Alabama Honduras Medical Educational Network
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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Deck the Halls with Missions Planning "Fa La la ..."

Seasons Greetings!

It is that time of year again.  Put your creative side to good use!  Sign up for AHMEN's Rio de Agua Viva public health teaching team through one of four community leadership workshops in Honduras!  This isn't like the Sorting Hat.  All options here personify positive productivity of Potter's parlor!

You explore each one to decide which one is best for you!  Each of our teams are educational.  We always need Spanish/English interpreters.  Students, teachers, engineers, health and business professionals, lifeguards, and everyone in-between are encouraged to apply!

The Mountains
Will you join my team to La Esperanza in Intibuca where the latest "Agente Comunitario de Salud Integral" workshop is being initiated?  Partners include local mayor and hospital support, World Vision - Honduras.  Topics Include: Beekeeping, Maternal Health & Wellness

The Jungle
Or will you join Ken Hanson's team to La Moskitia to return to a nice shady spot for shiny people called Raista?  Ken will build heavily on the water component of previous teams in an attempt to gather data and organize.

Rural Caribbean
You may wish to join I'Reka Jordan and Gregg Dellert's team to Cusuna to work with the local water department to assess more economical, ecologically friendly, and practical ways to supply safe drinking water to the surrounding communities.  They will also work with the local orphanage and church in the concept of community gardening as a method of fundraising.

Urban Caribbean
Greg Thompson's team, however, could be the team for you!  He will be working with Milton Harry from the La Ceiba mayor Dr. Sabio's youth collaborative along with Dixon Morales from CeroPlast.  Greg's workshop in Jutiapa will lead 3-day lessons in youth development.

(Prices exclude air travel) Typical team tuition ranges from $1K to $1,300 per person and requires a non-refundable $100 deposit toward your team fees.  This fee is usually due around the first of the year.  Team fees cover all food, clean water, sleeping arrangements, in-country travel, cultural engagements and team leadership.

How do you reserve your spot?
Subscribe to this blog.  Leave a comment below.  Contact me for more information.

We have a lot of planning to do before we leave in June.  How can you help?  Jump in the river today.  Feed the current.  Share the fountain of knowledge with those who need it the most.  Help local Honduran leaders learn to solve many of their community problems with local solutions.

If you think you are not a traveler, you can still help.  You can contact the various team leaders on instructions to help by donating, fundraising, and/or pray for this River of Living Water team and its many tributaries.  Or you can check out my other special project in Honduras.

For a donation of $50 or higher, you will get your name (or name of business) on the back of our team t-shirts and a tagged thank you note on our team social media and AHMEN website.

Team t-shirts will also be for sale.  Designs and pricing to be determined.

The water is fine.  Our channel runs mightily and meanders wide but only flows with your help.  Together, we are the difference.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Gather at the River!

The water has always been a gathering spot.  Churches gather at the river for baptisms. Women across the developing world meet to wash clothes by fresh water banks.  Communities wait by the sea shore to see what fishing nets bring in each day.  And my family has been  bobbing in the Black Warrior River for fun for generations.

Now help us gather FOR
 the water.  The Río de Agua Viva team needs your help mailing out its recruitment booklet to universities, colleges, social groups, and churches.  Drop them off at coffee shops and farmer's markets.  We are looking for a big wave of volunteers and donors this year!

We have an audacious goal to meet in our partnership with AHMEN's Community Empowerment Program, and you can help!

Contact me today to join the team as a water messenger, and together let's continue to share lifesaving education with the disenfranchised of Honduras. 

Together, we are the difference!

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Cartas de la Selva

Éstas  cartas son de la gente de los pueblitos de la Laguna Ibans en La Mosquitia, Honduras.  Las personas quien las escribieron tienen muchas cosas que quisieron compartir con La Embajada de Los Estados Unidos y el Presidente de Honduras.  Por favor comparte este blogcito así que los sentimientos de la indígena de Honduras 🇭🇳 tendrán la oportunidad ser escuchados.  Perjudicado no significa perezoso ni poco inteligente solo que hay injusticia en el mundo.  Hoy, puede dar una voz a alguien a quien muchas personas no les gustarían recordar.

