Awaiting Baby

This week we finish April and enter MAY. We both love the month of May!  It is warming up, but still cool enough. Tulips are yielding to trilliums, rain loses its sting and begins to nourish, grass stops crunching and starts glowing. Stacey is out walking as much as possible, and Kaleb is back on his beloved bike. Both of us were born in May (4th and 22nd). Both of our fathers were born in May(11th and 20th). Our first child is due in May (11th or 19th...she and God are still working that one out)! We only have a few weeks until she is due and we have been slowly getting things ready, "nesting" like the rest of the birds.

We feel very thankful and blessed to be living with the Palmers, where this picture was taken. We have more than enough space and calm privacy in their beautiful basement apartment. Many people have asked us (as we addressed in our post of FAQs) about "all of our stuff" or what will we do with a baby. The Palmer's apartment is fully furnished (except baby items). But, as you can see in the picture, we are doing just fine! We borrowed the large items from local friends, which we'll use for the first few months while we adjust and make our decision about our future location. Once we decide where we will be living (States or Honduras) we'll purchase other "baby needs" in the appropriate country to avoid the major hassle of shipping or transporting "stuff." We are thrilled to be using second-hand items, clothing, and cloth diapers, and we love being a part of a culture that shares and reuses.. The less "stuff" for us, the better!  A great question to always be asking ourselves is "what really is enough?" We live simply but very happily in our home in Honduras and plan to do the same here. Thanks for all that have lovingly loaned.

We covet your prayers for a healthy baby and safe delivery! Pray for us as we transition into being parents. Stacey plans to stay home with the baby after the birth and Kaleb will return to work after a little "paternity leave" to the Xenia, OH Heart to Honduras office.


Global Study on Homicide.

Before you read this, I do want to add an important note. Although the following statistics are frightening, for the most part North Americans traveling in Honduras do seem to be largely unaffected as long as they are careful. In 25 years of running teams in Central America, Heart to Honduras has never had a single team member fall victim to violent crime, and certainly not homicide. In addition, of all the NGOs in the Lake Yojoa area we have spoken with, none has lost a team member to violent crime. For this reason, we can continue to encourage people to consider a trip to Central America. The most important thing to consider before you travel is your host organization’s experience. An organization that has years of safe experience in Honduras will know where you can and cannot go. 

This month, April of 2014, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) released its 166-page Global Study on Homicide 2013, which “seeks to shed light on the worst of crimes – the intentional killing of one human being by another.” Needless to say, this makes for some pretty depressing reading, but nevertheless very worthwhile for those of us interested in working to reduce the grip of violence on this world.

I know that most of you will never read the full report, so I am providing a synopsis below. I have done my best to pull out some of the most important details. I am splitting my overview into two sections: the first on violence at the global level and the second on Central America and Honduras in particular.

Before you skip over this post, I ask you to consider reading it. For those of you that have been personally affected by homicide, care about Honduras, or are concerned about the developing world in general for that matter, this is a critical issue to understand. As the report says “Since its impact goes beyond the loss of human life and can create a climate of fear and uncertainty, intentional homicide (and violent crime) is a threat to the population.” Honduras in particular is a country that is being ravaged by homicide and its devastating, lingering effects on the rest of its society’s fabric. This is an issue that affects the daily lives of millions of people and that we as believers must engage with as we struggle to restore peace into suffering streets and shine light into dark places.

Homicide rates in this article are listed as described by the UN, murders per 100,000 people per year within a population. For example, the 2012 US homicide rate of 4.7/100,000 would mean that approximately 5 people per every 100,000 US citizens were murdered last year. This arrives at a grand total of 14,827 murders in the US during 2012. The homicide rate more accurately depicts the security within a country than a country’s homicide total since populations vary dramatically.

Murder (or intentional homicide) is the focus of this article. As defined by the UN, murder falls under the classification of non-conflict violent deaths, which excludes killings in war, times of civil unrest, or suicide. Outside of the definition of intentional homicide are killings in self-defense, killings in legal interventions and non-intentional homicide, none which are not treated in the following article. All following statistics pertain to intentional homicide only.

Homicide at the Global Level:
In 2012, man murdered an estimated 437,000 of his neighbors, placing the average international homicide rate at 6.2 murders per 100,000 people (6.2/100,000). Of the 19 geographical regions identified by the UN, the least violent regions were Western and Southern Europe as well as Eastern Asia, averaging homicide rates near 1/100,000. Southern Africa and Central America were the most violent, averaging more than 25/100,000. These “high-violence countries” are home to only 11% of the world’s population, yet account for 46% of all homicide victims. “This means that three quarters of a billion people live in countries with serious security concerns, all of which are located in either Africa or the Americas.” 

