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Carol Moreno's Blog

It is hard to believe but the time has come for me to say goodbye to Honduras, for now of course. I arrived here in January 2011 thinking it would be a one year volunteer commitment and then on to graduate studies back in Canada. Things generally don´t turn out exactly as planned but I think the past four years have turned out even better than I could have asked for.
As a kid I remember thinking it would be neat to have a pen pal. There just seems to be something so exciting about receiving a special envelope in the mail addressed especially to you. We all know that the days of putting pen to paper, sealing an envelope and slapping a stamp on the corner are well behind us. Even paying bills and ordering from catalogues have been replaced with online billing and internet shopping. In a culture that values convenience and efficiency it is no wonder that the duly dubbed “snail mail” is on its way to becoming extinct. Nevertheless, the joy of having a pen pal still exists in many communities throughout Honduras.
I can hardly believe it but our little baby boy is more than 2 months old now! Leo Sebastian was born January 10th, a couple of weeks ahead of schedule but totally healthy and without complications. He has been such a blessing to our family and, despite a little sleep deprivation, brings new joy to our lives each day. Interestingly, he was born during a Honduran “cold-snap” (temperatures below 20 degrees Celsius) due to a cold front that came down from Canada. Perhaps Leo felt the call of his Canadian homeland and excitedly decided to make his first official appearance early. Since then the temperatures here have been nothing like Canadian weather as we head into the summer season. The other day it was 34C by 10:30am!
As my husband, Isaí, and I await the birth of our first child any day now I´ve been thinking a lot about how each culture has an interesting perspective on pregnancy, birth and caring for babies. The process of bringing a new life into this world is something so universal to women from all over yet there are very defined cultural expectations related to what a pregnant woman should eat, what activities to avoid, what clothing she should wear, etc.
What do most people do at home when they find themselves with a headache? Or what would you do about sore muscles or indigestion? Most head to the household medicine cabinet for an ibuprofen or an antacid, perhaps. This is not the reality lived by many people in rural Honduras. Access to even some of the most basic over the counter medication involves traveling great distances and limited economic resources means people cannot afford to stock up when they are in town.
Once again the month of May means water project for World Renew, NADC and the King´s University. This year´s project took us to the community of La Hoya with Alfalit, one of World Renew´s local partner agencies. La Hoya is a small village in terms of population with only about 35 homes, but very spread out over mountainous terrain. This project was a big undertaking as the distance from the first house to the very last is over 2km.
Have you ever heard a true story about a terrible accident that ended up saving a life? I hadn´t until I came here to Honduras. This event happened in the small community of El Coyolar, Olancho almost a year before I arrived as a World Renew volunteer. From all that I have heard, I´d like to think that although it was horrific incident God took tragedy and turned it into a blessing.

So, where should I begin?  Well, the community of El Coyolar, Olancho was founded over a hundred years ago by five families.  It was named for the abundance of Coyol trees in the area, which are now long gone but the sap was used to make coyol wine.  The history of this community has been traditionally passed down orally.  However, in 2007 the elders got together to write down all they could remember in order to include a brief history...

In the two years that I have been serving as a volunteer with World Renew in Honduras I have visited a LOT of communities. Thinking back on all the groups from North American churches and universities, I think I´ve participated in hundreds of work projects from cement floors, latrines, and pilas to constructing buildings and water projects.That has translated into a lot of traveling, a lot of cement mixing and, best of all, meeting a lot of amazing people.  Many...