Bill Feyrer started by saying there were really 2 trips back to back.

Bill, Chris Dysart, and Maureen Duncan started in Tegucigalpa, Honduras visiting a program the club supports to train women and their families in how to better run their businesses & budgets, so they can afford to send their children to school.  Next they visited the market to talk to approximately 50 women about how the program had impacted their lives.  Around noon they were advised to leave because the gangs would be coming soon to collect their 'tax'.  Most people in Tegucigalpa still buy most things at the open air markets in the centre of the city.  

They were also there to register the children that are in the AYO (Alternativas y Oportunidades) for school which starts in early Feb.  Ron Ross and his wife from Castlegar take photos of 2200 children whose families cannot afford to send them.  It is hoped that by the end of 2015 there will only be 1000 of the 2200 who cannot afford school.

Chris Dysart told the stories of 2 women (ask her for details)  and was impressed by the local Rotarians in small clubs who are able to do so much with our and Rotary Internationals help. 

Bill reported that of the 53 women, 42 had micro-credit loans or had applied.  The 10 that didn't about half had outstanding loans of around $20.

They then went to Comayagua, Honduras and with people from Comox BC inaugurated at water project and looked at a couple of other projects.  There is a tremendous need for projects in this community of 1000 people.

Pieta VanDyke with Keith Phillips, his wife Susanne, Mary Coward, and Andrew Bekes, met the 3 above mentioned members in Antigua Guatemala (NOT the islands Antigua & Barbuda).  This was the location of the UNIENDO Project Fair.  At the fair, Central American clubs display projects they need help with, and visiting Rotarians mostly from North America, attend, make connections and decide which projects they can help with.

The group took a bus trip with some Rotarians from the Bainbridge Island club to visit a couple of micro credit projects that we jointly sponsor.  Visited one group of 18.  They do agricultural projects like buying and fattening pigs, then selling them.  Then they went to resort for the working class, where people's costs are paid by their employers.

Went to lake Atitlan and were hosted by Rotarians.  Lake Atitlan is dying from overuse by people.  There is a Rotary program to stop contamination of the lake.  In the program 10,000 households are able to earn (with 75 hours community work), a water filter, a smokeless stove and an eco-toilet (composting).  To fuel the stoves each family is allowed to cut 2 trees per year, but they have to plant 6 trees.  Our members liked the fact that program participants had to contribute 'sweat equity'.

Andrew Bekes was most impressed with the community buy-in to the project and the support of the municipal government.

Keith Phillips had not be to Guatamala since the late 70's.  He too was impressed by the community buy-in, and the opportunities Rotary has to make a big difference for little money.

We are in year 4 of a 5 year project in Tegucigalpa.  Some of our members (Bill & Chris) have been every year.

In Comayagua where we have done water projects. In that time Bill has been talking to them about having a community forest. Land has now become available and plans are being made to plant 6000 trees for $3000 over 3 years.  $500 has been collected from a number of clubs and the project can now go ahead without involving Rotary International.

This was part of the $3000 club members took as 'spending money'.  Another $500 was given to Mike Shorecross who sponsors schools, $500 went to a Mayan families organization that feeds elders, $500 for the project that Andrew described to ameliorate Lake Atitlan, some money to a Dr. William who treated Bill's infected leg.

A physicians Travel Pack was taken as luggage and given to the Medical Clinic at AYO.

All the club members on the trip were inspired to carry on this work on our behalf.