I know that it has been a while since we've posted pictures, and the truth is that we haven't been taking many. However, I thought we'd throw up a few to give you a little visual insight into our last couple of months. Enjoy.

Clear Water. As of this week, we´re filtering the water that enters into the cistern. Once the water fills the prewash tank (on the right), the water now flows through a gravel/sand filter. The water enters the top of the tank then immediately passes through a screen, then gravel larger than 1", then pea gravel, then sand. At the bottom is a screened exit with large rock and pea gravel, from there it passes directly to the cistern. This should catch the remainder of the dirt that hits the roof during storms here. We'll see if it keeps the cistern cleaner. We're gone through a couple of strong storms now and the design has capacity to handle them. We'll clean the cistern this week to see if there's a noticeable difference in water quality.

True Development. The biggest news of these past couple of months is that Mountain Dew is now distributed in Honduras, and it's delicious (with cane sugar, not that yucky corn stuff). The can is even cooler than in the States, it's black with the new logo. Needless to say, I'm participating in this new cultural activity. So far, the majority of our acquaintances like Manteen Du, they're just lacking my passion. I'll continue in the evangelism though, in the hopes to win a few...

"Hau ar ju?" When the Ambassador students were in Las Lomitas, we had a "language exchange" with them. Lots of ladies showed up, but the sight of a bunch of young white women proved too much for the guys. They all hung around to watch them come out, but only one guy participated. I've ridden the bunch of sissies pretty hard on that one. Overall, it was a productive time and the teens of Las Lomitas had a great chance to try out they're language skills.

Yummy. This is a passion flower, which is what proceeds a passion fruit. These crazy flowers cover an even crazier vine. I was told by Hondurans that these vines grow like crazy, but they say a lot of things, so I paid them little heed. So, I planted three. After six months of waiting, they all of a sudden exploded into growth, and now my very life is threatened by their ever-encroaching presence. Needless to say, we're going to be making a lot of passion fruit juice. Good thing we like it.

Yummy? Our neighbors brought us a new meal. Chicken feet. No, it's not a joke. 

Authority figure. Without soliciting outside opinions, Fredy decided to cut off the bottom half of his goatee. This did not go unnoticed. When asked about why he invited this caterpillar to reside on his upper lip, he replied "It gives me a increased appearance of authority." I told him that was nice, but then took the low road and mocked him for two weeks. I'm happy to report that he has now shaved it off and the goatee is making a return.


Animals that aren't for eating. The dog is now starting to guard the house, and the cat eats all-comers in the house. They're performing their desired function. However, the cat enjoys using herself as a living shield against all attempts at reading, and the dog likes scaring the poop out of the chickens (not a difficult task, but still unwelcome).

Animals that are for eating. This is a close-up of one of currently-living, delicious-looking chickens. They really are beautiful creatures. But, as with all tasty animals, it's what's on the inside that counts.

Real professionals. We're indebted to the help we've received from Katie and Nick Mueller. These two are a couple that also happen to be a couple of engineers. Kate designed the purification system in Caliche, and her husband recently accompanied her on a fact-finding trip to analyze several potential projects: water purification in La Concepcion, water in Las Lomitas, and a sewage project in La Cuesta. This couple worked so very hard and accomplished a great deal. Thanks from us and the Moustached Wonder.

Achote. These are seeds from the achote tree. These are used as coloring and flavoring in some local foods. These were at a local lady's house for grinding. Most commonly, it is used in a local food called "pastelitos," which are more or less empanadas everwhere else. Delicious stuff.

Birthday celebration. The tiniest neighbor in this picture (Abi) just celebrated her first birthday. She was the surprise birth in Las Lomitas last year. We'd been living next door to her mom for months and had no idea she was pregnant, we found out later she was hiding it. It was a pretty neat trick. As you can see though, she very, very real, and very, very cute.

Pretty flower. We decided to plant flowers in the yard. This is our first one. It's pretty.

"Big Sexy Man." 18 months after meeting him, Buddy has grown up quite a bit. He's still very helpful, but his recent interest in the ladies has reduced his frequency around the house. Turns out that there are things more interesting than gardens and big ugly gringos. However, he's still our biggest fan and helps us out in more ways than we can say. He's still a great kid. He's trying out his English more and more, including the title here.

Ghetto repair. The dry-rotted leather seal on our rainwater pump pooped out and increased our pumping time from 20 minutes to 60 minutes. We've got a new one on the way, but we've made a temporary one in the meantime that works alarmingly well. Stacey sewed me up a nice ring of old jean, then we cinched it into a crease with some nylon. From there, we covered it with hot wax and then melted it repeatedly to impregnate the material. Necessity is the great mother here.

Toys in the darkness. This is a 10 second time-lapse of a glowing worm's trail across our living room floor. At different times of the year, different fluorescent bugs make spectacular appearances. These quick little worms are my personal favorite. They glow dimly until you touch them, then they explode with a million little pinholes of light.

War. The battle with scorpions has gone high-tech. At some point, I remembered that scorpions glow under UV light. And glow they do. When we find a glowing dot, we don't play games; it gets nuked with Raid. No hidey holes for you, disgusting creatures of the night. We're on the offensive now. We will find you, and we will kill you.


Fight for the Light

It has been a long time since we've talked about the electricity project in Las Lomitas, but that doesn't mean that we haven't been working. We have been, just not in the traditional sense. No sweat, no blood, but plenty of crazy. For the past months, we've been chasing down every politician that will give us a meeting. So to update, after a long dead spell, we made a connection a with a powerful director within the national electric company, the ENEE in March. At his word, we informed some donors that made some very generous gifts to prepare ourselves to work starting in May. The donors came through, the director did not. No action was taken.

