04/13/2016 The TOMS shoes arrived and the shoe drive began. We started at the east end of the island. The first week we had volunteers here on a medical mission at Clinic Esperanza and the people from the Hogar Emanuel Orphanage in SPS. I also rallied some ladies from the east end to help out.
We all met at Barrio Lempira in Oak Ridge and split up into groups. My group (Marilyn, Gail, Cathey, Kathy and Marcia) went to Pandy Town. Pandy Town is one of my favorite schools, I like the teachers and the kids there. It’s the school I went to the very first time I helped with TOMS shoes.
My helpers left after Pandy Town and the rest of us finished up at the other school in Barrio Lempira.
After that we went to Punta Gorda to fit the kids there. Since the schools have 2 shifts we missed the younger students the first day at Punta Gorda.
The next morning I met my friend Llyn and her 2 friends and we went to Punta Gorda. From there we loaded shoes into my car and went to a small kinder that I never even knew was there in Lucy Point and fit some kids with shoes. I think that was the most hugs I’ve ever gotten at a school.
It didn’t take long to fit those kids so Llyn and her friends headed home and I went back to Punta Gorda. The power was out so they moved the shoe fitting outside. It was stifling hot in the rooms. Two people stayed inside and handed the needed sizes out the windows to the fitters.
After they were done there they went to Barrio Los Fuertes. That’s where I rescued Frito. Nidia said not to go because 1) Frito and 2) driving west to the school, then driving all the way back east to home. I came home.
My friend Marcia volunteered to do another day with me on Wednesday, along with Bob and Rosalie who wanted to help. We met them at the 1500+ student Modelo school in Sandy Bay. Wowsa, what a huge school bustling with activity. There is a sports court on the roof, nice and hot up there in the blazing sun, but at least there is somewhere to run and play ball. We had a lot of volunteers this day. We even had a family who helped us last year.
Once we got all the shoes in the room we had at least 15 fitters and the rest of us were runners and fitters too when needed. I know I fit a LOT of shoes that day. Christa (AKA Cookie, who is Nidia’s daughter) did the kinder class at that school, about 100 students. We had around 1500 that we did in 3 hours. We rocked it!
After we finished that school we were taking a lunch break. Marcia, Bob, Rosalie and a lady we met who was helping named Jan all went to The Salty Mango restaurant in Sandy Bay for lunch. It was excellent.
After that Marcia and I went to a school in Flowers Bay. That wasn’t a very large school. The rooms had no lights or ventilation/fans at all so we fit the kids outside.
After that school was finished we called it a day. We planned to meet at another large school in the same area the next morning.
I arrived just as Faber and a few other people did and we waited for the shoe truck to come. Once they came we had the students carry the shoes into the school yard.
We took a lunch break and then had to wait for the next shift of students to arrive. Instead of waiting, Cookie and I took several pairs of shoes and went to Miss Valeries Charmont Academy and dropped off shoes there and then we went to Las Brisas kinder. It is out a road called Steel Pan Alley.
After the other school was finished we called it a day. I didn’t help out on Friday because I had to volunteer at the airport for the United Flight.
Friday before the airport I stopped to get meds for a dog at a little store that we stop at. Bill sent me the photo asking if I could help the dog.
I got some Ivermectin and also took some flea and tick drops for the dog. On my way home from the airport I stopped by Cattleya School. Cattleya is the school for mentally and physically disabled children. There are Autistic children, Down’s kids and some who can’t walk very well. They have 2 teachers and are in dire need of another Special Ed teacher. The teachers do the best they can but are for the most part, overwhelmed.
I had cleaned out my scrapbook stuff, since I no longer do it, and I decided to donate the bulk of it to my friend Connie’s school. I got a tour of the new school (they recently moved) and saw some of the students who I know, like Terren and Stephanie. Connie was very appreciative of the things I took there. She has some of the mothers of the students decorating empty wine bottles to sell to make $$ for the school. I offered to help show them some different things they can do to the bottles. I plan to stop by there next week and help out.
When I got home from there we ran over and gave the dog a shot of Ivermectin for the mange and I put some Fipronil on him for the fleas and ticks. How someone can allow their dog to get in this condition, I’ll never understand that. So sad that the dog has to live like that.
It was a busy week with a lot of smiling children and a lot of exhausted volunteers. I am so glad my friends volunteered to help out, at least they got to see what is involved and how time consuming it is. Many people are familiar with the TOMs one for one program but until you actually see it in action, you have no idea what is involved.
I am so grateful that I am able to be a part of this, it makes me feel so good knowing that the kids have a new pair of comfy TOMS shoes. Many thanks to all the volunteers, the group from Clinic Esperanza, the families, my friends, The Municipal of Santos Guardiola for donating their truck and especially to Nidia, her family and the amazing volunteers from the Hogar Emanuel Orphanage in San Pedro Sula, this wouldn’t be happening with out you!
I actually missed a Saturday at the airport (first in 3 months) and a party at a friends house on Sunday due to a damn toothache. My dentist was on vacation so I had to wait until he returned to be seen. It’s odd because it hurts, then doesn’t hurt, then hurts again. It comes in waves but what bothers it most is hot or cold, eating can be painful. I had a low key weekend and after the previous week, I really needed that. I was beyond the point of exhausted. (dental update, need to go to mainland to see an endodontist)
Sunday morning we took the boys for a swim in the lagoon. We go really early, like 7 AM, before anyone is there. They had an absolute blast running around.
We brought them home, I bathed them, fed them scrambled eggs and yogurt and we all took a nice long nap.
That was my week in the tropics, hope yours was as fun filled and fulfilling as mine was. Until the next blog..
How do you find the energy? I am so blown away by all you do!
Thanks Julia. It’s fun but very exhausting. I usually come home, love on my dogs and pass out.