Alabama Honduras Medical Educational Network
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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Río de Agua Viva - From Garifuna and Spanish to Sign Language

Miguel and Miguel
So where was that last picture taken in my previous blog post?  Who is that man in front of the water purification system?   Wellllllll.....AHMEN's own Peggie Polhemus sent in the correct answer and will receive an original piece of jewelry from the Los Laureles jewelry school when she arrives at the Foothills Festival on September 7 in Jasper, Al.  She answered correctly that the man in the photo was Alfredo, Mariana's husband, at the deaf school in Plan de Flores.   


Plan de Flores is far, far away from Cusuna, but Mariana and her deaf son Josue travel to each of the workshops every quarter to learn how to lift up their community.  Mariana first went with Josue to sign for him as his translator, and now she is one of of the chief community agents at ASI-Cusuna.  No AHMEN-SIFAT documentary team would be complete without her story! Mariana not only dreams of building her deaf school from the ground up and shaping the curriculum for other special needs students, but she also dreams of Plan de Flores becoming a technical training hub for the region.  Her dream is one in which we must invest.

Josue tells us about his history classroom

The Mariana Cafe

Do you know anyone who works with a deaf school?  Do you have any hearing impaired friends?  Mariana needs volunteer teams to come teach math/science/reading/history/etc. through sign language.  Vanderbilt University sends a team each summer, but Plan de Flores needs more!  Contact AHMEN today to learn how you can donate to the deaf school or organize a team.

Together, we are the difference.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Río de Agua Viva - Nos Vemos

We came to Cusuna to film interviews with the AHMEN-SIFAT Community Agents there and to identify local concerns from other members of the community.  James, Nathan, Mario and I just couldn't stay any longer in our new home.  We had to leave our new family to catch up with the Río de Agua Viva team in Sambo Creek.  Before we left, however, we just needed one more interview..

Pastor Nahun Flores: Pastor at Cusuna's Church of God and ASI-Cusuna Lead Coordinator

From Left: Mario, Saidi, Abigail, Danny, Pastor Nahun, David, Iris, James, Nathan

We took the group picture....Why are we back in the mission house???

Looks like "Capi-Natán" is giving Danny one lesson before we leave!

From the dusty, unpaved roads of Cusuna headed to the bustle (no hustle) life of Sambo Creek

We all have a sight which, when we see it it, simultaneously reminds us where we are and from whence we come.  Piedra Blanca is mine, and I'm so glad I got to experience its immensity with James and Nathan.

I could've sworn I said we were headed to Sambo Creek??  Where did we stop?

Where did we stop in this final picture, and who is the man pictured there?  Send me an email with your name and an answer to either or both questions to receive a free bracelet at the Foothills Festival in Jasper, Alabama made by the ladies of the Los Laureles jewelry school.  Want to join a team next year?  Want to donate to a project?  Contact AHMEN today!

Together, we are the difference.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Río de Agua Viva - Just Like That..

And just like that, after three days of interviews, it was time to leave...

Interviewing ASI Community Agents or other Honduran community members is a crucial task.  No single team can capture all the stories or can capture the same stories from the same point of view.  If you are interested in donating your time, expertise, or money to an AHMEN team, please contact us today!

Together, we are the difference.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Río de Agua Viva - Cusuna Interview, Pt. 3

Happy Sunday Familia y Amigos

After morning reflection please take a look at this video of an ASI-Cusuna refresher course this past June.  Equipping communities with means to meet their own needs is our main goal, and we need your help to continue..Volunteer to train and/or Donate to help train local healthcare workers across Honduras.  Either way, contact AHMEN today!

Lydia giving an outstanding interview!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Río de Agua Viva - Cusuna Interview, Pt. 2

Wow were we in for a treat!  After five years of promoting, discussing, and planning workshops with Byron Morales, I actually got to see a "refresher" workshop up close and personal.  The day's topics were first aid and CPR.  Thanks to SIFAT, Pastor Nahun Flores, and the Río film crew for all your help!!

Pastor Nahun reviewing the hows, whys, and whats of CPR and First Aid

Don't worry!!  It's just a demonstration!!

Contact AHMEN today to learn more about how you can be a part of meaningful, long-term, appropriate, and effective outreach in Honduras.  

Together, we are the difference.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Río de Agua Viva - Cusuna Interviews, Pt. 1

We were just a small team with a big dream.  James had only been to Honduras once and Nathan never at all.  Mario lives in Honduras and travels with teams back and forth to the Cusuna area throughout the year.  I had been to Cusuna as recently as January with the Lifeway team, but we all determined to return to record a story.  The story we hoped to record was as much about the training of the AHMEN-SIFAT Community Agents as it was the story of the same Agents talking about their own personal experiences.  I hope to begin releasing the interviews soon...Well, just as soon as the editing process picks up.

