Alabama Honduras Medical Educational Network
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Friday, April 29, 2011

AHMEN-SIFAT Initiative 2.0

The world needs you, your church family, and your social network to work with me on a project. There is potential for direct social and economic progress for 20 young Honduran women, and you are crucial to its realization.

AHMEN and SIFAT have been working together for over three years with a long-term goal of setting up a Latin American SIFAT campus in Honduras.  Servants In Faith And Technology, or SIFAT, works to train individuals from all around the 2/3 world with the skills their communities need to live sustainably decent lives.

To this end,  Byron Morales of SIFAT has been working in areas with an AHMEN presence in Honduras during the last two years to train community health promoters. His “students” will graduate from their first year of the three-year program this fall. As they begin their second year of training, others will begin their first year, and new workshops will pop up all over the country in the near future. An important thing to remember, however, is that Byron is not Superman. Although we all think he is pretty super, everyone deserves assistance! This is why Kathy Bryson of SIFAT has said it is time for Byron's "cream of the crop" to undergo the intensive, 10-week SIFAT Practicum in Alabama to learn to be his future assistants. SIFAT Practicum graduates will re-enter the program in the fall as Byron's specialized assistants. This next step in the AHMEN-SIFAT Initiative will only make our efforts that much more effective, and Byron has already identified a very unique individual I pray that you will help me sponsor through donations and prayer.


Maria Suyapa Turcios Sanchez works with Shalom, a shelter for at-risk women in La Ceiba, Honduras. Shalom is co-sponsored by AHMEN and Cruzadas del Evangelio, and Suyapa has selflessly worked as the “dorm mother” for our at-risk sisters for just under a decade. Through her continual love and nurturing, Suyapa has helped lead these young ladies into careers as educators, health professionals, and missionaries. AHMEN missionary, Kristy Wynn, is one of Suyapa's closest contacts and says “If anyone deserves a chance to get a leg up in this world, it is Suyapa.” What is really special, though, is that Suyapa will not use her training for her own benefit but for that of her community. This is a “WIN-WIN” situation we can't afford to lose!

Shalom out for an afternoon of recreation

Kathy Bryson and Tom Corson, of SIFAT have agreed to shape Suyapa's training to her specific partnership with AHMEN and Cruzadas del Evangelio of Honduras and her specific needs as an inner-city missionary. Upon her return Suyapa will not only serve as a leader to her community, she will also help her community to learn to live as united, strong, mobile women of the 21st Century. Whereas most AHMEN missions involve operations in rural areas, Suyapa will serve as a metropolitan contact for the AHMEN-SIFAT Initiative. Leadership training in reproducible agricultural, business, and educational practices will give Shalom the next liberative step in sustainability it deserves to make a difference in young women's lives.

What we need to make this happen:

Sister Eleanor's Blessing
          -With S. Eleanor's blessing, Suyapa will have the confidence and support she needs to be successful in a foreign environment
          -With S. Eleanor's blessing Cruzadas will be united behind Suyapa's success in the program
          -With S. Eleanor's blessing, God will take care of the rest


-We MUST begin this process NOW
-Let's divide the cost of this project into manageable parts for different individuals/groups to sponsor (plane ticket, visa/passport, tuition)

A Community of Prayer

-Include this project in your daily prayers
-Share this message with your Sunday School class and Church Family
-Invite Suyapa to stay at your home and attend your church when she is here
-Pray that Suyapa can find a temporary replacement as kind as she is

You know the plan; now let's get started!

Please comment on this post and contact the following folks by email with questions, comments, and suggestions:

Michael Franklin – frankmj42@gmail.com
Dr. Tom Camp – llamacamp@gmail.com
Mary and Hugh Guffey - hjguffey@earthlink.net

Check out Dr. Camp's blog for info on Byron's other pick for the 2011 SIFAT Practicum!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Michael's Missions Musings: Honeybees in Honduras

Michael's Missions Musings: Honeybees in Honduras: "Calling All Beekeepers!AHMEN would like to begin exploring the possibility of working with Heifer International, COAPIHL, and SIFAT to encou..."

