The Hayes Zoo

Our Purpose

- to know God and use our entire lives in service to Him.

- to stand in the gap through prayer, giving and service to viable ministries in Latin America.

- to be transparent helpers of fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, using our resources and skills that through the Holy Spirit, we might encourage and equip those who have less.

- to share a living perspective from Latin America to our churches, friends and family in the states and beyond.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

A white Christmas in Gracias, Lempira - this is the view from two houses down from us; the mountain is Celaque, the highest in Honduras.

Wishing all our family, friends, supporters, blog readers and anyone else interested in what we do here a Feliz Navidad y año nuevo, y que Dios les bendiga en todo.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

ford meets ford ...

The photo behind our title above is of a river crossing that we use here on a somewhat regular basis. On the other side of the river are 5 or 6 villages totaling a few thousand people, to some of whom we give food every month as part of the special needs program - i.e, families with physical and/or mental handicaps. Our Ford pickup is in the 'special needs' category now as well; though the picture looks tranquil enough, the water is about 2 feet deep most of the way across - to the top of the wheel rims and to the bottom of the doors on our truck. This, when the water is relatively low. We'll have a few tubes of heavy-duty marine wheel-bearing grease on the Christmas shipment this year.

I'll add some pictures to the slide-show of the trip last week to Quelacasque, the main village on the other side of the river crossing above; there are about 15 families in the area that recieve monthly food, and in this case, Christmas gifts of clothing, school supplies, toys, soap /toothbrush /toothpaste, and other things. Some readers might recognize Samaritan's Purse shoeboxes amoungst the gifts.

One family in particular that we visited while in Quelacasque has a 13-year old daughter who is severely mentally retarded and physically deformed. The daughter's name is Kenya, and she is completely confined to a wooden-slat crib. The family has a wheel-chair for Kenya, but due to her deformities it really doesn't fit her at all, and is practically unusable on the dirt and rock paths - this village is probably 10 miles from the nearest sidewalk or paved road. Beyond this, as she grows, she is becoming quite a handful for her mother and grandmother to move. The family asked that we pray for Kenya, for her healing; I said of course we would, but at this point am at a loss for anything to do for them beyond that.

Another woman in the special needs program has contracted some sort of skin fungus and has been told after three years of antibiotics that the only remedy is to surgically remove the affected skin. This is a little more cheerful situation in that there seems to be a solution available, but at this point she still has no way to pay for the surgery.

On the way back to Gracias we gave a lift to a couple of young sisters from the village on their way to sell tortillas in town. These girls, probably aged 8 and 12, typically walk the several miles into Gracias by themselves, balancing baskets of tortillas on their heads to sell in the local market. (There is a good footbridge across the river.) Once the tortillas are sold, they will walk home again. If they sell all their tortillas, we calculated the total take will be around US$6 or 7.

I feel extremely blessed to be able to hope for truck grease for Christmas.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Food Tales.......................

Good afternoon!!

I'm so excited just to be able to post that I'm going to! The internet is up and working (aside from a 12 hour blackout after the original install) so we're clicking away! I'm hoping that little glitch last night doesn't turn into a regular thing. Usually I'm working on the computer in the late evening or early morning. It will seriously goof up the routine here if I have to work banker's hours...but then I'm not going to complain one little bit as we're SOOOO thankful to have internet back AT ALL after almost two months without regular connections.


Things have been plugging along here. We received another shipment of food boxes the other day. These will be given out to the special needs families and for an extra part of the Gifts for Gracias program later this month. Did you know that a shipment of said boxes can turn into a math problem for a 5th grader? We had Riley doing some figuring on how many we had and how many would fill up the pallets - then how many that made total. Hmmmm.....he can do it just fine without a pencil and paper. I guess that gives him an 'A' on that test. :)

Here are some pictures of the unloading crew and what is now in our 'carport'. 646 boxes to be exact. It works out fine because actually, we can't fit our truck inside here. I have seriously considered whether or not we could convert part of this into a kids' bedroom but for now that plan is on hold. :) I was hanging my laundry there but we're rearranging that one.

Other than that, we've spent some time organizing and streamlining some box projects at the Sowers' place. Their house has had to become a warehouse in holding all the shipment items so we're trying to help in clearing a path. :) At least until the next shipment arrives in a week or so...

Alan has been helping with water deliveries for a construction project, welding parts here and there, contacting local pastors in preparation for the Christmas project, and of course, the usual hunting and gathering that is required to function. :)

Speaking of the hunting and gathering project (you thought I was kidding didn't you?!): here is a photo of his latest conquest.

