Around the World and the Rotarians had an opportunity to share their experiences with SCAW over the years.  After 18 years of working together over 90,000 children have benefitted from our collaborative efforts.

Key contributors to this year’s bedkit distribution were recognized and the SCAW team was thanked by the Rotarians for their efforts and the way in which we interacted with the children.  

It was a wonderful evening and our partnership together was further enhanced.  We are truly blessed to have such a wonderful overseas partner.

Sieg Will
Team Honduras 2019

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Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Honduras 2019: The knock-on effect of donors' generosity

One day, en route back from our distribution, the Team paid an interesting visit in La Paz, Comayagua to see where the white tee shirts and navy shorts were sewn for our 2019 distribution in Honduras.

This small-scale cottage industry has grown as a result of SCAW orders over the years. The owner, who was first able to buy herself one sewing machine, now owns 8 modern machines and is able to give employment to 20 families, many of which include single moms.

Here is the owner of this enterprise

The Team watched in fascination a demonstration of a pre-cut tee shirt actually being made, (using no pins)!! 

The process took a total of 3 minutes and 45 seconds from start to final completion. At the same time another lady was making a pair of shorts. Both articles were well made, using good quality material.

The employees are paid 250 Lempira (0.041Lempira to 1 US dollar) each day for 200 tee shirts and 5 Lempiras for each pair of shorts.

It took a total of 2 months, 5 days to complete the SCAW order of 7000 shorts and tees for the bed kits. It is wonderful that 20 local families also had employment -- a side benefit that results from the generosity of our donors. It's a win/win situation for the children and this cottage industry.

Joy Squire-Smith
Team Honduras 2019

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Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Honduras 2019: Who are the Rotaracts?

Rotaracts are a group of young men and women between the ages of 18 and 31. There are 20 clubs of Rotaracts in Honduras, eight of which are in the capital city of Tegucigalpa. These young people have a strong commitment to social justice and work on projects to better their communities and the environment.

The Rotaracts have been a tremendous support to us with the daily bedkit distributions. They help with the final assembly of the backpacks, stage the children for their pictures, help with the bedkit distribution, entertain the children, move equipment, and so much more.

They are a delight to work with and we are so grateful that they are here to support SCAW and the children of Honduras.

Sue Simpson
Team Honduras 2019

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Monday, 19 August 2019

Honduras 2019: A chance to see our impact

Today we had the opportunity to visit four homes where the bedkits were received last year.
It was heartbreaking to see how these families lived. Nevertheless, we were greeted by warmhearted and thankful people.

This school was a distribution site. Many of the children have to be bussed to the site from remote areas. It could be up to a 3½-hour bus ride to get there for some of the children. Old buses from Canada have made their way to Tagucigalpa, the capital city where we are staying.

The crowding in some of the homes was horrendous. One home had 14 people living in a 2-room house. Their small kitchen was outside. While we were there, we observed one of the daughters cooking chicken over a wood-fired stove. This family had a rabbit, a dog and an avocado tree.

We saw a corrugated home that used cardboard to divide up the few rooms.

At one home we visited, the family had to roll up the bedkit every morning in order to have room on the floor.

One of the single mothers worked cleaning the school and taking in laundry. We saw laundry hanging everywhere in all the homes. Of course, it was all done by hand.

Dengue fever is a problem here and I only saw a few mosquito nets, which were probably obtained from the bedkits. Because the windows were covered only by curtains or a metal grill, the mosquitos had easy access.

I found the pride demonstrated by these families to be very impressive. For instance, school pictures of their children were proudly displayed on the walls. 

The older children helped with the younger ones and everyone was wearing clean clothes.

This little guy was the receiver of a bedkit. He was one of the 14 who lived in this small space.

Carol Maranda
Team Honduras 2019

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Sunday, 18 August 2019

Honduras 2019: Another day of smiles

Day 6 of distribution saw our team on the road again at 6:45 am. We travelled for about an hour and a half from the hotel to the distribution site in Lejamani.

As we approached the school, it was an amazing sight to see hundreds of happy, smiling children eager to receive their backpacks and bedkits.

Members of the Rotary and Rotaract clubs helped us set up and provided assistance in organizing the children, to ensure that the correct children received their bedkits.

After set-up was completed, the children were put in groups of one to ten to have their pictures taken. They then received their backpacks and bedkits, as well as the drinks and treats provided by the power corporation.

As always, it was an amazing sight to see the excitement in the children after they received their bedkits and exited the school grounds to meet their waiting parents.

