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Eliminate Malnutrition for 2,800 Honduran Children

by Shoulder to Shoulder, Inc.
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Eliminate Malnutrition for 2,800 Honduran Children
Eliminate Malnutrition for 2,800 Honduran Children
Eliminate Malnutrition for 2,800 Honduran Children
Eliminate Malnutrition for 2,800 Honduran Children
Eliminate Malnutrition for 2,800 Honduran Children
Eliminate Malnutrition for 2,800 Honduran Children
Eliminate Malnutrition for 2,800 Honduran Children
Eliminate Malnutrition for 2,800 Honduran Children
Eliminate Malnutrition for 2,800 Honduran Children
Eliminate Malnutrition for 2,800 Honduran Children
Eliminate Malnutrition for 2,800 Honduran Children
Eliminate Malnutrition for 2,800 Honduran Children
Eliminate Malnutrition for 2,800 Honduran Children
Eliminate Malnutrition for 2,800 Honduran Children
Eliminate Malnutrition for 2,800 Honduran Children
Eliminate Malnutrition for 2,800 Honduran Children
Eliminate Malnutrition for 2,800 Honduran Children
Eliminate Malnutrition for 2,800 Honduran Children
Eliminate Malnutrition for 2,800 Honduran Children
Eliminate Malnutrition for 2,800 Honduran Children
Eliminate Malnutrition for 2,800 Honduran Children
Eliminate Malnutrition for 2,800 Honduran Children
Eliminate Malnutrition for 2,800 Honduran Children

Shoulder to Shoulder has been running a micronutrient program for young children in Intibuca for the past 4 years.  Due to problems in the factory where there micronutrients were produced, we knew that the program would be ending in late 2020.  Then, the coronavirus struck.  Honduras shut its borders in mid-March, and the micronutrient product, Chispuditos, could not enter Honduras.  Sadly, we had to end our project.

The young children still were in desperate need of good nutrition to supplement their very limited diet of beans and corn tortillas.  What to do?

Well, when one door closes (the border) -- another opens (the hen hatches).  Thus, was born our new nutrition program:  Hens Hatching Hope:  Un Huevo Cada Dia.    

We have recruited local women who have an interest in raising hens and eggs.  We will help them with their businesses.  Then, we will encourage the mothers to bring their young children (ages 6 months to 2 years of age) to the local health centers for their monthly weight/height check in.  If a mother brings in her child, she will receive a ticket for 30 free eggs.  She will visit the woman with the hens, and will leave with eggs for her child.  Shoulder to Shoulder will pay for the eggs.

We feel that this is a WIN -WIN -WIN program:

A win for the women-run hen businesses (as they receive funds from StS AND sell to their neighbors).

A win for the children who will receive an egg/day.

A win for the local community, as the StS funds will remain in the community.

THANK YOU to all the folks who have been supporting our Chispuditos project "Eliminate malnutrition for 2800 children."  We could not have run this program for four years without your help!

We all need a little hope.  We are most hopeful that we can count you as a loyal supporter of Hens Hatching Hope: Un Huevo Cada Dia.  (Details of which can be found on Shoulder to Shoulder's website and/or on the GlobalGiving site.)

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Participant in StS's Nutrition Program
Participant in StS's Nutrition Program

Dear Supporter of StS's Nutrition Program:

The impact of the novel coronavirus is being felt around the whole world.  In Honduras, it is having many negative consequences.  Today, I will write about one aspect:  The Closing of the Borders of Honduras.

The micronutrient supplement that StS provides to almost 3,000 children is called Chispuditos.  It is manufactured in Guatemala, and shipped to Honduras.  The factory makes the product once per year (each November) and it has an expiration date of the following November.  We have been waiting for the batch that was produced in November 2019 -- so that we could distribute it during the quarterly visits the mothers make to their local health centers.  That would have been in April, July, and October 2020.  

However, due to the coronavirus, Honduras shut down its borders to all traffic coming in from neighboring countries.  Therefore, the product did not arrive in March, as expected.  Now, we are hearing that the borders might not be opened until June.  We are hopeful that the Chispuditos will arrive in time for our July distribution.

If this does not happen, we will be in the difficult position of needing to figure out a new plan.

We are most appreciative of all the assistance our loyal supporters (YOU) give to this nutrition project.  There is nothing more important than working to improve the health of the youngest, and most vulnerable, babies and children in Honduras.

