Alabama Honduras Medical Educational Network
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Sunday, March 20, 2016

An Exciting Start to 2016!

An Exciting Start to 2016
Byron Morales

January has been the “medicines” month for our program in Honduras. The  development work we do is a sort of combined effort of immediate action and long-term solutions.

As the Jesus teaches us, if we see emergency conditions like hunger, clothing needs, health care, etc. we are compelled to respond. Structurally, we need in that answer a process of long-term intervention, but sometimes within that structure there is room for relief work. The long-term response AHMEN has given is the creation of the “Agentes de Salud Integral” initiative training workshops as much of AHMEN’s teams continue to provide relief.  Now, within the training program, I have been able to use relief as a form of education.

At the beginning of the year I began organizing donations of medicine for use in the various workshops locations as a teaching mechanism.  Donations stock local health centers, and community agents become familiar with the way the medicines are used.  In this way, relief and development are merged.


MAP, Medical Assistance Program International, and the local NGO, CONSEDE, contacted me to explore the possibility to manage several pallets of medicines valued in $12,344.

The first pallet was distributed half and a half among the Yorito training program and the Episcopal Church to support their community clinics. The donation to Yorito was received and managed by the Local Committee of the training program, which continues very active exploration of continuing education for the graduates and in close relationship with the Secretary of Health.

Lucia Caceres – MAP/CONSEDE Representant

After this first donation, I contacted MAP-CONSEDE to inquire about receiving additional donations. The Committee from Yorito proposed to the Secretary of Health to pay the fees for five more pallets of medicines. The reduced fee cost for them was of $400 per pallet. At least five Municipalities got involved in this donation and each one of them paid the fees.

Five communities received medicines through this vital donation: Yorito, Jocon, Marales and Sulaco. These medicines will be managed by the “Centros de Salud” with the involvement of the Community Agents graduated under the “Agentes de Salud Integral” Training Program.

Right now, I am looking for a final pallet donation to benefit the new training initiative in La Moskitia and to provide the graduated agents from Cusuna, the birthplace of the training program. We expect an answer from MAP-CONSEDE soon, and if we get this donation the medicines will be taken and distributed by the next Río de Agua Viva Team coming to La Moskitia in June and as part of a training lesson.

Yorito volunteers unloading the pallets

In agreement with UNION BIBLICA, one of the most important Organizations serving churches and youth groups in Honduras, we have also received donation of school materials for elementary teachers.
Currently the first training/provision will take place in Yorito. Lucia Caceres will be supporting the Yorito Local Committee to develop a training plan to be submitted to AHMEN for an approval.
The amount of materials is so important that this month we’ll be meeting with UNION BIBLICA to design an agreement to be submitted to AHMEN about coordination of more educational materials and training that can be expanded to La Moskitia, Cusuna, and Jutiapa.
Educational Materials Donated to Workshops

Next month I will return to Jutiapa to continue the training program there.  In coordination with the mayor’s office, we are planning the follow up to the agents directly in their communities to promote the next workshop.  Next week with the transportation provided by the Municipality and with the support of two Municipality coordinators we expect good result visiting the Agents as a stimulus to their attendance and continuation in the training program.  We continue finding supplies to join also the work of the Jutiapa Community Agents for them to expand also the benefit of donated medicines and nutritional supplies for children and families.   By the end of February we will have the first workshop of the advance level in Jutiapa.  This is the last phase of the training there, and I expect the Jutiapa community agents to complete the the program by November 2016.  Following completion of the training will be the graduation to certify them as Community Agents for Total Health promotion!

Nutritional supplements were also included in the donations to Yorito.
What impact will these vitamins have on her life?

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Celebrating International Women's Day as a Short-Term Missionary

I don't like to call myself a short-term missionary.  However, long-term volunteers typically live in the country where they are volunteering.  Nonetheless, it seems like Honduras is always on my mind.  It seems like I am always sending an email, making a phone call, and putting off five more related to short-term volunteer teams and the long-term community education project with which I work.  That being said, though, long-term volunteers who live and work in Honduras for years at a time clearly inhabit an enormously more political space.

The question remains, though, "Don't all volunteers of all types" operate in similar political spaces?"

I think the answer is astoundingly affirmative.  My step-dad always tells me that politics is the art of using power.  Well, there is nothing more psychologically powerful than leaving one's home and traveling thousands of miles to work alongside underserved populations.  In addition, in certain countries, working with certain groups of underserved populations is inherently political.

Many of my fellow volunteers in Honduras opine that it is possible to do mission work apolitically.  I just fundamentally disagree.  Traveling to a country and attempting to do, or undo, the work of a nation's political system sends a clear signal to those in power that they are not doing something or that they are not doing something well.  To me, this is just as true in Honduras.

When the coup and post-coup governments actively, and sometimes violently, suppress the voices of women, the LGBTQ community, journalists, and activists, working with those groups pits one against the government.  Missionaries oftentimes have no idea who they will be working with when they arrive in the country where they are working.  After having worked in the same places for almost two decades, we know very well with whom we are working.  From my perspective, to ignore the political plights of these groups is not only immoral but anathema to the Christianity we so proudly display on our fluorescent-orange mission team t-shirts.

When we teach clean water, we are filling a void that is the national water infrastructure.  When we teach first aid, we are offering access to medical care that the Honduran government is not.  And when we teach eco-stove technology, we join environmental advocates like the recently-assassinated Berta Cáceres to protest the deforrestation of one of the most beautiful landscapes many of us have seen.  Jesus said the poor will always be with us.  While I do believe there will always be people with drastically less resources and some with many more than they need,, I also think Jesus was speaking metaphorically.  Jesus uses the poor as an analogy for those under attack, those underserved, by society.

In the machismo culture of Honduras, women are both underserved and under attack.  In Honduras, no woman is immune to violence.  No woman can escape the political conditions causing violence, disease, and povery in Honduras.  So who do missionaries celebrate on International Women's Day?
We should celebrate every woman we work with on your team and every woman we haven't met.  You don't ignore a single one because you want to pretend her cause is not your cause.  Instead, you celebrate every woman despite her cause.
To learn how to work with our teams in Honduras, contact me here today!  To donate to community empowerment in Honduras, click here.

Together, we are the difference.

(This post is the opinion of the author and does not reflect any official statements by AHMEN.)