Update we forgot to publish on Fri....

Things have been moving steadily along in and out of Las Lomitas. Our time is currently split between Caliche, community development initiatives, and our time in our community.

Our community development time is mostly internally-focused, helping the staff here recognize their involvement in the country's development and trying to move HtH's practices more towards sustainable processes that don't create dependency or disempower the people with whom they work. However, this time is starting to open more into other initiatives as potential projects begin to move forward.

Our Caliche time has seen a group of engineering students from Dayton come and go to work on the filters there above the community. They had a very successful week and were able to check out the entire system as well as install the majority of the filters. This involved moving the 10,000 Liter tanks up to treatment house and sifting tons and tons of sand. This week, we'll be headed out see how close to full of sand the filters are before water is moved from the source to the treatment house.

Within the community, we've had some very exciting moments as well. With our community's leaders, we were able to meet with a national senator about the potential electricity project in Las Lomitas, and the outcome was very positive. We'll keep you up to date on how that process continues. We really feel like we have some exceptional leaders in the community and are very glad to see them stepping up to see their community grow in the right direction.

In addition, our rainwater collection system is up and running and have flushed our toilet for the first time and taken our first shower there at home. Needless to say, it was very exciting to see the cistern full of 1500 gallons of water and then be able to use it for our basic needs. The next step is to help some local folks understand that it's a possibility for them too.


Looking out my backdoor.

After a week that saw us eating beef tongue and armadillo tamales, the banana republic has decided it's more fun to bring live animals to gringos. This week has seen three new friends at the Eldridge Ranch.

1. Mangero

So, I got a call last week from Steve DeLisle who was here working.

"Kaleb, are you at your house?"
"Okay. I'll be there in a few minutes. I have something for you."

I thought, "Alright, more cans of Skyline chili!" What I did not think was of a miniature green toucan on stick. But as surely as the sun rises, when Steve arrived, he arrived with Mangero, the mango-eating Emerald Toucanet. 

Although I felt awful for keeping him tied-up, he was pretty neat. The plan was to keep him around a week or two to see if he was going to do okay in captivity, and if no, let him go. Unfortunately, Mangero went all Patrick Henry on me and chose death instead of life without freedom. I found him lifeless on the floor of the shed on our second sunrise together. Give me liberty or give me death indeed. Sorry about that buddy.

2. Huge nameless snake.

A couple of teenage guys came walking into the yard with a big feedsack suspended from a pole they were carrying with big smiles on their faces. "This," I thought, "will be good." Sure enough, I was pleased with what was in the sack.

Caption Foreground: Big dumb happy white man, with big dumb unhappy snake.

 Caption Background: Big dumb, prideful turkey.
What was presently unceremoniously dumped from the sack was a 7-ft long common boa constrictor with a girth alarmingly similar to my leg. It was a beautiful, dumb, slow-moving creature. Our neighbors thought that it would make a charming pet, Stacey however, disagreed. I had also instantly come to the conclusion that I had no interest in giving it food.

The snake himself and the feathery reason that everyone here kills them. (These things eat chickens.)
As opposed to seeing the thing go the way of the toucan or the machete, we threw him back in the sack and drove him down to a nice deserted area and let him free. I assume he's now happily eating someone else's chickens down that way.

3. The rats.

In addition this week, we received some useful additions to the family known as guatusas. Apparently, they're actually Central American Agoutis. For rodents, they're fairly cute and unobtrusive, kind of a mix between a rabbit and a guinea pig.

The reason we say they're useful is that we received a breeding pair (male and female if you're wondering how that works), and they're edible. So, these animals here are the pets, the forthcoming children will be the breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Let's hope they're tasty.

On a somewhat serious note, these were actually a big blessing. We were looking to identify a local animal that:
  • Could be eaten in one meal. (Almost a necessity since refrigeration is not available.)
  • Breeds easily. (They're rodents.)
  • Is accepted locally as a food source.
  • Adds valuable protein to the diet.
  • Could be trialed at low cost.
Needless to say, these fit the prayers fairly precisely. We're looking forward to giving them a taste over the coming months and see how they do in captivity. They're apparently fairly common captive animals in the rural areas. They are hunted for food, but in captivity, they're viewed more as pets. So, the only introduction to the party would be the idea of seeing them as hairy chickens. Please pray for this process that the idea is accepted. If accepted, it could lower the hunting pressure on the surrounding population and lead to a new unique food source for local communities.