Global homicide victims are overwhelmingly male, accounting for 77% of victims. In addition, 43 percent of all murder victims are aged 15-29. Unfortunately, murders of children account for an alarming 8% of the global homicide numbers, with their combined deaths numbering 36,000 in 2012. Although women are at a much lower risk of homicide, they are disproportionally affected by violence by a significant other or family member. Two-thirds of the victims of this type of homicide are female; 47% of female homicide victims were killed by a significant other or close family member. “Thus while a large share of female homicide victims are murdered by people who are expected to care for them, the majority of men are killed by people they may not even know.”

Although these figures may seem discouraging, homicide rates in northern North America (including the US), Australia, Southern Africa, parts of Eastern Africa, New Zealand, Europe, and Asia have been declining since 1995. 

Homicide in Central America
One of two global homicide hotspots, Central America is currently riding a wave in a serious violent crime storm. Four out of five of the world’s most violent countries are in Central America, with Honduras taking the un-coveted top spot with a homicide rate of 90.4/100,000, followed by Venezuela (53.7), Belize (44.7), El Salvador (41.2), and Guatemala (39.9).

One of the most alarming figures relating to Central America within the UN report was that 1 in 7 of the world’s murder victims was a Central American male between the ages of 15-29, making young Honduran men among the most likely demographic to be killed in the world today. In Honduras, 1 in every 280 males aged 30-44 was murdered during 2012. This statistic is particularly devastating since this age place many of these men were in their prime: working age and in the midst of providing for and raising young families. The impact and influence on these children’s perception of personal security will be profound.

Homicide rates within Central America range dramatically from country to country and most fluctuate radically from year to year. This instability is widely credited to the corruption that plagues most of the region. However, two notable exceptions exist within the region. Within the past 12 years, Nicaragua and Costa Rica have varied mildly, but remain stable compared to the rest of the region. Country-by-country rates are listed in the following paragraph, with El Salvador and Honduras receiving more specific treatment below.

With a rate of 8.5, Costa Rica leads Central America as the safest, most stable country with homicide rates hovering just barely above the international average. Guatemala’s 2012 rate of 39.9, although slightly higher than 2011, follows five years of steady rate reduction and could be part of a downward trend. Mexico’s rate remains similar to the past two years at 21.5, but is still alarmingly nearly 3 times higher than the 2007 rate. Panama posted its lowest rate, at 17.2, since 2007, but is still nearly double the rates it averaged near the turn of the millennium. Belize, with the very high rate of 44.7, continues a dangerous downward spiral that has worsened over the past decade. Nicaragua posted a rate of 11.3, while although not a wonderful number, is the result of a consistent, gradual drop in rates since 2007.

El Salvador
With a 2011 homicide rate of 69.9, El Salvador was second only to its neighbor Honduras for the title of “Most Homicidal Country.” However, something significant happened in El Salvador in 2012 that made international headlines, but was probably not celebrated nearly enough. The homicide rate in El Salvador dropped to 41.2. That number signifies a 40% reduction in homicide at the national level. Forty percent! What happened in El Salvador to make people stop killing each other? 

Image from totallycoolpix.com credited to Stringer/Reuters.

Like much of Central America, El Salvador has been a country infected by organized crime and gang violence for years, without much hope of change. However, a truce brokered by the international community, religious leaders, and the Salvadoran government brought a sudden halt to a turf war that had been raging between Mara Salvatrucha and rival gang Barrio 18. However shaky this truce may be, as indicated by a sudden outbreak of violence earlier this year, for one year El Salvador has enjoyed a noticeable respite from the battle that has been raging in their streets.

Thanks to the bravery of a few Catholic priests, some politicians, international aid groups, and gang leaders, hundreds of lives were saved last year. This success in El Salvador sets an impressive precedent for the rest of Central America and the international community.

According to the US State Department, 90% of all cocaine flights, and 42% of all cocaine headed to the US passes through Honduras. This drug traffic, an influx of Mexican drug cartels, gangsters deported from the US, ravaging political and police corruption, and the country’s poverty rate combine to produce the world’s highest homicide rate, estimated at more than 90 homicides per every 100,000 citizens. These numbers work out to ~20 murders a day in a state roughly the size of Ohio.

