MEDICAL - Sylvia Marcantel, retired RN from Lake Charles, LA, met me in Honduras in March. She taught a ten hour first aid course to ten people from five different remote villages. They were equipped with basic first aid supplies and a handbook in Spanish. We also had domestic kits in gallon zip lock bags for them to distribute to families in their villages. This was the first exposure to training and supplies for these remote residents. It was well received and their training was put into practice right away. We also had two midwife kits that were left with people already functioning in that capacity, but without any training or supplies! Another trip is planned with Sylvia in August this year for follow-up and replenishment of kits.
These courses are the first level of health care in our three- tiered plan. Our second level is to complete the clinic we have started in Camalotillo, a town of about 800 residents, which is within a one hour walk of ten villages. The walls are about half completed. We need approximately $30,000.00 to finish the building. We have commitments to help equip the facility when it is finished. We are presently seeking a certified Honduran nurse to serve in a temporary facility. The salary will be $4500.00 annually. A consistent supply of basic medicine has been promised by the government there, through our medical advisor, Dr. Martin Williams. He serves as director of another remote clinic about six hours away.
The third tier in our health care plan is the use of a government run hospital in the city of Yoro, about two hours away by car. We now own a 4x4 truck to help transport patients. This hospital needs updated equipment which we hope to help with in the future. We will be able to use facilities there for visiting American surgeons.
This spring we began a children's vaccination program in rural villages. Using our donated 4x4 truck we visited eight areas in need of those services. Honduran health care officials went with us and provided the medicines needed, keeping all records and providing direction for the program. Over 150 preschool children were given vaccines for ten different diseases. Principio provides the transportation for the workers and also travels to the locations two days prior to advise the residents. Fuel and administrative costs are about $100.00 per trip. This is a service welcomed by the parents of these children who have debilitating sicknesses. All of this serves our goal of using 80% of our resources for training and prevention.
EDUCATION - The elementary school that we built at Rancho Quemado is going great. It was named "Escuela Perla", in honor of my mother, Pearl Airhart. Esther Suazo is doing a great job with the students. She greatly appreciates this first-class facility, remembering that just three years ago she was writing in the dirt with a stick in order to teach reading and math. Principio sponsors this school and two others in neighboring villages. The government now pays the teacher in each location and we provide all the books and materials needed. We also pay the salary of an assistant and buy beans and corn from local farmers for the children's lunches.
Land on which to construct a building has been donated in the other two villages. The government will pay half the cost for the school in Ojustal. We need about $18,000.00,of which $1000.00 has been given. When funds are available we will begin construction. The workers are local residents and will benefit from the wages and the training.
Adult education is progressing as well. Two of our assistant teachers have completed their GED, and are now helping others do the same. Scholarships from caring people here in the U.S. have enabled one young lady, Dalila, to begin law school. She had wanted to become a teacher but had no means to attend college. When she went to enroll, an assessment test was given. She did so well that the counselor suggested a degree in business and law. She has completed one year with honors. Dalila wants to serve her people and the mission in legal matters in the future. Another young single parent mom, Amanda, is being sponsored in nursing school. It is exciting to know these are only the beginning of many to be helped in the future!
CHURCHES - The work of God's kingdom cannot progress without meaningful communities of faith! Establishing and strengthening local churches are centerpieces of our ministry. The new church in Mirajoco is almost complete, lacking only shutters and doors. Pablo, the pastor, is a local farmer who is enrolled in our pastor's course. He is doing an excellent job in that village. His church is the center for spiritual and physical help. We have built two churches and several other needed structures in four villages. Fifteen pastors and leaders are enrolled in our leadership training course. Some bibles have been purchased for distribution, one per family. There is always a need for more copies of God's word. We could effectively use about 200 bibles per year at a cost of about $6.00 each. We are working with the local pastors to determine the location of the next church planting effort.
HOMES - We are completing the fourth and fifth homes in our "Homes for Hondurans" project. Principio provides money for the structural wood, roof metal and concrete floors for needy families, who make mud bricks and do all the construction work. This has been a great blessing to these families. Ten qualified families are making adobes and are waiting for funding. The cost is about $3500.00 per house.
PERSONAL - God, in His grace, has given me a tremendous partner in ministry. On April 1st Cherry Junkins and I were married. We live in Birmingham, Alabama where we co-pastor the River church Birmingham. I preach weekly and teach in the Birmingham School of Ministry, which is a ministry of the church. Cherry and I have two trips planned later this year to help continue the work in Honduras. My time is divided between teaching here and overseeing the mission work there.
Thank you very much for your prayers and support! www.principio.org PRINCIPIO PO Box 515 Moody, Al 35004 (337-304-1115)