Soon thereafter, I was summoned by a neighbor to come meet the "mayor" who had just arrived in our little village. This confused me since I already know the mayor, but assumed it was I misunderstood the Spanish. I didn't. It was a mayor want-to-be from the other party trying to make friends with the Gringo. I thought, "It won't hurt to meet this new guy. Any connection is a welcome one." Soon after I shake his hand, he starts to promise about how the electricity project will arrive for free, that the people shouldn't work on this project, he would provide it all, just sit back and wait he says -- IT'S ON ITS WAY! He and the Gringo probably won't be friends after all. It was a really hot day, my stomach was a little off, and I had grown weary of political types abusing the people here. So, in as many words, I let him know that all help aimed for the good of the people here is welcome, but the help of lying selfish politicians not so much. That was a couple of months ago and people still joke with me about it.

Since then, we've been on the phone innumerable times with the Electrical Director Supreme, the Upright Infallible Congresswoman, and the Mayor. We've been in personal homes, offices near and far, and vehicles of all shapes, sizes, and numbers of functional tires. We wouldn't be doing this however, if there weren't two people with us every step of the way: Pastor Erick and community President Pablo. Together, these two represent the leadership of the community of Las Lomitas, and they have endured lie after lie after lie long before we arrived. As leaders, they've arrived home late from meetings, chased down lead after lead, and given up a great deal of personal money in transportation and days of work lost. Pablo faithfully meets with the community to encourage and unite them even after hope seems lost. But hope is not lost.

The community has decided that enough is enough, and we are right with them. As a community, we are shooting for a start date of August 20. Should we not have irrefutable evidence that the project will start in the imminent future, action will be taken. After meeting today with the Electrical Director Supreme and Mayor, it was decided that Pablo and I will be traveling to Tegucigalpa with the Mayor tomorrow in order to determine the truth about the project at the national headquarters of the ENEE. The Director will also meet us there, and the opposing party's congresswoman called upset informing us that she would also like to come. Tomorrow will dictate the future of electricity in Las Lomitas.

This is a perfect example of development as we often share. Yes, we could have pushed through and tried to do it alone (all with donor money) and fast (according to US timetable) but all of this true, lasting, personal and communal development would be lost.  Our goal is not the project, but the process. This is why we are passionate about "community development" and this is where we see God doing great things.

Tomorrow will be the climax of a year and a half of running around. Should we manage to squeeze all of these egos into one room and ask the important questions, we may actually discover the truth. This has been an incredibly frustrating several months, but it is looking like action will soon happen. This flurry of action and emotion has done incredible things in the community though.

It is an election year here in Honduras, and the whole country is in a red vs. blue battle. Politicians feel overempowered and begin to crank up their aggressiveness, taking advantage of uneducated people in small villages and turning them on each for a color without meaning. Promises are made to keep the oppressed waiting while the politicians never take action.  Unfortunately this tactic has been highly effective in Las Lomitas, but on the flip-side has opened up a dialogue that presses for unity. The most powerful thing that can happen to unite a people is to give them a common enemy, and the emotion that the word "politico" inspires has recently become more powerful than a respective color. Using some red and blue colored water, we demonstrated the potential in a united community, a purple community. The idea that lasting change can only come from within the community is now beginning to take root. As faith in politicians fails, hope in the potential of a small community and recognition of worth in Christ is beginning to rise. We are crossing through a critical moment in this small community's history.

Our neighbors have been oppressed by lies for years now. Because of its size, no politician has considered Las Lomitas worth their time or effort and that sentiment is reflected in the people's self-esteem. They know that no-one cares. Part of our goal of being here has been to instigate development through relationship building and this has been a case study in its merits. Tomorrow I hope to see with my own eyes, a resolved leader from a tiny, rural Honduran town in the national capital, hours away from his home, meeting with leaders at the national level looking for truth to bring development to his people. 'To loose the chains of oppression, and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free.' That is our charge.



Well, I just saw today's date, and the last post date. This pretty well confirms my suspicion that I'm a lousy blogmaster. Sorry if anyone depends on these posts as a source of happiness. If you do, please find something else to keep you entertained.

Life has been busy, but we're doing well. Since I last updated, we've been through our first legitimate case of parasites. Fortunately they were giardia, not the wormy kind. So, we just ended up burping Hell's air freshener for a few days and seeing how fast we could liquify things and move them through our intestinal tract. (If traveler's diarrhea is a 1990 Mustang GT, then giardia puts us in a brand new Ferrari). But, we're back on our feet and off of the toilet; life is good.

The rain has started back up and the garden is planted out. So, that's nice. Nighttime temperatures have returned to sub-baking temperatures, and I seem to be sweating much more normal amounts. Our puppy is becoming Dog and beginning to do Dog things. Like get stupid muddy and then jumping on us. She's also proven her worth in identifying multiple toads and then barking until they can't hear.

We've also been hanging out with a group of students for the past couple weeks. The students from the ambassador students have bounced around, visited, hiked, lived, and vomited with us. We really hope that they'll be able to learn from what they've seen. We hope that Aubrey, Taylor, Genelle, Stephanie, Micah, Colleen, Chelsea, and Jesse follow their hearts, make hard decisions, and love hard. 

Happy 4th!