Honeybees in Honduras

Calling All Beekeepers!
AHMEN would like to begin exploring the possibility of working with Heifer International, COAPIHL, and SIFAT to encourage beekeeping throughout Honduras!

Why Honeybees?

Honeybees are important pollinators. For many Hondurans it is the dream of a lifetime to own a small plot of land, or Milpa, to grow corn and other crops for subsistence and sale. SIFAT skill sets such as irrigation, soil conversation, and composting will help provide Hondurans with the knowledge to make their farming practices sustainable. In order for their crops to flourish, however, their must be an energetic and consistent stream of pollination. Unlike other pollinators like birds and bats who interact with plants mainly for their nectar, honeybees actively seek out flowers with pollen. 

Trained beekeepers and their communities have a mutualistic relationship with their hives. As an offshoot to helping farmers sustainably increase crop yields, and generally foster environmental homeostasis, bees produce honey, wax, and propolis (natural bee glue) for beekeepers to bring to market. In return, beekeepers provide a safe and nurturing environment for bee colonies to live and thrive. In terms of economic, environmental, and societal impacts, beekeeping is a practice I don't think Hondurans, much less any group of people, can afford to live without. Conducive to city, island, and rural life this is one avenue AHMEN has to consider.

Why Heifer International? What is COAPIHL?

As you might know, Heifer International is a non-profit organization working to end world hunger and poverty through practical training in self-reliance and sustainable development. Through a system of “living loans”, donations from people all around the globe go to providing families with cows, horses, sheep, goats, and yes, even beehives! In return, these families agree to provide other families and communities with training and one of their animal's young. Heifer International is already in Honduras, and they are already involved in the beekeeping movement with a country-wide beekeeping cooperative called COAPIHL.


In Spanish, COAPIHL stands for La Cooperativa Agropecuaria ApĂ­cola Pionera de Honduras Limitada. In English, COAPIHL means The Agricultural Beekeeping Cooperative of Honduras...you get the picture. The concept is the same as a co-op here in the United States. Agricultural producers pool their resources to maximize productivity and yield in a way that is affordable and sensitive to each producer's individual needs. Co-ops work best when everyone succeeds, and with this goal in mind, COAPIHL is committed to helping communities increase socioeconomic standing by opening markets for beekeepers both across the nation and abroad. As an environmentally appropriate and necessary practice, Heifer Works with COAPIHL to train families as beekeepers and provide them with the necessary hives and equipment to enter the market.

What does SIFAT have to do with honeybees?

Central to SIFAT's mission is helping communities learn to use organic techniques to maximize the earth's bounty in ecologically sound and sustainable ways. As part of an over-all food production plan for protein, fertilizer and microenterprise, SIFAT helps train students and volunteers in beekeeping techniques. It looks to me like AHMEN, COAPIHL, Heifer International, and SIFAT are all in Honduras for the same reason...let's go ahead and connect the dots!

Students of Byron Morales, of SIFAT, will complete their first year of training this August. New students in Colon will join the program as graduates move onto their second year of training. Meanwhile, the AHMEN-SIFAT Initiative plans to establish workshops in new areas like Belaire, Yorito, La Esperanza, and La Mosquitia. As a long-term project for even longer-term change, it seems only appropriate that we begin to open up this option for promoters to explore as they prepare to learn specialized skills in their third and final year of the program.

What can we do to help?

  • Contact beekeepers in your area to help them get involved
  • Develop a relationship with the Jefferson County Beekeepers Association
  • Contact Heifer International and COAPIHL about working to bring beekeeping to Colon (COAPIHL does not currently operate along the major centers of AHMEN outreach.)
  • Contact SIFAT about beekeeping training sessions for you and your mission team's members
  • Contact Auburn University about helping make beekeeping a viable solution for social and economic justice in Honduras
  • Contact me so we can make a plan! (I'm easy to find)
  • Most importantly,CREATE A BUZZ!