Operation Honduras "OH" Volunteers & Supporters:
MERRY CHRISTMAS & Happy New Year!
Please note WARNING at end of email.
MEETING: Please know our 1 and only Operation Honduras official meeting will be held Thursday February 1, 2018 @ 7 p.m. @ TGIFridays 880 Kidder St., Wilkes-Barre, PA (570) 823-9923. A meeting agenda, detailed in-country itinerary, building plans, etc. will be emailed prior-hard copies available at the meeting.
HOTEL CHANGE/RESERVATIONS: Volunteers: Copant Hotel pool and pool area are closed. Thank you Ted Gacomis! for finding alternative pool friendly and cheaper rated Apart-Hotel La Cordillera which I believe is about 4 blocks from Copant'l. John Prokopchak and I stayed there 10? years ago-Im betting they still remember John :) Double is $77.35 for two people and single is $65.35 including free breakfast. A suite is about $20 more. PLEASE email Ted directly to reserve your room(s).
MATT PETLOCK: Please add this entire email on operationhonduras.com website under icon: "December 2017 Update!"
Please find this email as a follow up to our September 27, 2017 OH update. Per that email ALL November Ecuador and Honduras goals were met or exceeded including:
NOVEMBER GIFT OF SIGHT "GOS" to Ecuador:
Thank you: Rotarian Vasanth Prabhu, our new best friend Teresita Padilla and Dra Wasmanski for coordinating a 100 patient GOS to Ecuador. Thank you Capri Optics and Essilor Foundation. See below the fun we had! Thank you Matt Petlock for EVERYTHING!! Vasanths and Teresita's leadership inspired all of us to plan a November 2018 GOS to Ecuador for 2000 of the poorest of the poor! Pictures to follow (i hate AOL :)
HONDURAS Feb 15-22, 2018..NEW SCHOOL site in Buena Inversion, approximately 35 minutes from hotel:
I emailed Ted Gacomis, P.E. proposed drawings and a pile of pictures that hopefully provides him with information he needs for final drawings, material estimate and required number of volunteers to "substantially complete" the new school. This is a site we reviewed 2 years ago. We chose another since they had an operating, though very modest, school facility. Unfortunately the modest building they are using will not be available in a few months. The proposed site is owned by community leaders, adjoins a government lot AND the local soccer field-looks like a perfect site for us. New school in Buena Inversion, Honduras is our official 2018 construction project. Pictures to follow.
HONDURAS GIFT OF SIGHT Feb 15-22, 2018. Thank God for our hosts and wonderful Honduras GOS in-country Volunteers "HGOSV" in San Pedro Sula (Christof), Tegucigalpa (Angela Ardon), Tocoa (Tocoa Rotary-Sergio Martinez) and Concepcion (Mayor Julio Castillo & Miss Carmen Nolasco) for meeting with us-our friends from Tocoa drove 5 hours each way to be with us; our Concepcion friends drove hours each way. We are so blessed to have such leadership and a goal of another 2000 patients to be served!
Per recent email and meetings, as of this date, we received by email AND evaluated the following number of eye exams that include candidates for cataract and other surgeries:
San Pedro Sula (Christof): 322
Tegucigalpa (Angela): 247
This exam format/email transfer allows everyone's best friend MATTHEW PETLOCK to compile all exams and produce accurate tabulations for: frame count, surgery candidates, and much more.
Thank you! Dr. Carlos of Tocoa for accepting our offer to serve as HONDURAS GIFT OF SIGHT In-Country Coordinator. This reflects our GOS MODEL that simply encourages:
A) One (1) In-Country (optometrist) GOS Coordinator that supports complete pre-event examinations throughout the country vial email AND travels to each event site with OH volunteers in February, or almost each site.
B) THREE (3) in-country eye technicians supporting In-Country Coordinator at each event site, or almost each site; this allows each patient to enjoy professional service. We will likely set up 4 eye stations (1 local professional at each station) and ask local volunteers to distribute our new eye glasses. OH volunteers keep track of patients who received the eye glasses, support professionals at each station, monitor event and discuss with local leadership ways to improve.
C) Follow-up cataract and other surgeries: Local volunteers (Teguc, Tocoa, Concepcion, SPS) coordinate and pay for patient transportation to San Pedro Sula Lions club clinic. OH will support Christof with providing free or close to free lodging and meals for patients and family member. OH will support Lions Club Clinic in providing free or close to free cataract eye surgery; or Manos Amigos clinic for other surgeries.
Preliminary February GOS itinerary:
Thursday Feb 15:
9 a.m. Christof meets Barbara & Edwin Belon (who arrived the day prior and will have a few hundred SPS eye glasses in their luggage/carry ons) at Hotel and transports to GOS San Pedro Sula event site and to meet GOS coordinator plus 3 technicians-site to be determined-and begin fitting eye glasses. OH volunteers proceed directly from airport; arriving around 12 noon, to deliver balance of SPS eye glasses to the site and assist, including posting Capri & Essilor Banners. Tocoa eye glasses will be given to Dr. Carlos allowing him to transport to Tocoa this evening permitting Tocoa volunteers to begin sorting/distributing to patients early Friday morning in preparation for OH volunteer arrival.
Friday Feb 16:
10 .a.m. TOCOA: OH team arrives and distributes eye glasses under supervision of GOS in-country coordinator plus 3 technicians at site determined by TOCOA ROTARY.
Saturday Feb 17:
9 a.m. OH team distributes balance of SPS eye glasses, if any. GOS coordinator likely wont be needed if number is small.
