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Wednedsay in Tegucigalpa…

Posted on May 31, 2006 by in El Salvador/Honduras | 0 comments

Three-and-a-half hours 100 km north of Tegucigalpa, and 25km east … way up in the hills, 15 km down a dirt road, is a little village. In this little village are 100 students, learning for the first time in history how to beat the “weather cycle” — where, when the weather is bad, many people starve and die. And these kids, also for the first time, awake every day to a nutritious breakfast. What amazes me is that a one-day golf tournament — something I’ve participated in, but, I think, never fully understood — a one-day tourney completely funds this entire program for a year … and more.

We left at 4 am today, and saw amazing things. The village was small, raw, and interesting. The kids were shy at first, then later very happy to play with us. I video’d and shot stills (mostly stills) to help get the word out. Oh … and during the ride we talked with Claudio — the leader of the huge Central American project that actually makes this happen. He is a surgeon who has stopped his practice to run an amazing an organization, amassing a force of 11,000 volunteers — many of whom have nothing themselves — and they make miracles happen. We searched for a nickname for him all day, and finally decided upon San Claudio (Saint Claudio), because he really is a saint. He is honest, open, straightforward, and more giving than probably anyone I’ve ever met. And his stories are incredible. We heard about how he volunteered to go into the field for 2 days after a hurricane… but how the government helicopter did not come back for him for a month (!!!) while he tended to entire villages alone, with no medicine and only basic supplies. And we heard about how he treated the burns on poor boy who fell into the pot of boiling pig fat, also out in the field. And about the man who lost his left arm and wanted to die, feeling useless in life … who Claudio now calls “his right hand man” because of how the man now has returned the life-saving treatments (including psychologists) by helping Claudio out. Hours and hours of these heartfelt, honest stories … it was amazing.

So … there’s more, of course, but again I’m tired. I’ve been up for nearly 20 hours on just 3 hours of sleep. So I should wrap it up soon…

We got back, some of the group took a nap while some of us had drinks (umm … I was in the drinking group), and then we went to a fantastic dinner at Res y Pez … a steak and seafood place owned by … well, a friend of a friend. (Long story … but Wendy’s friend Hazel owned it.) Anyway … we had 1/2 a bottle of Flor de Caña rum (as well as the beers) with dinner, and now have more stories about “this one time, me, Rob and Chris were sitting around in Tegucigalpa, and ….” So … time for bed. Tomorrow morning we go with Becky (the vice first lady? I don’t know what to call her) to see her programs, and to see the hospital where the malnourished kids are … At least we don’t have to be to the mansion until 9 am!!

OH! One last thing … I got a temp phone number down here, so if you need to call, call Erin in the morning … then call me before around 4 pm your time. See ya!!

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