Monday, July 25, 2011

Reaching Out to the Carias Family

Two years ago they came from the country to the city looking for work. When every hoped for opportunity did not pan out, like many before them, Ana and Norlan Carias found themselves in the garbage dump. On the weekends they would return to their family’s home in the country but then on Monday it was back to Tegucigalpa to sort through trash. On weeknights they would find shelter in the garbage because they had nowhere else to go. The young couple would huddle together amidst the trash and hope that the dangers lurking in that place at nightfall would stay far away.

Soon Alexandro was born and as a baby he joined his mother in the trash dump. This is when AFE met the Carias family. An AFE mother introduced us to Ana and Alexandro because like us, she did not want any baby to grow up in the garbage. We took Alexandro into the nursery where he receives proper nutrition, health care, and thrives in a clean facility and loving care. With the added economic benefit of not having to pay for milk and diapers for Alexandro, Ana and Norlan were able to rent a small shack outside of the garbage dump. Their situation was looking better and better.

Ana and Norlan joined AFE’s church and then AFE’s adult education program in the afternoons. Ana is at the 6th grade level and Norlan the third. It is a courageous move, especially for the father in this culture, to admit that he needs help and wants to learn and grow.

This last week Ridge Point Church in Lakeland, Florida (and Trash Mountain Project) built a new house for the Carias family. The property and the house are in AFE’s name, until Alexandro turns 18. The Carias family finally has stability, and a home of their own. Tears of gratitude cannot even begin to express how thankful Ana especially felt for how God had blessed her family.

In her house there is only one adornment. It is a picture of the Last Supper and it says, “Where there is faith, there is love. Where there is love, there is peace. Where there is peace, there is God. And where there is God, you will never lack for anything.”

In faith Ana put this reminder in her home, and this week she has seen it come to pass.

*Ana and Norlan are still available for sponsorship in AFE’s afterschool program. $36 a month pays for their education at AFE. If you would like to sponsor either of them, please contact

Monday, July 18, 2011

Hello and Goodbye

June is the month of transitions for AFE as we say “Nos Vemos!” (See you later) to some of our beloved volunteers (Paul Sloan, Leah Kooy, Johanna Novoa); and “Bienvenido” (Welcome) to new volunteer friends.

Steve Poulson (from England), Keith McCollough (from Idaho), and Matt and Tracy Ulrich (Gainsville, Florida) will be with us for one month this summer, sharing their time and talents with AFE.

If you would like to volunteer with AFE, positions open after June 2012 but now is the time to get your applica

tion in as positions close quickly. For more information, contact

Monday, July 4, 2011

Progress in AFE's Clinic

In January AFE’s nurse, Hollie Macenczack, began working toward a clinic for the children and families of the garbage dump. The task, while seemingly simple, is a complicated and daunting one. In the garbage dump of Tegucigalpa (and all over the world), sit many abandoned clinics, which began with flash and excitement, but eventually became vacant when the international do-gooders who started them returned to their homeland.

We did not want this to happen with AFE’s clinic. Along with AFE’s overall vision, we dreamed of building a clinic that would be long-term sustainable, that would incorporate local (Honduran leadership), and that would meet the needs of garbage worker in a holistic way.

Hollie began the task by learning about the health needs of the garbage dump community and making connections with medical personnel in the area. She has also set up a small clinic/office near AFE’s administrative offices, at which she attends to the daily health needs of AFE’s students and stores medical supplies.
During the week Hollie helps families to make appointments for AFE’s clinic hours, in which a Honduran doctor (Carlos Escobar) sees patients.

More and more patients are coming as they learn about the availability. And more and more connections are made, both locally and abroad, as people get behind this beautiful idea of a locally-led, sustainable clinic for garbage workers.

For more information about how you can help, contact: