Monday, July 13, 2015

{Guest Blogger} Michael Franklin of AHMEN

Michael Franklin is one of the driving forces behind the Alabama-Honduran Medical Educational Network (AHMEN), a ministry that partners with volunteers and organizations to share the love of Christ in Honduras through medical relief and educational development. Michael and the Rio de Agua Viva (River of Living Water) team just returned from their most recent journey to Honduras; we love the community empowerment model of AHMEN and we invited him to share a little more about the the types of unique, sustainable service that they were part of while there. AHMEN also benefits from strong team leaders and volunteers, and Michael is one of the best UMVIM trainers out there. Read on to learn more about some of the exciting projects AHMEN is a part of in Honduras, and how to join one of their upcoming teams!
Teachers use homework as a teaching tool, a way for young minds to hash out any questions they have about what they are learning and why they are learning it. AHMEN's Río de Agua Viva team sent home assignments with our "students" for the very same reason. The Río team had a jam-packed schedule this year, and we did our best to follow it. Of the many different activities we planned, the following three took precedence:
Review Marketing and Pricing Techniques at Los Laureles Jewelry School
Los Laureles is the city dump community in La Ceiba, Atlántida, Honduras where the De La Montaña Al Mar Team Mothers of Limited Means started a jewelry school in 2012. The Río team works there by helping the students develop their artistry and business skills. This year's team specifically taught pricing and marketing. The first day’s lesson ended with us giving them a little bit of homework: we asked the students to bring back examples of names for their school/business reflecting why they are making jewelry. Would you believe they came back with four names that they then merged into one?! Now, the jewelry students are calling themselves “Pequeñas Bisuteras Alcansando Un Sueño , which means “Small Beads Realizing A Dream.”

Facilitate Follow-Up Interviews with the ASI-Cusuna Graduates

After completing the 3-year training, ASI graduates take an aspect of their training and replicated a training program on that subject in their home towns. So last December we asked ASI-Cusuna's local coordinator, Pastor Nahun Flores, if he would gather the graduates so they could tell us about their project ideas. Not only did they arrive ready to tell us about their project ideas, they were ready to tell us about the project they were already implementing in clean water, First Aid, HIV/AIDS, human rights, environmental preservation, and more. What's even more interesting is that each of the agents asked that we connect them with the resources they need to build a sustainable network of success for their projects!

Initiate Exploratory ASI-Raistá Workshops
An ASI-Cusuna graduate from La Moskitia approached the Río team last year with a request to replicate his entire 3-year training from Cusuna in La Moskitia. Pastor Willington Tejada said that the several communities where he is a preacher are far too remote, with too many people interested in the workshops to replicate just a single aspect of his training. With the help of Willington, Nahun, and Byron Morales, the Río team taught a 2-day lesson on Communications, Pediatric Care, “Worms & Germs” and First Aid. We also collaborated with Agua con Bendiciones (Water with Blessings) to provide a complete training whereby each agent was awarded with, and trained to use, their own Sawyer water filter. Two members of the Río team also invited the potential community agents to bring a sample from their local source to be tested. Guess who did their homework?

A completed homework assignment is a sign that a student considers education important.  More importantly, however, that the Río team's students returned to class with their homework means they want to be a part of the conversation.

Río de Agua Viva is not the answer to any Honduran community's problems. We merely share information.  AHMEN Community Empowerment Program leader Byron Morales provides motivation and examples of solutions similar groups have used to solve similar problems. Local communities provide the social capital. Separately, we can all make a dent, but together we are the difference.

We invite you to learn more about these initiatives or join our team in any capacity. Visit our site or contact me here to learn more today!

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