Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Random thoughts and facts about the Manuelito Project

Over the coming weeks, we will share more about the project, our thoughts about it and about how we feel about the place, the mission and the kids. If you'd like to be alerted, you can sign up for email updates on the sidebar.

Overall we had a fantastic week at the Project. Although several of the team did get sick, we do believe that we were in the center of spiritual warfare. When you are doing great things for God, letting Him lead you, you can be sure that the enemy will try his best to sway you or stop you. But we didn't allow doubt to creep in and we had prepared ourselves spiritually in advance for something that would stop our work. After a night of praying over the sick members, I was really sure that we were doing God's work and we continued on!

A little more about the place. This is not an orphanage in the traditional sense of the word; it is more of a children's home. Most of the children do have at least one living parent, but due to abuse, neglect or homelessness the children found themselves either in Child Protective Services or the Project. CPS in Honduras is not a place a child would want to be. More on that another time!

The Project is on a plot of land around 40 to 50 acres, some farmed, some with animals. It is fenced in with a security gate and guard for protection. There are several buildings: boys and girls dorms, a school, a kitchen and dining hall, the new team building with office/ mini store for t-shirts and new clinic (not yet open), the director's house and the house of Justin & Ashley - the US missionaries.

The kids share the soccer field

The school has concrete floors and barred windows but they have no glass. Wind and rain can enter the windows. There is a high metal roof, but the side walls of the classrooms have no ceiling so there is noise from room to room. They have a small library. The kids are mostly keen to learn, but many have learning disabilities or behavior problems due to emotional or physical need. Although we had raised money for a new ceiling, the recent decision was made to put the money into a new school which will break ground in their next dry season.

While we were there we saw much activity. School runs from 7am with devotionals until 1pm. Although the project is home to 37 kids (max 40) it also educates another 23 from the poorest homes in town. The town kids eat breakfast and lunch there. After school they do homework and school projects, wash their clothes in the outdoor concrete pilas, take dance lessons from a local boy who visits or play soccer or other games. 
The boys are more outgoing. This seems to be cultural: boys get introduced first, get served dinner first. They are the leaders.

Washing dishes after dinner

Kids will turn anything into a playground!
Climbing on the back at every opportunity

In addition to kid activity, there was labor going on the new clinic, some farming, grass cutting. This is done by hand with machetes. Sand was delivered for cement by ox and cart, though bricks came by truck. The land is flat but filled with hidden holes and ditches. The kids seem to know exactly where to walk. Unsuspecting visitors can find themselves up to their knee in a hole.

As visitors from advanced countries, we may scratch our heads at some things. Some Hondurans prefer a machete over a lawnmower. Time is not important. I didn't see a clock for 7 days. Their ways are not ours, and while some ways could certainly be improved, other elements where preferable. I began to like not knowing the time. A conversation & developing relationship was more important than being on time to the next event. While I may not want to give up the courtesy of being on time, the lesson that relationships are more important than anything else is a lesson not to be missed.

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