Friday, December 26, 2008

Here and Gone

We celebrated Christmas with La Finca kids on Dec.23rd. They woke up very excited as you would expect! Each child received a new set of clothes early in the morning. Then it was time for pinatas, a must for any Latin American Christmas celebration. Compared to some past experiences, we managed to get through the pinata festivities without too much chaos or injury.

Next, each child received a Christmas gift package.
We ate lunch in the church. KFC provided the special meal of the day. The kids ( and visitors) seemed to really enjoy it.

Later in the afternoon, we had a Christmas program in the church. I got to play Goliath in a short drama we put on. I guess 'cause I'm big and ugly:). Alex played the part of David, little Aaron was my shield bearer. Janelle was the narrator. I'm not sure what this all had to do with Christmas, besides the fact that Jesus was born into the line of David? Maybe they'll come up with a true Christmas drama next year.

In the evening Alonso gave a short power point presentation on the history of La Finca. Very interesting! After that we made a bonfire and had cookies and hot chocolate.

Our family had our own little Christmas celebration on the 25th. Angelica made french toast for breakfast. We read the Christmas story then opened gifts. We enjoyed some of the gifts like Chinese Checkers and building a Lego car before needing to start preparations on the evening Christmas dinner.

In the evening we had a meal for all the staff who live here. Janelle made lasagna. Not exactly a typical Christmas food here or at home but that's what was requested. We also enjoyed Mexican appetizers and a Honduran desert, tres leches cake, and cookies made by Andrea and our girls. We had four extra guests for dinner because part of a team from Texas arrived in the afternoon.

Here are some snapshots of Ernest and Doris Soady, as well as our family on the afternoon of the 23rd, the Finca Christmas. Note: Zack's hairstyle courtesy of La Finca Styling Salon, aka Karla Patricia :)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas is coming!

This weeks activities seemed to be dominated by two main activities. Getting our truck processed through the government office that oversees imports and making preparations for Christmas.

The official importing of our truck turned out to be a pain in the neck. No surprise there really. Just how business is done in Honduras. We didn't realize they would need to impound our truck for several days while this part of the process took place. There still remains one or two more steps to go before the truck is completely "Honduranized". We need to take it to the police division where they do their processing to register and provide plates for newly arrived vehicles. Sound confusing? Of course, but like I said just par for the course here. We do hope this last step goes quickly. We're told it should.

Getting ready for Christmas has a bit more fun although almost as crazy. Lights and other decorations have gone up. The smell of cookies baking has filled the house a few times. Janelle still has a soft spot or two when it comes to baking. Actually Andrea started the whole cookie baking thing. No problem with me! Visitors have been arriving. Maria Elena, a former volunteer, is here 'til Jan.2 . Ernest and Doris Soady, directors of E.M.C. are here 'til Dec. 24th. There are lots of activities planned for the upcoming week.
I'm supposed to play the part of Goliath in a mini drama for the Christmas program. There's Zack trying on my "helmet". We also went with the Christmas choir twice this week to two different malls in Teguc. to sing. They have a couple more places to sing yet before Christmas.

Janelle has been enjoying using Skype to stay in touch with family and friend. You can't beat talking for free!

Work continues in Audrey and Dwain's house. The tile work will hopefully soon be finished and then the cupboards.

Angelica and Ali were more than happy to help Andrea bake cookies!!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Saturday we took a group of kids with us for a lo-o-o-ong walk to the top of a mountain. We got to see where Alonso's wife, Michele, lived when she was little and where her grandmother still lives. Ali and Zackery are with Heidy on the left. We found some ripe blackberries and Zackery almost fell down the mountainside trying to get some! :)

On Sunday, we were invited to Guillermo and Luz Cerrito and family for lunch in Tegucigalpa. They are friends of the Finca and we met them when they were out for the 6th grade graduation. We had a great time with them and our kids loved playing with their's and their little weiner dog puppy! We decided to go to the Union Church (English speaking church) on Sunday morning before going to the Cerrito's and them since we were still in Teguc when the English speaking service at CCI started at 5pm we went there as well!

On Monday we invited Concho to lunch as it was his 22nd birthday. We also invited Liliana, the Argentinian lady from Spain who has joined the Finca :), Lilian, and Andrea, as usual.

Monday afternoon was girl's afternoon out :) and we went to the "other finca" where the soccer field is. Some of the boys showed up with Alonso to exercise so "we" played a short soccer game.

Harlan found an old corn grinder that he fixed and now uses to grind corn for the chickens. Zack loves feeding them and they always follow him when he walks down in the finca or takes out the garbage!

Harlan and some of the older boys continue fixing up the house where Dwain and Audrey will live. Here Concho is "repellando" a wall in the bathroom.

On the right is the Finca choir. Today Harlan, Berta and I went along with them to Tegucigalpa where they sang at one bank. Here they are standing in front of a beautiful mural at the HSBC bank near the central plaza in Teguc. While they were singing in this bank, the bank's public relation's guy came and told us the kids were to also go and sing at another bank! So we needed to walk the 33 kids a couple of blocks along busy downtown streets in their "togas" or choir robes to catch our bus to go to the other bank. The kid's were given lunch after their second "concert" and we headed back to Valle. We only lost two of the white "scarves" and no children so it was a great day! :)

We thank God for His protection today and for our good health. He continues to give us the strength we need to do the work He has given us. May God bless you as you prepare to celebrate Jesus' birth.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Yesterday was an interesting day for us. Lorena (the oldest of our charges here at La Finca) finally was able pass all her high school classes and she asked us to attend her graduation as her "padrinos" or sponsors. Many things seems to be planned at the last minute here or at least that is when we find out about them! We're learning to bend without breaking (in other words be flexible). Our plans for Friday afternoon had been to ride into Tegucigalpa with La Finca's newly formed choir for their first performance. We did get to that later. First, however, Janelle, Zackery, and I (Harlan) accompanied Lorena to her 1:00pm graduation ceremony. It was held at the community hall in Valle de Angeles. We escorted her to receive her diploma and signed as witnesses on some official looking form. It was very interesting to take part in a community event. Quite a large group of people were present for the graduation. The ceremony was a bit tedious but we had fun people watching. Michele (Alonso's wife was also present).

Angelica and Ali went to Teguc. with Alonso, Andrea, and the choir around 1:30pm. We left for Teguc. around 3:30pm after the graduation. We were able to arrive at the main office of the HSBC bank before they began their performance. This is the same bank that has been providing funds for building materials for the new housing project. The choir sang their Christmas songs from 5:00pm to 6:00pm for the bank employees in a conference room. They did a pretty good job with the songs their director picked. We met the bank president and his wife. I believe they are from England. The plan is for the choir to perform several times on the main floor of the bank for customers coming and going before Christmas. Apparently most of the banks here do something similar. Anyway it was an interesting experience and a privilege for our family and the kids from La Finca who are part of the choir. We pray God used their singing to bless those who were present.

On our way back into Valle in pouring down rain after dark I dropped Janelle off at the little restaurant where Lorena's graduation dinner was held. She met Michele and Lorena there. I took the kids home and got them into bed. Browny points for me! Janelle did bring me a plate of food later when she returned. Thus ended our somewhat unusual Friday. Hope ya'll had fun too!