The Challenges of Our Hurricane Relief Efforts
It takes a lot of effort to get supplies from the civilized part of Nicaragua to our school district on the Lower Coco River, one of the most isolated places in Central America, if not the Western Hemisphere.
Here is a Google Map of a portion of Central America. Notice the Coco River and the area of our Project Ezra Schools. The island of Utila, where we opened our first Rio Coco Cafe in 2011, is also marked sitting off the north coast of Honduras.
There is a road from the Pacific side of Nicaragua that comes to Waspam, the major town on the Coco River, and from there everything has to go by boat to our eight villages downriver. It takes about 4-6 hours in our boats to travel from Waspam to Utlamata. There is nothing but swamps and savannah on either the Honduran or Nicaraguan sides of the river.
Getting there is a challenge. From Managua is takes about 18 hours by truck to make it to Waspam, if the roads are in reasonable shape- dirt roads easily washed out by storms.
In November 2020 our school district was hit by two Category 4 hurricanes - Eta and Iota, only three weeks apart. The massive flooding destroyed many homes, flooded and ruined bean and rice fields, and many cattle were drowned. It was a disaster.
Our school buildings lost roof panels, doors, and window screens.
It was the worst storm since Hurricane Felix in 2007.
Since we began our hurricane relief in this past January, we have hauled food, clothes, building supplies, school supplies, and rice and bean seeds to our school district.
Here is our team loading barbed wire and roofing panels into our two cargo boats.
At each village these panels are carried up the river bank.
We also brought down school supplies for our students and teachers. Here are 18 of our teachers (from Boom, Klampa and Sawa) with their back packs full of teacher supplies.
Here is Danilo with one of our original teachers, Oswaldo Espinoza, who has been working with us since 1987..
It has been 36 years since we began our school project during the was when all our villages were on the Honduran side of the Coco River. Since 1991, we have been the official government school on the Nicaraguan side. Laura and I are still amazed at what the Lord is doing, and now we are working with our third new generation.
Thanks for being with us! Michael
Simple Acts, Simple Words, Simple Kindnesses of the heart = SUCCESS in the brevity of this life.
The Amazing Power and Effectiveness of Pleasantries:
How are you?
I was just with my dad to simply be with him, to enjoy him and to do whatever it took to make him happier in my focused service to him.
Ultimately, I know who I truly serve and live my life for, and this makes everything else in my life purposed and meaningful. I have chosen to give myself to my Creator for His use in whatever moment I find myself in. Amidst challenges, sadness, and disappointments, I am able then to rise above and see beyond with the eternal Love and Hope that I daily embrace in my heart.
There is Power in an eternal perspective and the reality that this Life on earth is not the end. As a follower of Jesus Christ, I am confident that there is more after this temporal life is over and I have a destiny by faith in the Way, the Truth and the Life that dictates LOVE & Hope in all that I am and about.
I realize at this juncture of my life in being with my dad, there are a few simple things that don’t seem like much, but they actually lend to the daily meaning and purpose of life for him.
Through my life, I have noticed the generosity of my parents, in their many deeds of kindnesses to those around them. Their value has always been FAMILY FIRST and share every good thing you can with those around you. Upon arrival to Honolulu, I was blessed to have my faithful brother Sheldon pick me up from the airport and take me to my dad. He has been my father’s main care giver along with his beautiful wife Lori who helps. They have a family of four and live in my dad’s house.
One of the manifestations of my mom and dad’s love in our lives shows up in our mango trees which without exaggeration gives the best mangoes on the planet bar none. (I get to sample many around the world). My father in particular labored many a loving hour in his yard growing everything you could think of. He would fall for the occasional nice ‘kine foliage that gave at least beauty to the landscape, but for the most part he loved growing plants that produced something that could be eaten or used to give away (orchids, garden items). He was an “investor” on all levels aside from what he wanted to seed in the ground to what he wanted to invest in finances to see his dollars grow. Quite incredible. Their countless accomplishments will continue to be revealed through the ages.
On this trip, I realize how truly big and awesome the little things people do along the way that create an incredible impact upon the lives around us. My kids sent a care package along with me that was full of goodies for my dad and my family to enjoy. It was such a blessing to be able to enjoy a bit of their thoughtfulness as I sat with my dad who is suffering in his body (can’t really use his right hand very well at all, cannot hardly stand, needs assistance to get from one place to the next and is in constant pain).
I have a favorite first cousin named Donna, who my dad also considers his favorite niece and her wonderful husband Chris who has become a fav as well….why? Simple Love in action.
The moment I call them they leap into a mode of love, concern, care, and practical action. My dad has no appetite and is sick and tired of eating his bland boiled eggs. When they showed up, they brought dinner and my dad ate with enjoyment with us. After the night was over we sent them off with some mangoes. Chris made a passing comment that he would make mango bread…true to his word, he did and came by and wa lah! Wow, what an encouragement! And my father loved it! I would say to him, “Okay, daddy, you want some mango bread now?” He would brighten up immediately and enjoy the treat. It made our hearts glad for the next several days.
Our Piere & Hayden mango trees has been a foundational blessing of the whole family for many years. This year upon arrival I was able to begin eating of its fruit and seeing the many “phases” of the tree from bigger mangoes that were about to be harvested to smaller mangoes to flowers on the tree that would give fruit later. It was a picture of the years my parents labored in our lives. The Hayden tree full of color and abundance of harvest.
Jason and Maureen (my older brother and his wife) have 10 grandkids (my dad’s great grands) and being with their family is always a joy. The kids are all trained to say hello when we come in, notice & love us as we are there in their midst, look at us when we are talking to them, and they make sure they hug us and say they love us when we leave. To be pleasant and kind is a virtue that never ever goes unnoticed….all the rest of our meaningless ramblings of our grumbling, complaining, opinions serve little to any situation and much less for a meaningful moment in healthy relationship.
When you are family, it is easy to forget to exercise such pleasantries and restraint over ourselves in what we choose to express for the moments we are given. Lots of focus, care and intention needs to be practiced for each moment. Great relationships take work. It is not natural to be others centered or to be a good compassionate understanding listener. Takes unselfish time, effort, and a heart to truly love others as yourself. It takes an awareness that comes from the Top.
Life is too short to waste any time. Each moment could be our last. God does appoint the day of one’s birth and death. It all belongs to Him, and we will choose where we will be and who we will be with for all Eternity. Laura
Seek The Lamb Giving
Rio Coco Beans
September Study Tour with Dr Randy Smith
PHONE: +1 (800) 371-4485
Please give the office a call if you are interested in joining us for this special trip.