San Pedro Sula, the industrial center of Honduras, once again ranks as the most violent city in the world with a homicide rate of 169 murders per 100,000 inhabitants. This means that murder is committed there at three times the rate of the United States’ most violent towns, New Orleans (rate of 56) and Detroit (rate of 54). New York City ranks in with a docile rate of 5/100,000. To put this in perspective, not even the combined total murders in New Orleans, Detroit, New York, and Baltimore match the murders that happened just in San Pedro Sula in 2012, even though the population of these combined cities is more than 10 million people – 14 times more than San Pedro Sula’s population of near 700,000.

Summary and Reaction
Within the overarching crime of homicide exist various motivations, which the UN has broken down into three key typologies:

1. Homicide related to other criminal activites: Killings “that are aimed, directly or indirectly, at obtaining illicit profits.”

2. Interpersonal Homicide: Killing “that is not instrumental to the accomplishment of a secondary goal, but is rather a means of resolving a conflict and/or punishing the victim through violence when relationships come under strain.”

3. Socio-political Homicide: Killings “that originate in the public sphere and are typically committed as an instrument for advancing social or political agendas.”

Of these three motivations, Honduras’ fantastic rate is most dramatically affected by “Homicide related to other criminal activities.” As demonstrated by El Salvador where a truce between two major gangs dramatically reduced the homicide rate, Central Americans are caught hunkered down in an active war raging between factions that fight and kill mercilessly in order to supply our humble nation with drugs. If you lack a reason to stop consuming illegal drugs, I urge you to think of the support you provide to men that murder mothers, fathers, and children every day in Central America. Cocaine is not an endless spring of self-sustaining bliss, but rather a pipe that drains pleasure and life from impoverished Central American families in order for Americans to keep feeling good.

We have personally seen multiple bodies along the roadside. I have watched my dog eat the scattered brains of yet another dead stranger that the drug gods have demanded as a sacrifice in our small town. Although we may personally be much safer as North Americans, we live with under same omnipresent dread that hangs over Honduras like so many rainclouds. The effects of violence do not end with a life taken, but continues to extend its tendrils into the hearts and minds of men, women, and children. Noise in the night used to be a dog stirring in its sleep; now it is a gangbanger, looking for vengeance. The road once was an enjoyable walk to the next town; now it is a deadly obstacle that must be run in order to buy food for your children. The motorcycle that was once an economical means of transportation is now an easily assaulted means to an end.

The world’s history has proven that greater stability is possible through holistic development. When transformational, sustainable, holistic development occurs, the change within a country reaches much deeper than just the starting of an economic engine. As a people become empowered, place their trust in God, begin to love their neighbor and forgive instead of destroy, the path of entire countries are changed. Lives are literally saved as people turn from violence and focus their energy into growth.
Our Faith gives us the motivation to seek peace. When we allow that faith to carry us through shadowed alleys into the very lairs of darkness, the Light within us often grows stronger than the darkness can contain.


Kaleb and Stacey Update

The tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths are making the transition back to the US a little easier on us. Going from a world bursting with color, heat, and life to a seemingly barren planet was depressing, but as life returns to the temperate zone, we feel a little better.

We just wanted to give you a quick update on what we've been up to. Since we've been back, we've been catching up with friends, settling in to our new, albeit temporary, home, getting bigger (both of us unfortunately), seeing family (both in PA and OH), and preparing for baby. Stacey was diagnosed with gestational diabetes about a month ago, so that has required a little extra vigilance in a culture that is already a little hyper-cautious about pregnant women. However, this little health hiccup has been able to be diet-controlled, which is nice.

We are now in the final month of the pregnancy and the countdown is surely on. The baby frequently tries to escape her confines through Stacey's ribcage, which seems to make her a little uncomfortable, but overall Stacey is doing great. As uncomfortable as Stacey's situation is, I imagine that wee-one's accommodations are becoming a bit oppressive as well. We are hoping that our little one has planned an anatomically-appropriate exit strategy and will follow all the rules of safe-conduct on travel day.

Most of our waking time is spent at the Heart to Honduras office in Xenia, OH. We have commandeered the copy room and set up a fine workspace complete with calculator and paper clips. I often miss the pruners and machete days, but for now am trying to allow the rest of the callouses to peel away so that I can begin the blistering process in earnest once we return to our Honduran home. Most of our days consist of project management and communications between our US and Honduran partners. We are also grateful for our extra office time, since that allows us to do some much needed catch-up on creating some resources to use in Community Development efforts in Honduras.