Juntos, todo es posible.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Calling all volunteers to serve in 2019! Río de Agua Viva needs your help!

AHMEN's Rio de Agua Viva team is seeking interested volunteers and team leaders to serve as liaisons to the General Coordinator of AHMEN's Community Empowerment Program. Volunteers organize and lead team and work closely with team leaders to coordinate yearly 3-day educational seminars in skills requested by local committee members. The Rio team has been leading one ACSI (Agentes Comunitarios de Salud Integral) seminar in one of the workshop areas yearly since 2013 and will now spread out to serve all four areas:


Cusuna (Rural Caribbean, Garifuna) Systems Analysts and Sustainability Engineers Needed!! The focus here will be to work with a Garifuna youth initiative set on repairing and revitalizing municipal water systems to provide clean water to a dozen surrounding villages. Secondary goals include working with ACSI graduates and their children to meet long-term sustainable nutrition plans. Needs Leader & 5-10 Team Members

Jutiapa (Urban Caribbean, Garifuna & Landino) The focus here will be to lead lessons promoting concrete skills in organizing department-wide environmental preservation and rejuvenation efforts through social, political, and economic means. The group will work closely with staff from the La Ceiba and Jutiapa mayors' offices. Has Leader, Needs 5-10 Team Members

La Esperanza (Urban Mountains, Lenca & Landino) World Vision has partnered with AHMEN's Coordinator of International Education to sponsor local capacity-building workshops in sustainable health skills and appropriate technology. This team will both teach at the workshop and also spend time learning how to partner with local indigenous rights groups. Has Leader, Needs 5-10 Team Members

Raista (Jungle, Miskito & Pech) This team has a 50% clean water focus. The clean water team will teach water purification using Sawyer filters and collect data on families who have already received water filters. The other half of the team's focus will be to conduct a 3-day sustainable health skills and appropriate technology seminar. Topics will include English Language Learning, Long-Term Planning, Environmental Preservation and Rejuvenation, & Human Rights. Has Leader, Needs 5-10 Members

These are great opportunities for churches, youth groups, colleges and universities, alternative fall, spring, summer, and winter break programs, internships, and study abroad. Spanish/English Interpreters, students, teachers, doctors, photographers, and generally nice and flexible people make great team members. All caring humans are invited to join. Cost of $900-1100 includes all food, lodging, in-country travel, and day of R&R. Dates may vary by team leader but will take place early summer 2019.

Michael Franklin is the General Coordinator of AHMEN's Community Empowerment Program. Please email him regarding your interest in one of the particular volunteer opportunities mentioned above. Michael is also available to travel to speak to your organization, church, small group, etc. about community development in Honduras.

Team membership is not limited to merely individuals who seek to travel to Honduras. We require all types of support to achieve success.

Team Membership

International - Travel with the team! :-)

Fundraisers & Donors - Help the team achieve their short and long-term objectives by raising fund$

Logistical Support - Coordinate with other organizations, arrange flights, help find supplies ;-)

Prayer Warriors - Spiritual support ensures our teams' safety and success <3

Together, we are the difference.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Holy Mackerel!

There is one of those legendary fellows that you might encounter in and out of the streams feeding Alabama's Black Warrior River.  A native of Barney, Alabama, this angler's angler is known for his strong hairline, Baptist baritone, tomato growing, and colorful language.  All the kids know him as the man who yells "HOLY MACKEREL!" at the drop of a hat.

Well, we sure know this is what Mr. Morrow would exclaim upon seeing the 198 pound grouper Oscar Omar Peraza Ramirez caught in May right up the Rio Platano near Ibans Lagoon in Plaplaya (Gracias a Dios, Honduras)!!  

