Alabama Honduras Medical Educational Network
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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Electrifying Shalom: 2012

Hello readers,  I have a report from Dr. Tom Camp's recent visit to Honduras.    Empowering women and reducing ecological impact are two goals which have to be at the forefront of our mission.  Below is Dr. Camp's report on how both are happening at Shalom!

Shalom is a home for young ladies from Honduras who are seeking a better life with safety, education, schooling, Christian environment, and helping others a priority.

Who lives there?
-A house mother and 15 ladies ranging in age from 13 to 23 years.
Where is it located?
-La Ceiba, Honduras

What are the expenses?

Typical Honduran wiring
-Two or three years ago Sandy and Sister Eleanor(Cruzadas de Evangilico), the ladies who are the brains and "go to" persons for Shalom, told me the number one expense for the entire mission compound where Shalom is located is electricity.

Why does their electricity cost so much?
-The transformer is old and inefficient.
-The wiring is old and inefficient.
-Electricity is just generally expensive.

The way electricity "works" in Copan

I "happened" to mention this to a friend that works at The Southern Company in the USA and, after a lot of work and money on her part, she delivered a brand spanking new transformer to the compound in Honduras.  After typical Honduran red tape, Sandy and Sister Eleanor now have the transformer up and running. 

Electricity at Shalom thanks to Partnership!

Has this made any difference?
You Bet! Again three things have changed.
1. The monthly bill is lower.
2. The electricity is steady and therefore not burning out their computers and costly appliances.
3. A whole section of the neighborhood now has reliable electricity.

Apparently I am “obsessed” with the idea of partnering since I gave a recent talk on that in Copan, Honduras, and the Electrifying of Shalom is a great example. Take a look at this...

Who is helping to electrify Shalom more cheaply?

-AHMEN (our NGO)
-A Friend of AHMEN and her friends, and a whole bunch of electrical engineers who work at the Southern Company
-The Southern Company itself
-Dole Fruit company (for cheap transportation)
-Cruzadas (the home of Shalom)
-Honduras friend of Shalom (an electrical engineer)
-Honduras Electrical Company

Ain't partnership grand?!

So this is a great big "THANK YOU" to all the folks who had anything to do with the purchase, transportation and installation of the transformer.
What a delight it is to know and work with all of you. You make me feel so lucky, or as my friend Bucket would say "blessed". If any of you would like to visit and see for yourself, just say the word, and we can arrange it.

Vaya con Dios,

Together, we are the difference.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

AHMEN Effectiveness Training

an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident.
good fortune; luck

I mean how lucky could I be?  The week before my first scheduled AHMEN Team Leader Training event, I was invited to attend and speak at an UMVIM, SEJ “Go and Serve: A YoungAdult Team Leader Training Weekend” lead by the best of the best, Paulette West and Cristin Farrington.

The folks above have committed to transform the world through “Christian Love in Action”

Paulette and Cristin did a great job organizing their workshop.  I especially enjoyed the way they modeled each of the sections within the UMVIM, SEJ training manual for participants.  Partnering with Urban Ministry, trainees stayed overnight and trained at Walnut Grove UMC in Midfield. Trainees reviewed the UMVIM training manual on Friday evening, and we joined an Urban Ministry mission project with the Joe Rush Center to help paint a local grandmother's home. To end the weekend, we returned to Midfield to conclude training and hear from guest speakers Kristan Lewis Walker, Jeremy Walker, and ME!

Cristin and Paulette must know what is on my heart because they assigned me the coolest section in the UMVIM manual...the missionary lifestyle and charity to justice component. I told some stories about my history as a volunteer in Honduras, but I'm not going to tell you which ones here. You'll have to come to my next training session to hear for yourself...

Whether veteran or new, these are your newly trained AHMEN Team Leaders!

The “Go and Serve” training was excellent preparation for the following Saturday when I was joined by the most amazing group of AHMENers. Friday night before the training I told my mom that I anticipated 5-10 people at the most. Much to my delight, however, Hugh and Mary Guffey, Jim and Emilie Sims, Mary “Butterfly” Capps and Lauren Watkins, Lynn Giedinghagen, Magan Hamrick, Melody and Hunter Johnson, Lou Altman, Andrea Altman, Josue Altman, Caden Camp, Casey Farrington, Cindy Richards, and Dr.Reverend Regenia Garrett all darkened the doors of Christ UMC to train as team leaders!