Honduras Facts 2014 (Answers to Quiz)

I know that everyone has been biting their nails, checking every few minutes to see if the answers have appeared to the quiz from last week. Well, worry no longer overachievers. Stacey and I have spent the past few days pouring over your careful responses, and for the most part, you did pretty well. Most of you really knew your stuff, a few of you... well...

For those of you who haven't taken the quiz, scroll back a couple of posts before reading and give it a shot. Then come back here and check your answers. 

1. Where in the world is Honduras?
Answer: Central America

Map from www.naturalhistoryonthenet.com
I was surprised to see how many answered this one correctly, 90% of you. After you always asking me how things are going in South America, I was sure that this one would be a bust. More than one person in the past has asked me if Honduras is an island. It is always so tempting to say yes.

Technically, Honduras pertains to North America on the sub-continent of Central America. So, we're not even technically on another continent. Obviously, we are getting farther south, but we're still a couple of thousand miles away from the Equator. 

2. What country borders Honduras?
Answer: El Salvador 

Map from geology.com.
Again, great job on what I thought may be a tough question (judging from the questions I get about my life in Africa). 90% answered correctly. Honduras is about halfway down Central America with two coasts: the large northern coast is on the Caribbean Sea (Atlantic), a small southern coast is on the Pacific. The rest of the country shares its border with Guatemala, El Salvador (both to the west) and Nicaragua to the south.

Since Honduras does stretch coast-to-coast, it forms a land bridge like most other Central American countries. Politically, this is significant since it necessitates that all land drug traffic headed north to the United States must pass through it. We'll touch more on this below. 

3. Who is Honduras' current president?
Answer: Juan Orlando
This beautiful mug has been smiling at Hondurans from billboards and posters on highways, rural roads, store walls, shirts, newspapers, and pretty much anything flat enough to hold paper for a year now.

Honduras just passed through its election cycle culminating in the election of National Party Candidate Juan Orlando in November of 2013. Not surprisingly, not many of you seem to be aware of this with only 25% answering correctly. Honduran politics have been out of the spotlight since 2009, when President Manuel Zelaya was forcibly removed from the country in his pajamas during a widely criticized political coups. Our Honduran friends are still quite divided on this move. Zelaya was a mover and a shaker and seems to have upset status-quo in favor of the country's poor, but certainly overstepped his bounds when he called for an illegal vote to allow his presidency to continue into a second term. Honduras currently only allows one four-year term to Presidents. 

Due to the turmoil following the coups, the UN had a heavy presence in November's election and declared the voting legitimate. This is particularly important this year since the presidential race was exceptionally heated this time around. Normally bi-partisan (like the United States), Honduran politics have historically presented two primary candidates vying for the presidency. However, as Hondurans have become more and more discontent with the deplorable corruption plaguing their government, their voting has become even more unpredictable as they seek an answer. This year's voting had an unprecedented four major candidates: Candidate Juan Orlando- Nacionalist Party, Candidate Mauricio Villeda - Liberal Party, Candidate Salvador Nasralla - Anti-Corruption Party, and Candidate Xiomara Zelaya for the Liberty and Reform Party.

If Zelaya sounds familiar, it is because she is the wife of the deposed Manuel, making a run for the presidency and very nearly winning it, which would have begun a puppet presidency run by Manuel Zelaya. By all accounts, this was a disaster very narrowly averted. Due to the UN's presence during the vote and the days following, Zelaya finally decided to accept the chosen candidate Orlando. The Anti-Corruption Party won a significant number of seats (including our district) in Congress; quite the premier for a budding political faction.

By all accounts, thus far Orlando is performing above expectations. This politically-divided country has rallied behind their new leader as he seems to actually root out some of the corrupt members of government, even from his own party. The fact that he is winning public support is surprising, since before the election many were calling him Juan Robando (Robbing John). Several times in the past few months, Honduran headlines have declared the ousting of another after another corrupt high-level politicians, and we have even noticed Interpol agents in the airport personally. Let us hope that this aggressive position on corruption continues.

