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.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Foody Friday

Well today's food post is a bit of a switch. It might not even be that exciting for you....but for ME it's a big deal.


It has to do with a treat that my hubby brought back from the BIG city of San Pedro Sula (4 hours away) for me. :)

I miss some of the more healthy, exciting greens that are hard to find here. Not to mention funky cheeses, oils, veggies, meats, spices, chilies, salsas, grains, THAI FOOD...but I digress.

He brought me THIS; one of my favorite foods on earth, which I have not tasted for almost 3 years. (edited to add - these are DATES. )

Yes, Michelle Spencer...I mean that.

and THIS...which is better than chocolate in my opinion. (edited to add - this is SPINACH)

and a bunch of foofy, pretty, dark green lettuces too.

Big deep sigh....he really loves me.

Now - see what I made with them???

Green smoothies...yum.

He loves me A LOT to be drinking that don't you think? It's why he's so darn healthy and can do the superman type things he does here, at least, that's what I tell him. Oh wait...that was Popeye wasn't it?? He's more Superman than Popeye. :)

Buen Provecha....


Friday, October 23, 2009

Foodie Friday

October 23, 2009

Platanos....they aren't bananas.

We were given some last week by Saturnina, one of the special needs moms and we brought them home and promptly got to work on them. After, of course, they had to give me a little lesson in how to cook them. They thought it was a bit funny I didn't know how....

Shoot - didn't get a picture of that. No worries; you're not missing much.




See my cool cast iron pot with lid that doubles as a small skillet??? I LOVE cast iron. It just makes more sense.

Back to topic.

You fry them up and get this....

They are the texture of a baked potato with only a hint of banana taste. Serve as a side dish with your rice and beans and tortillas and you have a very typical dish. This is what we did and they weren't bad. :)

I was told you can do them 'dulce' too if you'd like. Just add sugar instead of salt. I'm sure carmelized sugar would be fun...we'll see for next time.

Buen Provecha...


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A breath of fresh air....

Don't you hate it when all people can talk about is the weather?

Well....I'm going to for a moment.

The SUPER HOT spell is taking a hiatus...

...and I couldn't be happier!!!

We've been wearing jeans and a long sleeve shirts for two days in a row.

I feel like my brain is back in the "ON" position. I don't know how long this will last but I'm taking deep breaths of cool air and enjoying it while I can.

How's your weather???

Friday, October 16, 2009

Foodie Friday....with a twist.

Today we did the food delivery for the special needs families.

The Sowers family gets Kids Against Hunger boxes shipped down in containers from the states that they use for their feeding centers along with this special program. Basically, these families are not only from an incredibly poor aldea (community) but have one or more children with serious disabilities.

Every month we take out a portion of boxes to supplement their diets. These bags contain rice, dehydrated veggies, Textured Vegetable Protein, and a variety of vitamins and minerals added in. This bag containes 6-8 portions.

Anyway - normally Alan takes these boxes all the way out to Quelecasque but with the rainy season - there are times when he can't get across in the truck. We try to check with the ladies a few days before we go out to see how the river is and whether vehicles are crossing to save them the 2 hour WALK to meet us at the bridge (THEN the 2 hour walk HOME with the boxes) but this time we couldn't get through. We went figuring the river was impassable but GRACIAS A DIOS we were able to get over.

When we got there we had fun chatting and oohing and ahhing over Maria Carla's new baby. She's healthy and darling and they are very grateful to God for that.

We were presented with a gift of Platanos
which will be in a future 'foodie' post and a chicken. I have already dealt with butchered chickens so THAT won't show up in a future FOOD related post; unless it has to do with eggs.

See the 'peace' sign? We mean it - at least for this chicken...

Here's a picture of the food delivery truck.... (look - I let my kids go on that ride!! What a mom.)

I was on the bridge with the rest of the ladies.

has to take 'the truck being a real truck and fording a large river' picture you know.

.....Why yes, it's a 4 x4....

....even though you can't see the tires. (!!!!)

.....Whew! He made it. Alan is awesome and has been given the spiritual gift of driving that monster. I mean it - it's spiritual. I pray a lot.

We met up on the other side and away we went. It was a fun ride for us as I was able to get to chat with some of the ladies that were riding up front and it's rather entertaining for all to be in a vehicle on that road....

As we were talking they were mentioning the huge economic problems, the climate and the effect it has on their crops and therefore their available FOOD. It is an enormous issue. They've said this food is a huge help to provide for their families. As basic as it is - it's something for them to put on the table and they are grateful.

They mentioned several prayer needs that I would like to pass on.

Margarita Benitez - (She is on the far right of the picture with Maria Carla and her baby) She has had some ongoing health issues with something akin to Epilepsy. The local doctors don't have much with which to treat this. Also, her husband is taking some classes for ordination and tomorrow is his final exam!