Thank You!

PS  Please take a moment to view the video link below.  Although it was filmed almost two years ago, it is a great reminder of all the good that our Nutrition Program does in the rural mountains of Honduras.

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Rain Water Collection, Library, and Vacation Bible School -- 2016

The First Presbyterian Church of Chili (New York) made our first trip to Honduras in 2016. Our mission was to build a rain water collecting system, build a library and provide a vacation bible school program for the children at the Good Shepard Bilingual School in Camasca Honduras. While we were there, God revealed a new need for our church to address. On this trip we learned that the area has virtually no vision care. We learned that kids drop out of school when they are unable to see the board or read their books. We learned that access to vision care was very limited.

Vision for Camasca -- 2018

This led to our second mission and the official “Vision for Camasca” project!   By God’s grace, our church returned to Honduras in 2018. Hundreds of patients lined up for vision screens and glasses! We connected with two separate organizations -- Shoulder to Shoulder and the Lion’s Club. We stood as a bridge between these two organizations with a hope and prayer that together something would grow.

From the beginning, the dream was to build a self-sustaining access to vision care.

Collaboration with Project HEAL -- Summer 2019

Over the summer of 2019, our church worked collaboratively with a student from Duke University’s Project HEAL team. Brian was completing college credits through a learning abroad opportunity between Shoulder to Shoulder and Duke University. He did a great job collecting data and helping to increase knowledge about the Lion’s Club in La Esperanza to the people of Camasca and surrounding areas. Brian confirmed a need for education and awareness around vision care and services.

It’s hard to put to words how this next project came about. But, imagine a whirl wind of emails, text messages, and spotty international conference calls where we shouted over the pounding rain of Honduras and redialed again and again when internet dropped the call. In this beautiful chaotic exchange, a new idea was developed --   to bridge a communication gap by providing a continuing education opportunity for Health Promotors throughout the region of Intibucá. Or, in other words, a FIELD TRIP!!

Field Trip – Fall 2019

Health promotors work within the community health centers providing regular presentations on health topics to the people throughout the seven town region of southern Intibucá. With lots a wonderful support from Shoulder to Shoulder, we were able to coordinate a continuing education field trip for health promoters to La Esperanza. This trip included eye exams for all, a tour of the Lion’s Club Clinic, and educational materials for them to use in their community presentations.   Word of mouth and first hand experiences are the best teaching opportunities. These health promotors will take their experience and new knowledge back their communities to share. This extends the reach of the vision mission well beyond what we could do on our own.     

Update from Minsis (Shoulder to Shoulder employee)

The event was attended by 22 promoters and 3 supervisors. Each of them was excited to have the opportunity to offer one more project to the communities they work with. Likewise, the members of the Lion’s Club were happy to make new alliances that would allow them to continue serving the communities of Intibucá.

We rented a bus, and arrived in La Esperanza. The Lion’s Club staff made known what they are doing in the five areas in which they work: sight, childhood cancer, hunger, diabetes, and the environment. They focused on their vision services. Health Promoters asked many questions about all the services. After that, all of the Health Promoters had an eye exam; five needed glasses. Plus, one needs eye surgery, and the Lion’s Club will make the necessary arrangements for that to happen. We ended the morning with a delicious lunch, and then back on the bus for the 2 hour trip back home.

Follow-up: I contacted the coordinators of the promoters to ask them about the project. I was told that everything is going well. In some communities, they have found up to 3 to 4 people who need eye services, and they were referred to the Lion’s Club.

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Volunteer Lizzie Distributing Water Filters
Volunteer Lizzie Distributing Water Filters

Thank to donations from the Wisconsin Rapids Rotary Sunrise Club, Shoulder to Shoulder was able to purchase 33 water filters.

The water filters were given out to 33 families who participate in our Childhood Nutrition program -- a program in which children from 6 months to 5 years of age are given monthly micronutrient supplements.  These supplements, called Chispuditos, help to prevent stunting, malnutrition, anemia, and other health problems.  The addition of water filters will ensure that the children are drinking clean water, and thus reducing the incidence of diarrhea and other stomach ailments which are so deadly to young children.

A special thanks to our intern, Lizzie Morris, for taking responsibility for this distribution.  Thanks, Lizzie!  (Lizzie is the smiling American in the photo above.)