Connie Beaton
Team Honduras 2019

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Saturday, 17 August 2019

Honduras 2019: Day 5 of distribution

Today we were again on our way at 6:45 for another adventure. Once again, along the road families were greeting and thanking us, and we received spontaneous hugs from the children. The school where today's distribution took place was built by the parents in the village, which demonstrates how important education is to them.

When we first arrived, we set about working on stringing the backpacks and moving them and the bedkits to the best spots to distribute them.

The distribution process worked like this:

  • First, the children received a t-shirt and shorts. 
  • Next, they had their pictures taken. If a donor had bought ten bedkits, a group of ten children would be photographed together for the donor’s photo.
  • The next stop was exciting, because each child received a backpack filled with school supplies and books.
  • Now for the important part: a bedkit with everything they would need for a good night's sleep, including a mosquito net.
  • Before leaving, each child was given healthy snacks and a drink box to add to their backpack.

Now, happily carrying their new possessions, the children made their way to the gate, which was guarded, to meet up with their moms or dads.

When all was over, we walked back to the van through the now almost-empty streets with a lot of wonderful memories.

Sleep well

Simon Maranda 
Team Honduras 2019

Friday, 16 August 2019

Honduras 2019: Excited and gracious children

Today we were on the road by 6:45, heading to our next distribution site in the country.
After turning up a steep, rough road leading up to the school, our van was surrounded by excited families waving to us with big smiles on their faces. So many people!

When we exited the van we were greeted with lots of hugs.

This distribution went exceptionally well. The help from the Honduran volunteers made a big difference.

The children were wonderful. I was impressed by how caring they were of each other, especially with any of their friends who were disadvantaged in some way. Many of the older kids had learned to say a few words in English, including “thank you”.

When we were finished the distribution, the once-crowded school looked deserted.

This little boy couldn’t wait.

Carol Maranda
Team Honduras 2019

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Thursday, 15 August 2019

Honduras 2019: A Special Gift

Today found us distributing another 600 bedkits in a small community on the outskirts of Tegucigalpa.

It was an especially difficult but meaningful day for me, as I got to photograph and interview 14 beautiful children who received bedkits in memory of a sweetheart of a girl named Olivia. She loved children and supported Sleeping Children. Her parents donated the bedkits in memory of her.

After telling them Olivia's story via a translator, I asked them a series of questions. The last question I asked the children (all 6 and 7 years old) was, is there anything you would like to say to Olivia's parents? Here are some of their responses:

“she was beautiful”
“she was very pretty”
“I would have liked to play with her”
“tell them we will say a prayer for her”

Thankfully, I was not needed out in the open to help with the distribution. I volunteered myself to go help move bedkits where I was alone and had time to gather myself.

Sweet dreams, children

Clarence Deyoung
Team Honduras 2019

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Team Honduras: Day 2 of distribution

Day 2 had our Team on the road at 6:30 am, as our distribution site was outside the capital city of Tegucigalpa, in the Amarateca Valley. Here, the farmers grow onions, corn, guava and mangoes.

Our first task upon arrival was threading straps for the 600 children’s backpacks! Luckily, we had the help of our wonderful Rotaracts!

The Rotaracts are part of our overseas partners, the Rotary Club of Tegucigalpa.

The school we were at today was built with the assistance of a Honduran benefactor and the government. There have been additions over the years, as the original building was destroyed by Hurricane Mitch in 1998. When we arrived, one of the classrooms was full of the mattresses waiting for our distribution. 

At the end of the day, another 600 Honduran children went home with smiles on their faces and their arms full of their new bedkits.

Thank you to our generous donors!

Joy Squire-Smith
Team Honduras 2019

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Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Honduras 2019: A joyous beginning

Today was our first day getting to meet the kids – all 600 bubbly, giggly, excited little girls and boys who bounced their way into the schoolyard where we were working. They charmed us with their smiles and their manners, their thank-yous and hugs. At every step our Canadian and Honduras teams mirrored the joy on the faces of the kids.

It was great to look around the schoolyard and see the adults high-fiving the kids, playing puppets with them, talking and smiling, and just having a great day all together. And it was even better seeing the smiles on each of the kids’ faces as the backpack was put on their back, and they carried their cozy new mattress out the school gates to their family waiting outside.

It really was "teamwork makes the dream work" in action! We are looking forward to traveling outside the city tomorrow and meeting another 600 terrific kids! 

Debbie Will-Dryden
Team Honduras 2019

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