Monday: 11 a.m. at Concepcion with GOS coodinator + 3 technicians plus OH team to deliver eye glasses.
Tuesday: 9:30 a.m. Tegucigalpa! with GOS coordinator + 3 technicians plus OH team to deliver eye glasses (technicians possibly supplied by Angela).
Above is preliminary! Angela may prefer a Saturday event and we would happily change accordingly; all other days are confirmed.
HONDURAS GIFT OF SOUND:
Great News! Starkey Foundation has requested our leadership again to host a GIFT OF SOUND-possibly as soon as October 2018. At their request, I completed, signed, and emailed a Memorandum of Understanding "MOU" yesterday. We are proud to have helped deliver free hearing aids to over 10,000 Honduran patients. We will take this opportunity to highly recommend a wonderful audiology clinic Vasanth is familiar with in Brazil. Maybe we can host a pilot hearing aid event there as part of our trip to Ecuador next year. Our modest eye glass and eye surgery program is a natural to follow their Gift of Sound throughout Central and South America. We have high hopes.
We humbly thank Wyoming Valley Presbyterian Church, Church of Christ Uniting, a bunch of Lutherans, Presbytery of Lackawanna and so many more churches that serve as the foundation for this good project. And we thank West Chester Rotary, Dunmore Rotary, and so many more Rotary clubs and members that serve as the "backbone" of OH. I thank the entire Rotary District 7410 for 20+ years for providing traveling volunteers, great service ideas and financial donations.
Can we reach out to local eye AND audiology clinics for volunteers and financial sponsorship? I would hope: PA ASSOCIATION OF THE BLIND, Vision Corps, etc. would also be enthusiastic about project(s) they can actually help lead and improve? The opportunity to expand GIFT OF SIGHT to ANY poor country is upon us.
If you sat with Matt, Christof and I last month and listened to a wonderful woman in her 60's tell us how she simply couldn't see. She showed us her bruised shins; bruised from walking in to items in her home-she was that blind. She felt she was no use to her family and lost her dignity. Thanks to VASANTH, she can see and works 6 days a week in her humble family store-she has her dignity back. Now multiply that story a minimum of 200 times thanks to OH GIFT OF SIGHT-follow up surgeries.
Vasanth, Dra. Wasmanski, Matthew Petlock, Christof and more: YOU SIMPLY BRING SIGHT TO THE BLIND! And 2000+ more of the poorest of the poor Hondurans are waiting for you to return.
Ted, Steve, John Johnson, Jay, Mark and the rest of the construction crew: Your leadership will serve the students of Buena Inversion for years to come via A BRAND NEW SCHOOL where there would be none.
My weakness (theres more than 1..haaa) is grant writing and soliciting from the very la
FINANCIAL DONATIONS are still needed! to complete 2018 projects. Can we reach out to local eye clinics, PA ASSOCIATION OF THE BLIND, Vision Corps, etc. PLEASE share the good news of our goals and past success. Please make checks payable to:
Wyoming Valley Presbyterian Church "WVPC", and mail to: Operation Honduras 201 Bear Creek Blvd.-Suite A, Plains Twp., PA 18702; memo check: “Operation Honduras-Material Fund? or GOS”/**Donations go directly to materials-there are no admn. fees.
WARNING: Please google recent events in Honduras. There are significant political protests. Our best friend Christof Wittwer emailed me today referring to "a political crisis".."roads and airport closed for 2 days", etc. It may stay the same, get better or get worse. With Christofs permission, I will forward you his email upon request. If a volunteer tells me: "Jim..im 50/50 on going due to current political climate"; I would suggest they dont go. It may be wise for volunteers to at least delay purchasing airline tickets as long as they can.
That being said, I am going as long as airport is open.
We can modify our 30+ person volunteer efforts/goals down depending on participation. If we totally cancel, Honduras volunteers would understandably stop giving and sending free eye exams, new school will not even be started, GIFT OF SOUND will be on hold , I have to give excuses/tell a long story to our hundreds of supporters including foundations, I have to explain to the next 200 patients that their sight isnt as important as my...anyway. Volunteers dont have to cancel; they can simply postpone for 1 year if they choose. And I pray they all know the most generous donations they gave to Honduras cant ever be taken from them:)
Please pray for Honduras! And I hope our friends down there and here enjoy a wonderful Christmas!
Yours in Service,
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CONTRIBUTE: (financially) to Wyoming Valley Presbyterian Church, "WVPC
2 Lockhart St., Wilkes-Barre, PA 18703; please memo check “Operation Honduras-Airfare Fund” or "Operation Honduras Material Fund”.
**Above donations go directly to materials or airfare-there are no administrative fees**
gift of sound
construction & medical
gift of sight
VOLUNTEER:You will need to budget an estimated $1100.00 plus miscellaneous costs associated with passport, vaccinations, etc
DONATE:used hearing aids (Starkey credits OH account for each used aid received), anti inflammatory medications; adult & children, tablets & suspension (acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen); cough suppressants; nasal decongestants; ascorbic acid;calcium;ferrous sulfate & folic acid. Donations are hand delivered to Ruth Paz Clinic.
Help us help them
Be a volunteers and make a difference
Operation Honduras is a group of Northeast Pennsylvania volunteers who travel to San Pedro Sula, Honduras, annually.The week long annual trips are dedicated to improving the quality of life of orphans and other people living in that area. Success of the trips is made possible through the help of in-country volunteers. Generous sponsors of this group include: local churches; including Westminster Presbyterian Church,Church of Christ Uniting,local clubs including Rotary, and many individuals. Volunteers regularly travel to the work sites prior to main group arrival for planning purposes.