From Left: Casey Farrington, Cindy Richards, Mary "Butterfly" Capps

In addition to 16 trainees' attendance, I especially enjoyed the participation. Some of the most useful traits one can have in a team member are openness and curiosity...this group had both. Whenever a personal experience would have helped add some “umph” to a particular section of the handbook, our AHMENers were there to share. Whenever a tough topic presented a point for further exploration, these team leaders freely asked questions. Even better, when some disagreed with my conjectures, we were able to discuss freely without throwing mud or packing up our toys. I feel like every single individual present added something special to the training that would have otherwise been lacking.

From Left: Hunter Hamrick, Melody Hamrick, Magan Hamrick, Jim Sims, and Michael Franklin

Thank you to UMVIM, SEJ for the privilege of being empowered to train AHMEN leadership. Thank you to Christ UMC for giving me a place to host our AHMEN Team Leader Training. Finally, thank you AHMEN for trusting me to lead you through the process of becoming the best team leader you can be.

Where is the road taking you?

 We have all been called to Honduras to make a difference. Training, reflection, research, and preparation will ensure we make a positive difference. We are a blessed group of individuals with differing beliefs but common dreams that more Hondurans can live more just lives. Let's continue to do this as a group. We can achieve little of significance separately, but together, we are the difference.

Friday, October 12, 2012

ASI-Yorito Begins!

Sustainability, appropriate technology, long-term development, effective mission work, social justice. These are terms and phrases AHMEN has been coming to embody in the last few years as a result of our  strengthening relationships with UMVIM and SIFAT.


During the summer of 2010 I was blessed with the opportunity to spread word about the coming AHMEN-SIFAT Initiative to several communities in Honduras. I want to say thank you to Dr. Fran Kunda of CHHF for letting me join her team to Limon. I did a lot of “growing up” in Limon, and I am overjoyed that several of my friends there are attending workshops at ASI-Cusuna. I also want to say thank you to both C.D. and Linda Tripp for letting me join their team to an unfamiliar place called Yorito. After only a few days in the mountain community I was overcome by its tremendous social capital. The Cusuna workshop officially began that fall, and now, two years later, the AHMEN-SIFAT Initiative of Yorito is also a reality!

Byron Morales at his best

ASI-Yorito is not a reality because of me, however; it is a reality because of the people I met there three years ago. I also want to say thank you to former Peace Corps volunteer Janet Espinosa for leading a group of future community agents to the kickoff workshop in Cusuna in 2010. It was this step that really got the ball rolling for the foundation of Yorito's own workshop. Finally, I want to express gratitude to the “Catracha” who has had the faith and confidence to help make a dream a reality for so many people. Fanny Aviles describes her community's workshop as follows:

Communities in and around Yorito will send their most determined members to train for three years under the direction of SIFAT's Byron Morales. We will master sustainable approaches to social, health, and environmental issues, and we will replicate our training at home. With a clear perception of ourselves as health workers, we will together gain the capacity to become agents of change in our own communities.

55 future community agents prepared to be the change in their communities!

I can only describe the mood surrounding the workshop as elation. In a post on her Facebook page, Fanny made the following announcement:

Amigos!!!!!!!!!!! SOUTHERN INSTITUTE FOR APPROPRIATE TECHNOLOGY y ALABAMA HONDURAS MEDICAL EDUCATION NETWORK, We present to you the future Integrated Community Health Agents of our own town YORITO....

Janet Espinosa was invited to attend as a special guest, and I hope she continues to play an integral part in the facilitation of the program. Janet's position at the Universidad Nacional de Agricultura in Catacamas and SIFAT's own Kathy Bryson networking there will also solidify connections between local problem-solving and national initiatives. I am delighted by Janet's response regarding the inaugural workshop as “up, up, up with reading, brainstorming, decision making, group activities and lots of learning with an emphasis on vertical instruction meaning participation by all on an equal basis.”

Janet Espinosa leading an English lesson

I see great things happening. I see a web developing which will help AHMEN more easily maneuver between projects all over Honduras.  I see AHMEN becoming more focused and effective.  I see a network developing which truly stands to facilitate the empowerment process throughout local Honduran communities. Through our partnerships, we only enable that process to take effect sooner and more fully. With ASI-Belaire, that web will only grow stronger, and AHMEN's ability to truly transform Honduras through the radical love of Jesus will be more possible than ever before.

Won't you join us today? In my lifetime and yours we can put an end to inequality, sickness, and immobility.  Please contact me about donating to the AHMEN-SIFAT Initiative and/or joining an AHMEN team today.

Together, we are the difference.