The view from the mission house

Pastor Nahun preaches at the Church of God

Pastor Nahun

Pastor Nahun and I practicing for the interviews

Lydia was one of the first to volunteer

Wherever you hang your mosquito net is home

If you are interested in joining an AHMEN team for research, documentation, or just photo/video-taking fun contact us today!!  There are stories in need of being captured, and YOU are the perfect person to do it.

Together, we are the difference.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Río de Agua Viva - The Water Begins to Flow

R to L: Dr. Delmer Montoya, Michael Franklin, James Iverson
William Sydney Porter, better known as O Henry, fled the United States for Honduras in the late 1800s to escape charges of embezzlement.  Porter fled to Honduras because its coat rack border reminds visitors that another world awaits where one may leave the smaller global establishment to lesser men.  I'm sure Porter got one look at the emerald-kissed mountain ranges snaking across the miles of Honduran coastline and thought, "William, go home. O Henry is the guest of honor."


R to L: James Iverson and Nathan Whitley
Over the years I have seen quite a varied crew of volunteers, including myself, welcome a diversion from their normal "me-centric" lives in an attempt to go live for others.  We all tend to "leave" a little bit of ourselves behind, tending to pack in our trunks with what we hope represents our personalities' best features, but we cannot truly leave our personal experiences behind us.  Without those we are not ourselves but mere superficial concepts.  Crossing into Honduras while representing virtue only complicates the acute case of dissociative personality disorder many volunteers, travelers, missionaries, humanitarians, general do-gooders, do-badders, expatriates, etc. experience much of the time during and after their travels.  Symptoms compound as conversations navigating across languages pay little attention to the territorial borders so deliberately negotiated upon arrival.  And just as one becomes aware of the additional thought patterns racing across one's mind like the surrounding tides, one realizes a more complete self awaits.  

How to get to Hondura:  honduranmissions.comho

One may not let go of the old or fill voids with the new;  there is incorporation.  There are open eyes and open hearts.  We are not to serve as stickers to be placed inside a notebook for decoration.  We are not stamps to be found mimeographed across the pages of time.  We are fresh paints to be tested in various lights, heats, and temperatures on a canvas exceedingly dry from dead artists' renditions.  What we bring to the table only becomes more bold when strained through the Catracha sieve.  What is caught for examination remains for use elsewhere.

The story of the Río de Agua Viva, then, is one of invigoration and wholeness.  What we are about is using our selves only as they become more full by every passing breath.  One river emerges from many streams.  What will your stream add?  Where will the path to Honduras take you? 

Only you can open the door.

Together, we are the difference.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Not Just a Summer Gig

As often as I get it, I never tire of answering the question “Why do you go to Honduras?” My answers vary depending on who I talk to or what particular area of AHMEN outreach I am working on at the moment. As a team leader, team leader trainer, fundraiser, recruiter, and coordinator of many AHMEN projects, sometimes I have more reasons than time allows to answer why I keep returning to Honduras after almost fifteen years.

Always searching for a better way

What is fun to think about is that it is okay for a volunteer's reason for volunteering to change. I even think it is probably more normal than not. If after having made AHMEN a part of me for over half of my life I still answered the “Why Honduras?” question by saying “to help” I might not show much growth or depth.

Get the job done

Surely a perfectly fine answer may be that God has put me in a perfect position to partner with Honduran communities through AHMEN. Surely other reasons may include my wanting to reconnect year-after-year with those who have contributed significantly to my growth or been by my side during some of my life's formitive times. After having wrote in-depth about mission work in Honduras for my master's thesis in Women's Studies at Texas Woman's University, praying for revelation in the most-effective techniques of developmental work, and spending a month visiting the three foundational pillars of the AHMEN-SIFAT Initiative this past June, I think I can give another reason of why I personally return to Honduras. I think I can honestly add another rationale to explain why my passport is more of a license to re-enter the turnstile between San Pedro Sula and Atlant than an international travel document. I work on building AHMEN as an organization and building AHMEN teams so that we can fulfill the opportunity laid at our feet so long ago. I apply my time, money, and thoughts to Honduras because I want to get the job done right.

Crossing bridges

Why am I prefacing a blog series with an explanation that doesn't explain a whole heck of a lot? I am doing so because I believe all three parts of the “Río de AguaViva” team demonstrate attempts to move toward a more sustainable way of doing missions.

Building relationships to equip the next generation

Please look for my upcoming daily blog posts as I feature a few pictures each day for the next month detailing my June in Honduras. Leave comments! Donate to my travel expenses and consider joining a team of your own. Visit our website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. AHMEN is reaching out to you; how can you reach back?

Together, we are the difference.