Other pets:
In addition to the three above (to clarify, of these three, only the rats live with us now), Echo is still with us and doing quite well. He's growing rapidly, and in no danger of being eaten.

We'll see what the next week might bring.

Damos gracias a Dio por: el monton de animales nuevos que viven aqui cerca a nosotros. (We give thanks to God for all the new animals that live here close to us.)


Weekly Update... Late edition

Living without internet has inevitably reduced our typing time, but we've resolved to do a better job of it over the coming weeks. Sorry for those of you that hang on our every word, waiting for the latest AMAZING update (all 2 of you, love you moms).

Since you last heard from us, we've been very busy, but happily so. We've been involved in a lot of community development meetings and planning within the ministry, and we're really looking forward to the future of this  ministry. So many changes are happening to move us toward self-sustainability and away from dependency. We feel very strongly that for too long, we as Christians have moved away from the Biblical principal of self-sustenance (check out Titus and 2 Thessolonians for more on that). As a result, we've disempowered many people around the world with a false gospel of dependency, resulting in many third world countries standing with hand outstretched, waiting for a handout. The processes and priorities we're putting in place currently as a ministry is moving us away from this model towards a process that's more empowering and Biblical.

 At the house, we're wrapping up the last construction project (the rainwater cistern), and can't wait to fill it up with the big spring rains. All said and done, we'll have about 5000 liters available of clean water. We're excited. We'll do a big post once we're all finished up with the house and the water situation.

We've also been heavily involved in Caliche over the past couple of weeks. We're nearing the final stages of the project and it's getting very exciting. This past week, a group of engineering students from the University of Dayton were here helping with the installation of the biosand filters and assessing the other structures along the line. The project is really incredible and we can't wait to see the finished project. Never in my life have I seen such dedication as I've seen from the folks in Caliche on this. Very motivated folks.

Sorry that it's such a quick update, but we're really doing well and will try to put together some more informative posts here over the coming week to explain a little better what's going on.

Thanks for checking in!

Damos gracias a Dios por: una clima increible donde podemos dormirnos bien. (We give thanks to God for an incredible climate where we can sleep well.)



Over the past week we’ve had 3 birthdays with our closest neighbors.  Pastor Erick turned 27 on April 21st.  Stacey made him a cake and we celebrated with the family that lives cati-corner to us.  He is dating their daughter Karen (long distance – she’s working in San Pedro Sula) so they are the only “family” he has here since he’s from a city about 2 hrs. away.

Left to right: Marina, Suyapa, Llovani (in the back), Lidia (purple shirt), Marleni, Antonio, Erick, and in the front are Jose and Lencho.

Writing in cursive was a little bit of a mistake culturally, not many understood.

The twins next door and a few other kids enjoyed playing with the left over icing.

The next day the smallest boy in that family, Dani, (he’s not in the picture above because he had already fallen asleep for the night) turned 3.  His celebration included a piƱata that all the neighborhood kids joined in on, balloons, and eating tamales.  He is the smaller one in this picture, he is standing with his brother Jose. 
Jose and Dani
Then on April 30th our next door neighbor, Nauh, turned 15.  He is the one who has been by our side volunteering work since the first ditch we dug for our house, so we made him a cake as well.  We can’t make cakes for everyone in the community but we thought it appropriate as a thank- you to the 2 people who have helped us every day – Erick and Nauh.  Cakes are not very common in Las Lomitas, so it was quite an event and many came to watch Stacey create.  There are a handful of girls who are interested in learning with the idea of a future business!  This is why we're here - how exciting to teach a skill to provide a living for a few people!  What skill can you bring to Las Lomitas to last a life time?  We'd love for you to come and share it!

Our biggest helper, Nauh.

Instead of writing in cursive like I usually do, I wrote in manuscript because many people could not read the cursive on Erick's cake the week before.  Cursive is not something taught in the rural schools.
We also went fishing for Nauh’s birthday, it was only his second time to go fishing in his whole life so he was very excited all day building up to the moment we left. We left around 4pm and got back around 9pm to take advantage of fishing at dusk.  We used fishing line with hooks on the end, fishing rods are not very common down here.  We only came home with 6 fish, but it was an exciting outing for all.

Headed down the path to the lake carrying plantains as a gift to the man who let us fish there, coke for a drink, line, hooks, and pails full of worms.

The fish we left with.