In the last couple of weeks for some reason I've found the grocery shopping d.a.u.n.t.i.n.g.....maybe it's because I'm trying to keep track of kids, bags, spanish, general conversations, and carting said items all at the same time. This is NOT for the faint of heart. So I've abdicated. Not permanently, just for the week (or so...) My knight in shining armour has come to my aid and said he would do it for me. Bless your heart my dear, I am very spoiled.

All those fruits (plus the rice, beans, and popcorn -he FOUND SOME!!!) Alan got for less than $200 Lempira - around $10 USD. This will last us about a week for fruit. Our diet here is a bit different from in Mexico as there aren't NEARLY the variety of chilies or inexpensive meat we got used to. Thankfully rice and beans are still pretty common so that is our staple. The meat is fairly expensive so we're sticking mostly with fruits, veggies and eggs. I try and add in meat once or twice a week but probably 90% is the other. We're still trying to sort out our food budget and such (learning new money and conversions is hard on my brain!) but hopefully we'll be able to stick really close to what we spent in Mexico even with things being a bit more costly.

Normally grocery shopping happens in the morning. After 10 you're taking serious steps towards insanity unless you thrive on crowds, of course. In the late afternoon the shops are closing up too so that option is out. There is the main 'mercado' where most of the fruit and vegetable stands have their wares out for you to price shop and buy. Down the strip (barely two people wide to give you an idea on space) are the folks that sell the dried beans and rice out of baskets. Tortillas are on the way out. Some cheese vendors are in there too. For the most part though if you want meat, dairy, or general dried goods you need to go to another store. So, it's usually a 3-4 stop process to get the groceries for a few days. We've found a couple of other fruit/veggie stands outside that main market that we're shopping at too.

Now; I have been blessed. Not only by a husband who will brave the crowds, but by local ladies who come selling vegetables door to door. They come knocking and announcing what they have and we go and look. So far, their prices have only been one or two Lempiras different from what I'm being quoted in the market so I'm buying from them. They come every other day for the most part and it's fabulous. Usually once a week at least they give me some freebies too. I'm anxious to get to know them a bit through this process. They sure have been a blessing to me personally by lessening this little stressor.

Here's a picture of the veggies I got from my door to door girls. They know that I like the MEXICAN avocados (yes, I've asked about them on several occasions...) so they get those especially for us! They are much more expensive here (9 Lempira ea. $.50 - don't hate me, okay?) than in Mexico but are loaded with vitamins and my kids love them. Call them our 'treat' food. The normal Honduran avocados are rounder, harder and have no flavor so we're splurging for the moment. All this I got for 93 Lempira (around $4.75 USD) This will be probably 4-5 meals worth of veggies.

I hope that you've enjoyed a little 'taste' of our area for today. Tonight though, we're going completely off the charts and having spagetti. Go figure... Comfort food comes in all shapes, sizes, and flavors!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I'm here to announce....

WE HAVE INTERNET IN THE HOUSE NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You can't imagine how cut off we've been. BUT that is going to change now!

We'll be responsible in checking in with you more regularly.
We'll be able to respond to your questions in a timely manner.
We'll be able to post more pictures.
We'll be able to check for YOUR updates.

Sigh - I am very grateful today for technology.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Pilas and Widomakers - oh my..........

Yes, I wrote WidowMaker up there! Here is a picture................

Here is an explanation - this is how we have hot (semi) water for showers. There are ways to get propane hook ups but that would involve buying a big tank and spending money and time we don't feel we have. We'll go with the local version.

You know those electric tea kettles you can buy these days? Same technology. But they are called widow makers for a reason. The kids and I know not to TOUCH IT. Especially wet. Alan installed a switch so we can have it 'loaded' or 'safe'. :) Alan had to basically rewire the house to get it set up though. He's so amazing...and I'm so grateful. The only drawback is that you can't have much water pressure going if you want the water past frigid. Oh well...

Pila - this needs a definition.

A pila is a GIANT water reservoir that is a necessary here. There are two washboards on either side and this huge tub. You fill it with water and that's your emergency. Actually - it's where most people just have their laundry water come from. THANKS to the Lord, I have a washing machine...I've used the pila to do laundry the long way and it's really time consuming and hard on the clothes. Helpful though! Here are a few pictures in me getting ours ready to use. Yes, I am IN the pila cleaning it. It's SO helpful though when we don't have water in the house! Trish Sowers did a longer explanation on her blog about the REAL uses and ettiquete. I'll let her do the BIG lowdown on it for least I have the visual aids! :)