The staff reported that the families were so excited to get the filters, that they waited 2 hours for the filters to arrive!!  (As you may know, the roads are largely unpaved, and we had a bit of difficulty with the transportation.  But, the filters finally arrived!)

A great big THANK YOU to the Wisconsin Rapids Rotary Club and to all who support StS's Nutrition Program.

Families Proudly Carrying Their Water Filters Home
Families Proudly Carrying Their Water Filters Home

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Note:  Even though Dr. Jan Tepe is writing about DENTAL services -- the children she writes about are the same children who are in StS's nutrition program.

It was a trip I’d wanted to do for nearly ten years. We had heard about a community in the area of San Marcos de Sierra that was “the poorest of the poor”. We’d already established school dental health programs in Santa Lucia and Concepcion and wondered what could be next. I mentioned the possibility of visiting this community, the poorest of the poor, called Delicias, to Laura Manship some months ago. She herself had made the hike and cautiously discouraged us from trying to get there. It’s a long and difficult hike, up one side of a mountain and then down the other side. We discussed the obstacles of the hike with our group – two dental hygienists, the Honduran dentist and her assistant, a public health dentist, and our two drivers/guides. Everyone agreed to the plan. The trek began at 4:00 am when the truck arrived to meet us near the square in Concepcion. After a half hour or so on the main road we turned onto the dirt road. For the next hour we bumped and bounced over ruts and rocks, up hills so steep I didn’t think it was possible for a vehicle to climb. So this is what four wheel drive is for! In 20 years of travel to Honduras, these roads were as bad as any I’d ever seen.

Eventually, the road ended and the two trucks were tucked in close to an embankment. We donned our backpacks filled with dental supplies and water and set out. The path up begins somewhat wide with sharp drop-offs to the valley. Ahead of us was a Honduran woman in a dress and sandals carrying a box that was held by a nylon net looped over her forehead and hanging down her back. Our group spread out, each of us stopping as necessary to catch our breath and admire the spectacular scenery. The sun had come up and it was a beautiful day. The woman disappeared from sight and presumably took a shortcut too steep for us, but we later saw her on the other side of the mountain. Up, up, up, through a narrow ridge with scrubby foliage where the terrain fell off on both sides. 

After 2 hours we were rewarded with the sight of the village. This isn’t your normal village. We saw three buildings – a public health clinic, a school, and a small pulperia. People in this area live tucked away, far from one another. We set up our supplies outside the school and waited until the children and their parents arrived. There is no electricity in Delicias and little contact with the outside world. The people are neat and clean with little girls wearing dresses and mothers wearing homemade dresses and sandals. Dra. Idalia gave a talk, discussing how to brush teeth, why we brush teeth, diet, and what we planned to do.

And what exactly did we plan? Well, after each child had brushed their teeth, we examined their teeth and applied a material called silver diamine fluoride (SDF) to areas of decay. SDR kills the bacteria in the cavity and stops the decay. Sometimes this require two or three applications. The downside is that the areas of decay turn black. The upside is it is painless, requires no injection, and the teeth are saved. This material in gaining popularity, especially in developing countries. After seeing first hand the difficulties in simply getting to this community, we understood why these people cannot come to our clinic and also why it would be impossible to get portable equipment to them.

The kids and parents were great. Of the 50 or so children that we saw, only one little guy about 4 years old screamed his head off. The others patiently waited in line and then compliantly opened their mouths while we strange looking, tall, pale people dabbed stuff on their teeth.

Shortly before noon we left Delicias to do the hike in reverse. If up the mountain was strenuous, down the mountain was scary, with steep switchbacks every 15 feet or so and loose scree. Walking on marbles, down a playground slide would describe it. The way back was no easier, but somehow the way home always seems shorter. We have a new appreciation for the lives of the people on the other side of the moutain.

Jan Tepe, DDS, in Delicias, Intibuca, Honduras
Jan Tepe, DDS, in Delicias, Intibuca, Honduras
Delicias, Intibuca, Honduras
Delicias, Intibuca, Honduras
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Organization Information

Shoulder to Shoulder, Inc.

Location: Dayton, OH - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @StoSHonduras
Project Leader:
Laura Manship
General Director
Dayton, OH United States

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