Maria Carla - (mama to the new baby) She's had some post baby physical aliments that are wearing her down, neck pain along with headaches. Plus, one of her sons, the one with the major physical/mental condition is becoming somewhat beligerent and physically hard to handle

So as we sit down at our table, we'll be remembering these ladies in prayer. 'Foodie Friday' lesson for me is to be thankful for the abundance that God has blessed us with and pray that I'm able to share it all as willingly as these ladies do.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Last week....

...the truck went in the shop. Maintenance you know...things tend to fall apart at the speed of sound. Must be something to do with these roads.

...truck was finished 12 hours before we realized we HAD TO LEAVE the country to stay legal.

....packed. In spite of the water being shut off. I hate leaving dirty laundry especially when someone else is going to be staying at the house.

...401 miles. That just doesn't sound like much. Rough roads. Pot holes the depth of a TIRE on the truck. Horses, cows, kids all in the road and or laying on the side of it. There are NO such things as 'shoulders' on roads here. Curvy, windy, up mountains, down mountains...sections of road G.O.N.E.. Crazy drivers. Barfy kids.

...3 border crossings. Money and paperwork flying. Paying to Ceasar...paying to Ceasar.

....72 hours on the OTHER side of the Belizean border. Yes, we were down to the wire.

...turn around and do it all in reverse.

...Home. Safe, gracias a Dios and hopefully still sound of mind. The body hurts a bit though. Legal. Whew....we wondered there for a few minutes.

So - what did you do last week?


Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sunday Morning Music

THIS is one of my favorite hymns.....

I first heard this arrangement when I was around 18 years old. LOVED it. Bought the tape (cassette tape....yes....I'm from THAT generation) and wore. it. out.

Now - this hyms speaks to me in a different way. Not only is the harmony and pure joy of the music thrilling, the words....sigh....the words.

Present tense.

He Leadeth Me.

Enjoy and listen hard.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

more bridge work

Under the gun and feeling guilty because it's been, well, probably months since I've written an update on what I (Alan) have been doing here. Both of our regular blog readers have now written and asked Faith if I'm dead.

In amongst delivering building materials to help rebuilding of houses destroyed in the recent earthquake and helping with the monthly pastor's training school here, I have spent quite a lot of time the past months helping with the design and construction of a few cable bridges. In a few cases this has involved spending the night in the local town while working multiple days on something.

One of the bridges is at a village named Monte de la Virgin, perched on the side of mount Celaque, an hour and a half away over a hideous road. There is an existing bridge on the site, a walk-bridge; women and children sometimes use the walk-bridge, and sometimes bypass the bridge and walk through the river, because using the bridge means hopping over broken spots and big holes 30 feet above the river, while the bridge itself sways and dips wildly. The new bridge here is big enough to support vehicle traffic, up to a point; the entrances to the bridge are built 8 feet by 8 feet square, to keep vehicles over the size limit off. The bridge is a suspension-type, and uses cables connected to the tops of 22-foot-tall towers to carry the weight. There are connection-points built into the abutments for the suspension cables on top of the towers, the cables under the deck and chain-link fencing down both sides. At this point, all the cement work for the bridge has been completed, and we will be working the rest of this week and those following on stringing and connecting the cables and installing the wood deck.

These odd-looking things are mounted in the tops of the towers, and are what the suspension cables connect to.

Starting to form the towers on the second side. The far side is complete in this picture. As is suggested in the picture, every pound of cement in these abutments and anchors was mixed on-site, by hand, with sand and gravel from the river, and carried in buckets to where it's needed, in the final case by bucket-brigade 25 feet up the scaffolding to the tops of the towers.

A closer view of the completed towers on the first side. I find this area fascinating in that on both sides of the river are piles of jumbled, river-smoothed, huge rocks, some as big as houses, and stacked 3 or 4 stories high. If the river ever gets high enough to move those rocks, I'm not betting any money on the bridge.

Another bridge we have been working on is a walk-bridge; there are now at least a couple of this design that are completed or nearing completion near a town called Mapulaca. We made a trip to the first of these a couple weeks ago to deliver and hang the cable.

This bridge entails 4 cables below the deck and two more at hand-rail height. The lower cables connect to a pipe with welded re-bar set into the cement, similar to the design of the vehicle bridge.

A top view of the lower cables and connecting bar.

One of very few pictures I have of myself actually doing anything. Fashion credits: muchisimas gracias to Fred for the donation of the waterproof boots - they came in handy, as I waded the river about 12 times that day. Also to Alex for the pants. Duct-tape work on the gloves courtesy of Red Green.

Cables in place and ready for the decking. This bridge is designed to support a couple of loaded pack animals.

Related to the bridge projects, Riley and I also recently spent a day dismantling and old walk-bridge that had been replaced. This was a spectacular trip as the work involved stripping all the usable wood off the bridge cables, and then cutting the cables and allowing the whole thing to fall into the river with a crash; this was Riley's favorite part. We salvaged all the cable to be used for other bridges, while all the wood was piled and left at the bridge site for the local people to use for themselves.