So I have grabbed a few minutes to report back from my trip to Honduras last week.
Mark and Rosalie Balfour, from St.Peter's Church in Maidenhead, met me in Honduras and we spent the next 10 days together.
Two days were spent with the AFE project working with the kids and families on the city rubbish dump. The AFE project is such an inspiration and it was great to see the progress since my last visit.
A group of students have now graduated from the AFE school including a boy called Rene who was one of the first kids to be rescued from the dump nearly 10 years ago. He and another 8 students are now studying hard in college or in university.
I was keen to look at the business potential of the AFE site and what could be developed there in order to help sustain the project in the long term.
Mark and Rosalie (photo above) visited the dump and helped hand out food and water to those working there. We were able to inform the children that next week a school will start for them on the dump. The dump school is the first step for the children in gaining entrance to the AFE School across the road from the dump.
We then spent 6 days with the children at the Manuelito children's home in Talanga.
Thanks to Lindfield Nursery, Amersham we were able to give out Christmas presents to all the children. I know it is quite late in the year but I had to bring them with me on the plane and the kids were thrilled to have Christmas in February.
Mark and Rosalie were able to organise some craft activities for the children in the afternoons and Mark and I led a PE session for the older children, which went down really well.
The home is blessed with a large amount of land and a small farm project has started but continues to struggle for lack of someone to run it. I was keen to see how the Exagris company in Guatemala could explore options with Manuelito to better use the land and produce a regular harvest for the sustainability of the home.
I am concerned by the number of work teams now coming each year and the number of buildings being built by them with little support of the ongoing running costs. For example money is given towards the construction of a new building but was little money for food. This meant that some days the children have very little food and that was very hard to deal with.
Our day with the boys in the Manuelito Transitional Home in the capital was such fun. We took the boys out for a wander around the city centre and treated them to a McDonald's ice cream. Then we searched around for a football pitch we could hire for an hour and found a brilliant all-weather pitch which hosted a England vs Honduras match. England won of course!
On our return to the home Santo and Vlademer (photo) made us friendship bands and we played more football before having to say goodbye.
We were then invited to speak in a church in the North of Honduras on the Sunday but Rosalie became unwell and was taken into hospital. I then had to speak in the church and was given 1 hour to speak! People responded well to my testimony and they took upo an offering for the Manuelito home. Thanks to Pastor Luis for the invite and for the lady who owns a petrol station in town who offered me free petrol whenever I was passing!
I left the next day for Guatemala but popped in to the hospital to visit Rosalie who was much better. On leaving the hospital I got stuck in a lift with Pastor Pinto, his wife and one amazing guy called Carlos. It was a new experience and fun climbing out of a lift stuck between floors.
Looking forward to going back next week with Matt Levett and Rebekah Green, my last visit before the team from Amersham come out in July.