Alabama Honduras Medical Educational Network
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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Hunger to Hope in One Generation: Women Beading For God, Pt. 1

We've all seen the commercials asking you to donate “just a dollar a day” to feed starving children living in abject poverty around the world. These commercials tug on our heart-strings and compel us to do something to help. We know the feeling of being hungry and can't imagine children experiencing hunger and hunger-related illness on a daily basis.  In La Ceiba, Honduras missionaries at Cruzadas de Evangelica have been taking AHMEN volunteers to feed hungry kids living in the city dump for over a decade.  Without a television to block the view, the injustice of permitted poverty is almost too much for this volunteer from the world's wealthiest nation.

Cruzadas operates a feeding kitchen and church at the La Ceiba city dump where over a thousand people scavenge a life out of what others discard from theirs. Lexie Hilton recalls his experience at the dump:

"We were standing there listening to the preacher when, all of a sudden, about a dozen kids, barefoot as I was at their age, took off running toward the driveway.  About five minutes later they came by riding on the bed of a flat-bed truck full of trash.  When the truck got to where it was going to dump the load, the kids jumped off and were going through the garbage before it could even hit the ground."

 Visiting the dump was something I never liked to do because of what I felt was an impossible situation. It wasn't until a few years ago when Ezekiel Nichols got a vision about exactly what was possible there that AHMEN teams began to focus on working at the dump beyond temporarily feeding hungry bellies...

Stay tuned for my next blog as I talk about how Ezekiel's vision is becoming a reality!

If you want to know more about how you can join a team or support one of the many AHMEN projects in Honduras, feel free to contact Dr. Tom Camp, Mary Guffey, and Michael Franklin for more information.

Together, we are the difference.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Women Changing the World

In my previous blog I detailed my "leap of faith" when I jumped out of the Lifeway van to meet with Pastor Nahun and the Cusuna community agents.  When I saw Nahun about to drive past our van on his white dirt bike I knew I had to act.  I told Alex, our van driver, to stop the van.  I asked the Lifeway team to please come pick me back up when they got finished in Iriona.  Well....twelve lords a leaping and one of the greatest three is supposed to be faith...Let's see what came of my "leap out of the van faith!" 

Where's Michael going?  Better take a picture...

Three women were waiting on us when Nahun and I pulled up on his motocicleta.  As we stacked the 100 white plastic chairs set up for church from the night before and built a circle for our meeting, a few more ladies came in to join us.  A few more arrived shortly thereafter, and the last woman showed up as the meeting kicked into high gear.  Maybe these were the only community agents from Cusuna.  Maybe they were the only ones not working at that time.  Either way, the only men I saw were Nahun and myself.  What does this tell us?

From Left: Mery, Nehun, Lydia, Patricia, Claudia, Belkis, Jacinto, Irene, Carlota

Since the empowerment process is more about how the people involved see themselves and less about how we view it, let me now turn the story over to the ladies involved.  I asked each of the community agents to tell me about themselves, their vision for the workshop, and what they anticipate their specialization to be.


I have been a part of the workshop for the full 2.5 years.  I am 34 and have 4 children.  I am most motivated by the sense of having a greater responsibility to my neighbors.  I am already a nurse in my community, but I enjoy learning more about blood pressure and asthma.  The other agents help me make house calls to the elderly and sick individuals in town.  We are a wellness team.  

A Picture of Tranformation


I heard about the program and joined late, but I plan to graduate with the rest of the community agents.  I am 41-years-old.  I have 4 children and 1 grandchild.  I have joined the workshop for them.  My biggest interest interest is in how to prevent and treat anemia and diarrhea.  It is always easier to prevent than to treat.  I enjoy learning about the HIV diagnosis test, but only the health center actually gets to give the test.  I think my specialization will be in children's health.


The workshop has changed the way I think about my village, my family, and my life.  I am 17-years-old with 2 children.  I attend all of Byron's programs and enjoy learning about everything he teaches.  All of the information is very valuable, but personally my favorite part is the way the workshops make me feel about myself.  My self-esteem has improved a lot since beginning the program.  For the first time I feel like I belong somewhere.  I think I would like to specialize in HIV prevention and awareness.

The time to put both feet in the boat is now.


Thank you for the workshop.  It is an experience I never thought I would have the pleasure to enjoy.  I am 26 and have 2 children.  I like learning how to take care of children better, and I really like using the blood pressure cuff.  I check my grandmother's blood pressure.  When it is high I give her garlic, and I can tell a difference in a few days.


As a 21-year-old mother of one, I joined the program to learn how to raise a healthier baby.  What I learned is how to build a healthier village.  I enjoy learning about water filtration and diarrhea-prevetion.  One thing we learned that none of us knew about before was how to mix an oral solution for diarrhea treatment.  Before we thought we could only get that type of medicine from the health center or medical brigades.  I will probably specialize in children's health and have already begun visiting homes to take sick kids to the health center.  I would like to see the health center participate more in the workshops.  I really enjoyed meeting Kathy and Sarah from SIFAT and Sarah's lesson on saving money for emergencies.

Who would you like to partner with in their future projects?


I am 31 with 4 kids, and I am most interested in working in the area of supporting patients with HIV and AIDS.  I believe I can help a lot of people in this area because I have seen a lot of people die from AIDS.  I want to help people with AIDS with their self-esteem and help community members learn how to better interact with AIDS patients.


I am a 58-year-old woman with 6 children.  I thought I knew something, but all the information Byron shares with us is new.  This workshop is a success because the word of God is the guide.  Byron does not preach, but I hear Jesus in the way he talks about self-esteem and clean water.  It teaches the youth to be good women.  The workshop is changing the way I think about my devotion to my neighbors.  


I thank the Lord for the group of community agents training to lead our community, and I pray that they will remain healthy to do so.  I am a 52-year-old woman with 4 kids.  I knew about the workshop and didn't think I had any business being a part of it.  I didn't think the workshop was a serious thing.  My sister, Carlota, invited me, and I have learned a lot from Byron.  The workshop will transform the way our community thinks about environment and education, health and saving money.  I started a savings and loan cooperative before, and it fell apart.  After SIFAT's Sarah Mamami from Bolivia came to teach us how to save our money, I feel confident that the group will succeed the next go around.

Luke 8:3 "These women were helping to support them out of their own means."

After the interviews, the ladies asked some serious questions.  Carlota asked me why I was asking them questions.  Jacinto asked me about the difference between AHMEN and SIFAT.  Irene wanted to know what jobs would be available to them when they graduated.  They all wanted to know more about how to get money to start projects after graduation.  As you think about these questions yourselves, know that the empowerment process certainly involves asking questions.  It is our job to help each of the community agents find the best answers that fit their individual circumstances.

Won't you consider lending your monthly support to the AHMEN-SIFAT Initiative?  For just a small, monthly donation you can help these women set up the next generation for success rather than the status quo.  Contact me today to learn more about how to support and sponsor AHMEN's Community Empowerment Program

Together, we are the difference.