4. How many people live in Honduras?
Answer: 8 Million

Yet again, you did fairly well with 70% of you answering correctly. Honduras is not a large country, geographically or demographically, but still is interesting for the variety of culture that its inhabitants display. The vast majority of Honduras is ethnically mestizo (90%+) - a mix of Native American and European (typically Spaniard) descent. One other distinct people groups are the Garifuna (3%), a people group of African descent brought as slaves that have their own distinct culture and language along the Caribbean coast of Honduras and much of Central America. Aside from the Garifuna and Mestizo populations, the only other significant people groups are the six Native American (Amerindian, 6%) groups that are either Mayan or Pre-Mayan in origin (such as the Lenca or Moskito). These groups retain their own unique language and cultures in geographically distinct areas of Honduras.

5. How many Hondurans are estimated to be in the United States?
Answer: 1-4 Million

Image from nationalsecurityzone.org.

Obviously, this is a difficult question to answer, although most estimates I have read see to place the number near to 3 million. 70% of you estimated between 1 and 4 million. Good job. 

This obviously has dramatic implications about our perceptions of all the "Mexicans" we see here in the US. Clearly not all of them are Mexican. Hondurans face startling difficulties in order arrive to the US, and we could spend an entire post easily talking about the issue. Any Honduran that arrives to the States has risked his/her life to do so at great personal sacrifice. Even though this may be wrong, it is certainly a complicated issue that deserves much thought before establishing an opinion. If you are interested in reading an outstanding, personal, real-life story about a Honduran immigrant, I would encourage you to pick up Enrique's Journey, by Sonia Nazario. This story, although shocking, seems to match the dozens of stories that I have heard personally about the realities of Central American immigration. Based on a series of newspaper articles that won two Pulitzer prizes, the book sheds a very accurate light into an issue that is often cloudy for us. Buy it here on Amazon.

6. The national mammal of Honduras is...
Answer: White-tailed Deer

Photo from www.cowhampshireblog.com
That's right. The white-tailed deer. Many of you have more face-time with white-tailed deer than with your own dog. I included this question to show that, in one sense Honduras is a world away, yet in another sense, it is closer than we often realize. Although this is the national mammal and is quite protected, weakness in conservation law enforcement means it is rare to meet a Honduran that has even seen one deer in their lifetime. As much time as I have spent in rural areas of Honduras looking for critters, I have never seen one. Responsible conservation is important and is an issue that is currently starting to hit headlines as ecotourism begins to rise.

Most of you missed this one on the quiz, with only 20% guessing correctly. For such a small country, Honduras has an incredible wealth of wildlife, so it is an easy mistake to make. 

7. The national flag of Honduras contains what colors.
Answer: Blue and White
Image from papiblogger.com.

The white stripe between two blue stripes represents Honduras between the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea. The five stars stand for the the original Republic of Central America: El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Guatemala which all still celebrate a common independence day on September 15.  I thought this might be a given answer on the quiz, but only 68% of you answered correctly. For shame.

An interesting aside is that the Honduran flag is still commonly used to stake controversial land claims. Honduras has very aggressive land rights laws which enormously empower squatters. These laws were originally used to encourage common people to squat on and break up enormous tracts of land owned by the massive banana companies as they grew more powerful than the government in the early 1900s. Fueled by these laws, some Hondurans will still aggressively take over a property in an old-fashioned land grab, establishing their claim by hoisting a Honduran flag up a bamboo pole above their makeshift shack on the land.

8. Honduras' primary export is...
Answer: Coffee!

Las Lomitas coffee. Here proudly displayed by official Heart to Honduras hand model Matt Garrett.
Although Honduras does produce a great deal of textiles, bananas, and palm oil, its number one export is delicious Honduran coffee. Once nearly owned by banana companies (the term "banana republic" supposedly originated in Honduras), the country's coffee has grown in popularity over the past 10 years. The lake area where we live produces some outstanding coffee. Particularly in the San Luis Planos and Santa Barbara Mountain area. Where we live in Las Lomitas, our local economy is driven by coffee production.

If you would like to try some Honduran coffee, you can order from Heart to Honduras here. This coffee (Cafe Burro) is actually grown and roasted literally across the gravel road from our Honduran office. Another excellent Honduran coffee is provided by local Dayton roaster Boston Stoker, which direct purchases coffee from farmer Jose Isidro in Capucas, Honduras. You can buy Heart to Honduras Select here. One dollar from every bag goes to HTH. Our partnership with Boston Stoker has been solid, and we very much appreciate their commitment to Honduras.

It looks like we will all learn a little bit about coffee upon the release of A Film About Coffee. The teaser and information online looks like it should really be a great film for those of us that love coffee. If you dig around enough on the site, you can find some beautiful pictures of some area coffee fields. Peña Blanca is about 15 minutes away from our house and is the site of much of Heart to Honduras´ work.

