Day of the Child is September 10th. We have been getting ready for this event for the last couple of weeks. Many teachers start coming by in August to see if we could contribute something to their special day. Because of this we started shopping for candy. We have become candy officianatos. We have poured over the candy aisle to make sure we had the right stuff for this day of festivities that is totally focused on the kids.
We bought 7 pinatas. Some looked like Cifford the Big Red Dog, while others were soccer balls, doll heads and a donkey. We have bought chickens for their afternoon meal to be mixed with the donated rice from CHILDREN AGAINST HUNGER So far we have dropped of supplies to 9 schools for them to have a lunch for their children. Our 2 man team from Texas brought those toys that make noises like whistling lips, kazoos, as well as glow in the dark lizards and small rubber balls. Great kids stuff.
Today we loaded up our little Nissan with the boxes of rice, 9 grown girls, 2 gringos, Haley, and a new volunteer, Ben, me, Don Chilo, pinatas, snacks for the girls and gospel tracks to boot. That means we had 14 people and supplies in our little car. We left at 8 am so that we could get to all the schools before 1:00 pm when school is dismissed. We went to a local school first. The roads were so bad because of the wild rainy season we have had that we had to get out of the truck just to get it through the mud and up the road to our destination.
Most of the schools we deal with are schools and have licensed teachers, but they are not public schools, they are Proyeco schools. A Proyeco schools means that they get partial pay from the government and partial pay from the community. The community finds a house or builds a school for the children to attend. Their teachers do not have pensions and other benefits like normal public school teachers. The first group of teachers we talked to haven't been paid in 5 months!! They still come to teach the children with their limited school supplies, super muddy roads, and rain soaked classrooms.
We visted 5 schools today. The next to the last one was Sacate Blanco, they are 7500 ft above sea level, an is the highest mountain in our area with a scenic view that is fantastic. We have been bringing supplies up to this school for the last few months. We love the children and the community. When you step off the bus ,the little ones greet you extending both of their hands, fingertips pressed together and they bow their heads and say "Good Morning". They are precious kids.
While our girls from PTC were doing the program for the school, my phone rang. The inspector of the Ministry of Finances was arriving in La Esperanza to inspect our farm! They decide whether we can maintain our tax-exempt status. Thankfully we had already delivered the supplies to the director and had ministered to the other classrooms when the call came through. The girls were singing to the last group of children. We sang through our last song rapidly, and basically rushed out the door and hopped in the truck. How was I going to get to her in La Esperanza when we had no room to put anybody else in our car? I couldn't drive back to El Obispo to drop off the girls because we would be very late and we had one more school to distribute our supplies.
As I was going down the hill, I was formulating a plan. I think I changed it several times before we finally hit upon a workable solution. We dropped the girls off at a restaurant with Ben. Haley and the 2 man team needed to change money and Chilo and I set off to pick up the lady. When we accomplished all that we went to eat a typical Honduran restaurant with the Lady from the Ministry of Finances and our girls and Ben. She interview me all through lunch. After lunch we carried her with us to the last school, Lodos Negros and then sent Haley and the gringos on the bus to our farm, and it all just turned out right. She enjoyed seeing our farm, the girls and the ministry. After the inspection was over, I drove her back to La Esperanza.
When I arrived home at the farm at 6 pm, Don Chilo called and asked, "Are you coming for the care group at my house?" I had forgotten! I jumped back in the car with our team and we watch the sweetest service with a youth group who attended church our church years ago. They are on fire for the Lord and are evangelizing the area. We returned to the farm to have devotions with the girls and a late supper.
It has been a super busy day, but we were able to minister to so many children. We probably saw about 400 children altogether. We have two schools left tomorrow, two on Saturday in Yasi and then we minister to our children here at the farm on Sunday. Our kids will have their pinata and special meal on that day. They are all excited about the activities. Our girls blessed the children today with a song that they taught to each of the schools. I am really proud of them! It was a good day.
Our thanks to Jean Brown for blessing us with the rice supplement that we were able to donate to these children to make their day a special one. Thanks to our guys from Texas Jim Rowan and Jared Mitchell, who brought the toys to bless all those children. They also made it a special day for our older girls. They love getting to go out to eat at a nice restaurant! We are thankful for our safety up and down the mountains and to be able to minister the gospel all over this area. Thanks to all of you that continue to pray for our girls and for this mission.