Alabama Honduras Medical Educational Network
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Friday, October 14, 2016

Community Development, Involvement, or Education - Whatever you call it, it's working!

Jutiapa - This workshop has been fully funded on the local level by the mayor of Jutiapa.  This includes food, guest lecturers, facility use and cleanup, and lodging if necessary.  Jutiapa is set to graduate 45 students in December.  Earlier this year, UNFPA - a United Nations organization dedicated to helping communities prevent and manage the effects of sexual abuse - lead a very successful training with the women of the workshop.  More recently, students who are both from the National Agriculture University (UNA) and graduates of the SIFAT practicum in Lineville, Al have visited and taught lessons in sustainable agriculture to the Jutiapa agents.  The trip was such a resounding success that the UNA students have offered to go back to UNA and coordinate scholarships for room, board, and tuition for any of the Jutiapa agents and their children who apply for a sustainability internship program.  The community agents here ask that any AHMEN team working in the area stop by for a day or three to meet, teach, and plan with them.

Yorito - Any discussion of Yorito begins with kudos being extended to the honorable Fanny Aviles.  This workshop graduated last year.  The leadership which developed out of this workshop has allowed the workshop coordinating committee to begin working with an Episcopalian NGO providing supplemental nutrition programs in the local feeding kitchens.  Further coordination between Byron Morales and the agents have resulted in the local elementary teachers being awarded a grant to receive training on how to use free educational materials in math, science, and reading.  The Yorito agents were also awarded a grant by the Peace Corps for funding and materials to build latrines in the surrounding communities.  The "Feed My Sheep" team's relationship with the local community, its ability to target its missions, and its communication with leaders on the ground have greatly improved over the last several years.  They are now one of AHMEN's most diverse, appropriate, and effective teams.  The same UNA agents from Jutiapa will work with the Yorito grads and offer the same internship scholarship to any agent or their family members who apply.

Cusuna - This workshop graduated 60 agents 2 years ago but has since lost its leader (Nahun) due to his pastorship being reassigned to Trujillo.  The agents still meet, still have concerns, still want to learn more, and still have dreams to start projects to gain control over the health and economy of their communities.  This workshop is further isolated than the other two, and so outcomes are different.  The contrast of Cusuna vs Yorito/Jutiapa is stark.  Communication is much more difficult, and without a leader, there is not a constant source of outward motivation and support.  This group of community agents requests that each AHMEN team that comes through the area stop to work with them in some form or fashion.  Byron Morales will be organizing the same UNA group to visit Cusuna later this year or early next year.  The Rio team learned about two extremely positive outcomes from the Cusuna agents this summer. The agents are a contact source for sick patients in the area.  When there is no doctor or medicine in the Ciriboya hospital, the agents are called upon to check vital signs and make referrals to the Centro de Salud in Cusuna.  They essentially are managing the health for the area in the same way an EMT service might.  This intervention takes a great deal of confidence.  We knew they were acting as first responders, but we did not know they were coordinating solutions for patients in the absence of medical staff at the hospital.  Also, out of Cusuna has come the Raista workshop.

Raista - As a graduate from Cusuna, Pastor Wilinton Tejada requested help bringing the same education to La Moskitia. The Rio de Agua Viva team has coordinated with the 100 locals and taught two 3-day seminars in first aid, massage therapy, child development, vision testing, clean water for kids and adults, water quality testing, and improved gardening techniques.  This relationship has resulted in AHMEN's Jungle Team also conducting water quality testing.  Furthermore, the strength and dedication of the participants is leading to Raista becoming a new water filter distribution center for La Moskitia for the Water With Blessings organization.  Pastor Wilinton, in conjunction with representatives from the local environmental agency MAPAWI, is planning the first educational seminar without the Rio team Oct 27-29 on the subjects of waterborne illness and remedies.

Byron Morales has identified a new set of interested potential community agents in the area of Intibuca.  This is where Brent and Doris Brady have moved to from Utila.  AHMEN has an old medical/educational/evangelism team called "De La Montana al Mar" in need of a leader and team members in the area of La Esperanza (in Intibuca).  This team would be attached to the potential Intibuca workshop in the same way the Rio team is attached to the Raista workshop.

A donation of $10/month will go a LONG way to ensuring positive and meaningful results out of AHMEN's Community Involvement Workshops.  Please consider donating today.  Or maybe you want to form a team to go work with the community agents in one or more of the locations.  Contact me to help support life-saving education today either through your donations or volunteership!

Together, we are the difference.