Alabama Honduras Medical Educational Network
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Monday, June 24, 2013

Río de Agua Viva Returns!

Well...It's off to the San Pedro Sula airport to fly back to the U.S today. I have only spent a mere 17 days here, but I have never felt so blessed with so much in such a short period of time.

My journey started with an interviewing team of James of Hattiesburg, Ms, Decatur, Al's “Capi-Natán, and Mario “Mas Amable” of La Ceiba, Atlántida traveled to the North Coast town of Cusuna to film interviews and replications of the community agents training there. We were joined by Pastor Nahun Flores, a jack of all trades, as our liaison to the community. I look forward to giving you the full low-down of what I can tell you in future blogs!

The first leg of the Río de Agua Viva team

We four amigos then met up with an additional stream of AHMEN volunteers in flowing through Honduras to make the Río de Agua Viva team. Upon arriving in Honduras we converged with the additionally mighty rivers of ASI-Jutiapa and the jewelry students of Los Laureles, and our interaction shared treasure troves of new resources our rivers had not known our collective well-being lacked. 

Complete the circle.  Join an AHMEN project today!

After the Río team left I traveled on my own all the way to Yorito, Yoro. I met personally with and grew close to many of the community agents training there. I see so much potential for long-term sustainable growth in this area and am so excited to help them document their journey, and so do others! I certainly thank Fanny, Jovel, and Melvin for their hospitality during my entire stay. 

Community Agent Panch with ASI-Yorito coordinators Fanny and Jovel

Returning home tomorrow doesn't quite feel right, but neither does staying here to serve. I am as attached to the communities we partner with in Honduras as I am with those in the U.S. where I've lived. I would like to work full-time for AHMEN, and this team showed me that is possible through prayer, praise, and preparation. Surely you've seen us posting all week on our respected Facebook groups and pages??  We want to share with with you.Join us on the AHMEN website and on all of the other AHMEN Blogs! Join our Twitter page, and Pinterest. You can't miss out on the full-details of an exciting June in Honduras. Join a growing coalition to foster justice-based projects today!

Together, we are the difference.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Familia Hondureña

Whenever I think about Honduras I remember all the beautiful scenery and unforgiving weather.  I remember all the delicious food and reality of nutritional insecurity all over the country.  Most of all, I remember the familiar faces.  

Honduras has become so much a part of our lives that many of us always boast about Honduras being our home and having family there. In my case, and in the case of many other AHMENers, however, we actually have grandchildren, children, and siblings in Honduras.  My sister's name is Ana.

At first, second, and third glance you might notice that it is difficult to see why I would consider Ana my sister.  Ana and I have known each other for several years but really don't know much about each other.  She is just a few years younger than me, but we don't speak the same language or look alike.  We come from completely different walks of life.  We have chosen very different occupations.  You know what, though?  The same two folks have made sure we were fed, clothed, and supported 100% in our educational careers.  We are loved as children, kept safe, and sustained by the same couple.  That is what makes Ana and I brother and sister,  hermanito y hermanita.   That is what makes us family.

I was blessed on this team to be able to spend a little time with Ana this week while AHMEN'sRío de Agua Viva team was working with the jewelry ladies of Los LaurelesThe last several times I have been in Honduras Ana has been busy with nursing school and internships.  We just happened to luck out this time!  We worked on interviews together and helped facilitate the afternoon "Cultivando Información" fieldtrip.  She even made a special two-layer strawberry and coconut cake with caramel icing for the team....sooo good! 

In the coming years I hope to work on building stronger ties to my Hermana Catracha and all of the rest of the young women of Shalom.  (I hope to bond more with my Gringa sisters too!)  I hope to create a better dialogue with Shalom on Facebook.  I hope to work on my Spanish and help them with their English.  I hope to do a better job of practicing what I preach.  Shalom is too important to the empowerment process not to get busy, and I ask you all to join me!

Contact Dr. Tom Camp or me to learn how to set up a team to work with or take on a regular monetary pledge to the Shalom girls dorm of La Ceiba, Honduras.

Together, we are the difference.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

From Hunger to Hope in One Generation: Women Beading for God, Pt. 10

Nathan sure did write an impressive blog! I can't wait to grow and mature alongside him in Honduras. I really can't wait to work with our next blogger either! That's right...the rumors are true. JamesIverson returns to the Banana Republic this Saturday!!

My name is James Iverson – I’m departing on my second trip to Honduras this Saturday! Two years ago my close friend from Millsaps College, Michael Franklin, convinced me to accompany him and a team of volunteers on a trip to La Esparanza and Utila. I really enjoyed being temporarily immersed in these distinct cultures – so much so that I’m considering visiting the islands of Utila and Roatan again! I’ve shared these plans with Michael and he suggested that first I accompany him on this second trip to the Garifuna Coast/Cusuna and La Ceiba – after all how can I pick a favorite region of the country when I haven’t seen them all yet?

I hear there's going to be a weenie roast??

The success Michael has had in ‘recruiting’ me is definitely inspiring. With the promise of adventure and self-growth he convinced me to go on the first trip – and now I’m returning for a second visit with plans for a third trip already fomenting!  His toughest job was pulling me over the ‘hump’ of deciding that this was what I wanted to spend my time off doing and where I wanted to do it. However once I got to Honduras the country took over and sold itself. I was in awe of the natural beauty that surrounded me and loved getting to know some of the great people: Dr. Delmer, all the AHMEN and SIFAT organizers, the girls at Shalom, Ernesto and all of the employees that worked at the hydro electric dam – I could go on and on. I’m excited about getting to meet Nathan and witness him experiencing many of these things for his first time. The first trip was one of the most fulfilling experiences I’ve had in my life and I look forward to expanding that wonderful experience next week.

James and Dr. Delmer

My goal this go around is going to be to document our travel more thoroughly with pictures and a journal. I came back from my first trip with countless stories however I can already feel those memories beginning to atrophy. Of the 24 pictures I took on my disposable camera only a few turned out well and my journal keeping dwindled after the first few days of the trip. Thanks to Lauren Watkins’ astute picture taking I have been able to piece together most of the trip but I won’t be able to count on her this go around!
I want to improve my record taking not just for my own sake but also to have some more recruitment tools when I’m talking with my buddies. Without Michael’s tugging at my arm I never would’ve had my eyes opened to this experience – now that they have been I feel moved to get more of my friends to take the same leap! One of Michael and my close friends from Millsaps, David Hutzel, will be joining the ‘second’ team so our paths will cross in La Ceiba. Next year I hope there will a fourth or maybe even fifth Millsaps alum joining our teams! 

Together, we are the difference.