9. According to a UN Report in 2011, Honduras has the...
Answer: Highest violent crime rate in the world.

Violence is a sad fact of life in Honduras. According to the UN's report published last week, Honduras has more violent crimes per capita than any other country in the world. At 90 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants, Honduras dwarfs the international average of 6.2/100,000 and even that of international news wildchild Guatemala (39/100,000). Honduras' rate actually more than triples the violent death rates of Iraq and Afghanistan even when including conflict-related deaths.

As mentioned earlier, Honduras is a part of the land bridge that leads from Colombia/Venezuela to the United States. Supply and demand dictates that the supply of drugs produced in South America pass through Honduras on its way to the demand in the United States. The combination of this drug traffic and the corruption rates of Honduras lead to a deadly fallout for many Hondurans. As the demand in the United States for illicit cocaine grows, thousands of Hondurans are pulled into violent cartels, many just trying to earn a little for their families. Other innocent Hondurans are killed as the crossfire moves into residential areas. If we in the United States cannot learn to curb our appetites for pleasure, we will continue to murder innocent Hondurans: children, mothers, and fathers. 

Guatemala and Mexico consistently make headlines as dangerous countries, but I believe that it is only due to their proximity that we hear about them with Honduras more than double the murder rate of Guatemala. As usual, we are only concerned as a culture by that which might affect us. No bother is someone else is on fire. However we should take note, since shaky peace was brokered between gangs in neighboring El Salvador two years ago, leading to a 40% reduction in the homicide rate. There is hope, and we are called to work for peace, however hard won.

Although these numbers may seem alarming if you are looking to visit Honduras, it should be noted that groups of North Americans seem to be extremely safe. Never in the 25 years of Heart to Honduras operations has a North American been the victim of violent crime, and never have I heard of any North American team member of any organization in Honduras being assaulted. By in large, if North Americans play it safe in Honduras, they will avoid most of the danger.

Be looking for a more-detailed report on Honduras violence soon, once I can work through the UN's 166 page report. 85% of you answered this correctly on this quiz.

10. According to the CIA World Factbook, Honduras is the...
Answer:  second-poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

With more than half of the population below the financial poverty line and corruption and murder-rates at all time highs, Honduras in desperate need of hope. We personally feel that we should be in Honduras, not in spite of the conditions, but because of them. As believers in Christ, we feel that we must follow His example and fight injustice, spread hope, and share the Truth. 

About 60% of you were aware of this when you took the quiz.


Get your #2 Pencils ready.

Think you know about Honduras? We've put together a little quiz to find out. Answer honestly, WITHOUT CHEATING ON WIKIPEDIA (or anywhere else)! We really are curious to see how well our readers know Honduras. We'll give you all a couple of days to answer the questions and then post the results and the correct answers in the next post.

So...good luck! Be sure to click "Done" at the bottom of the quiz to submit your results. Hope you know more about Honduras than most Americans know about the Ukraine.
Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world's leading questionnaire tool.


Shiny and New.

As you may have now noticed, the blog has a new look. And not just a new look, but new content! We've added a few things to the mix that we thought you might like, and we'll be working over the coming weeks to continue tweaking, editing, and improving the new stuff. So, check out the tabs above to learn more about us, Las Lomitas, how you can get involved in our passion, and even birding in the Lake Yojoa area of Honduras. Some new features include:

1. Actual pictures of us on the "About Us" page. (Sure to garner thousands of web hits and most 
    likely some sort of "Pretty Person" award).
2. An interactive map of town on the "Las Lomitas" page. 
3. Some links to some of the more practical posts on the "About Us" page.
4. Birding hints on this beautiful area of Honduras as well as an interactive map to aid in your travels to our area on the "Birding Lake Yojoa" page.
5. A real live e-mail address that we will actually respond to on the "Contact Us" page. In spite of our 
    fame, we are still real people and take a few hours a day to address our teems of adoring fans (all 
    three of you). 

As always, we'll be working on keeping the blog current. Our hope is to really turn out some of the memorable stories from the past few years. So, please feel free to join our blog and follow our story. Thanks to all those faithful readers out there. You encourage us with your feedback.

And speaking of feedback, please let us know if there is anything you would like to see changed on the blog. We're very open to ideas and want to make this blog as informative as possible for the people that take the time to read it. So, let us know what you think, and we will do our best to be always improving.

Grace and peace.
Kaleb and Stacey