My dad always told me that slow days on the river made for better stories.  While this story needs no embellishment, it does need sharing!  Let's give Omar the credit he deserves from his fishing buddies worldwide!  Share this legend's story with all of your fishing friends!

To learn more about our working building relationships and partnering with communities in sustainable empowerment, contact me today!

Together, we are the difference.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Sensuality in Sustainability

I could never pick just one reason I thank God each day for introducing me to my soulmate. But I can think of an awesome reason God sent her to Honduras. One of the most powerful contributions Lane has made to Río de Agua Viva has been the bonding of Water With Blessings to our team's mission.

AHMEN's Río de Agua Viva team has been all about sustainability and teaching Hondurans they can be the solution to their own societal problems. We can say that better now than we could when we began in 2013.

Our team rallied around Lane and the quest which led our team to a 4-year partnership with Water With Blessings, a clean water cultural project based in Honduras specializing in empowering women with their own mobile water filtration unit. WWB works all over Honduras but now also has a presence in the indigenous Garifuna and Miskito communities where our team works. Lane is also working on an approach to modify the WWB Water Women training for use with children.

Monday, June 18, 2018

The River Branches in 2019

The time after returning from a team to Honduras meanders as one might think it would.  The ins and outs of reverse culture shock filter the body and mind like a fishing net.  One ingests an entire experience, but only a bit can be retained.  We look to keep the nutrient, but occasionally an added bonus or, less welcome, something toxic remains.

When dealing with cultural acclimatization we must keep in mind that memories develop as our minds process the eleven days of almost 24-hour footage we tend to capture on service trips.  I am most introspective immediately after my return.  This one has been no different.

Last year I returned from Honduras to accept the National Education Association's Applegate-Dorros Peace and International Understanding award.  This year I return to compete as one of nine finalists for Tennessee Teacher of the Year.  The question of "where do we go from here" perpetually searches at the bottom of my dusty trunk for my 3rd Eye's glasses.

In order to tell the story of this year's Río team I will take a few weeks to answer this question from a personal and spiritual level. However, one answer is not as murky as the others. I will continue in subsequent blogs to describe the impressive membership of this year's team, but today I want to share the exciting news that our river grows.

AHMEN's Río de Agua Viva team has always flowed from the headwaters of AHMEN's Community Empowerment Program. Next year will be no different; however, next year, the affluent streams of each workshop location will be given priority over the main tributary.

Next year I will not be the only team leader leading the only team schedule for Río de Agua Viva. Next year the parts of our leadership team will each focus on an individual workshop area across the map of Honduras. We will lead our community development seminars in each of the following locations:

Michael Franklin - Intibucá (La Esperanza)
Greg Thompson - Atlántida (Jutiapa, Sambo Creek, Corozal)
Ken Hanson - Gracias a Dios (Raistá & Las Marias)
??? - Colón (Cusuna & Ciriboya)
??? - Yoro (Yorito)

The fact that my first team back to Honduras without my Uncle Tom here on earth resulted in a united plan to sustain AHMEN's Community Empowerment Program is no coincidence. Buttressing each workshop location with a volunteer support team has been a dream of ours for years now. The significance of our return is an eddy keeping the river flowing.

How we move downriver depends on you. Contact me today to learn how to join, donate or contribute your time to one of the several channels of AHMEN's Río de Agua Viva team. We're going on a boat ride! Are you comin'?

Together, we are the difference.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

No Risk, No Reward

The journey prepares the mind for intercultural dialogue.  First, we take a four hour plane ride, followed by a three hour truck ride.  It is another full day's travel by road, beach, and canoe to make it to the Honduran department of Gracias a Dios.  Gracias a Dios means, "Thank you God" and is aptly named because, that is what we say upon arrival to the Ibans Lagoon town of Raistá.

God is present everywhere upon our voyage; He/She/It provides shelter from the storm and has for AHMEN's 20 year history. I pray that God continues to bless everyone on our team, AHMEN's functionality, our many teams, and the people with which we work in Honduras.

The goal of the R
ío de Agua Viva team is to play a role in that blessing.  We are a community development and health education teaching team.  We strive to blur the lines between short-term relief and long-term development.  We are not a bandaid brand but a cochlear implant to stimulate the ears of justice to listen to the calls of the nation's most-disenfranchised communities.

This year our friends in Raistá requested the following subjects. Below is a a brief description of who, what, and how our team will address the local community's requests.

Business Education

Leslie Miralda and Greg Thompson will return this year to review the basics of building a budget, keeping track of finances, marketing, and long-term business planning. However, what makes this year's lesson special is its focus on agriculture. There is a lot of interest in the area in producing and marketing food!

Organic & Sustainable Community Gardening

Dixon Morales of ACSI-Cusuna and Sergio Ramirez of ACSI-Yorito will spend their time in Raistá working with the community agents to teach them how to prepare, plant, and manage a successful community garden. Dixon, Sergio, Greg, and Leslie will teach a "hybrid" lesson on Day 3 of the workshop to cement the need for the overlap of business acumen and garden management.

CPR/First Aid

For the fourth year in a row the master of cross-cultural pediatric education, Dr. Ben Coplan, will return to give his interactive refresher course for newborn and infant care. This year, Ben will be joined by I'Reka Jordan who will be delivering a CPR and First Aid course for adults. Together, these two will certify around 50 community agents in emergency lifesaving skills through an intensive, interactive practicum.

Clean Water Culture

The Río de Agua Viva team's alliance with Water With Blessings continues.  This year is a little different, though. This year Denis and Andrea will go visit all of the previous filter recipients and register them on their new Water Women App!  Doing so will encourage more informed feedback practices and help perpetuate a clean water culture throughout the several communities between Ebano and Brus Lagunas. Ken Hanson's job is to gather data to raise funds for ACSI water projects.

Sustainable Discipleship through Backpack Ministry

Leisha Boulware's Project Backpack ran a test trial over the course of the last year. Sergio Ramirez is also going to help follow up on this project. He worked as a teaching assistant last year with Tristan and Pastor Mario. Sergio's goal is to document the last year of using the backpack method with last year's trainees.


As the summer rises Autumn prepares for her return.  Our dear teacher from last year, Autumn Thornton, will be joining us for a continuation on her lesson from last year.  Autumn returns with an entire new set of interactive lessons geared toward encouraging the local population to confront and problem-solve the ecological and feminist issues throughout the local Miskito culture and throughout Honduras.

We do not journey to the most-isolated parts of Honduras proposing to "save" or "fix" anything. We go to let the people we work with know that the world has not abandoned them. We go with God, as Uncle Tom used to say.

I call on the World Bank and International Monetary Fund to promote peace in Honduras by funding a national clean water infrastructure, fund universal healthcare, and modernize the country's educational system.  Until this becomes an economic necessity for these organizations the Río de Agua Viva team will partner with local communities to promote justice by building relationships based on mutual love and respect.

If you would like to donate to the ACSI workshop system or this team, please do not hesitate to contact me .

Together, we are the difference.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Respuestas de Los Estudiantes

Shortly after the new year the Spanish Department at Franklin County High School rotated classrooms.  Students from each block spent 20 minutes with each of the Spanish teachers playing games in Spanish, watching educational videos, doing crafts, and in my class, finally seeing the faces on the children of Honduras receiving their shoe boxes.

I showed the students a slideshow of pictures of various children and adults receiving the Christmas Shoe Boxes in December.  I then asked students to watch the video we have of a young girl opening her shoe box.  To close our unit, I asked students to respond to the video in their Google Classroom, and I am amazed at all the kind and thoughtful ways our students at FCHS responded.

Together, we are the difference!