Sunday, April 26, 2009

Soft Shell Tacos with Avacado Mango Salsa and Oscar Goes To The Hospital For Heart Surgery

Oscar has worked at our farm since a few months after we purchased it in 1994. When he first started working for us he had two children now he has six. When he first started working for us he was 24 now he is 39 almost 40. When he first started working for us he was just another bricklayer, but 15 years later he is like part of the family.

In December of 2007, Oscar suffered a heart attack. He is one of those employees that everyone would love to have working for them because he NEVER misses work, he never complains and he is always compliant. One day he didn't show up and the next day he didn't show up either. By the third day I was concerned. I went to his home to see what was wrong. No telephone! Oscar's legs were swollen and he couldn't walk. He said his knees hurt, his chest hurt, he was coughing a dry cough and he thought he had "dinge".

Mango Avocado Cucumber Salsa

Ingredients:1/2 c. fresh cilantro, chopped

1/4 c. fresh mint, chopped

1 ripe avocado, peeled and cubed

1 ripe mango, peeled and cubed

1/2 cup small red onion, halved and thinly sliced

15 spring peas cut into small pieces

½ of a large cucumber peeled and cubed

5 green onion, white and light green portions diced

juice of 2 limes

1/4 c. olive oil

1 large garlic clove, minced or pressed

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

1/4 tsp chili powder

1/4 tsp smoked paprika

Directions:-In small bowl, combine avocado, mango and juice of 1/2 lime.

-Toss and set aside.

-In separate small bowl, combine remaining lime juice, garlic, salt, pepper, chili powder, and paprika.

-Whisk to combine and while whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in olive oil to emulsify.-In large serving bowl, combine all other ingredients

-Top with drained mango and avocado and serve immediately

Excellent as a refreshing salsa on tacos.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Gringa and Making Flour Tortillas / Wheelchair Giveaway in Choluteca

Finally I have learned to make flour tortillas. It seemed like an ominous task to learn in light of the fact that everyone around me makes 50 tortillas a day and I didn't even know the ingredients. They grab a ball of maza (tortilla dough), throw it into the palm of their hands and in seconds a perfect tortilla is formed.

The maza was intimidating because it is kind of like Grandma Wallace’s biscuits. They throw in a dab of this and a dab of that and there is no measuring and out come these perfect tortillas. One of the things I wanted to do this year was to learn to make flour tortillas. I have now accomplished that goal!

Flour Tortillas

3 1/2 Cups of Flour
1 Teaspoon Soda
1 Teaspoon Salt

Combine well and make a hole in the middle of the mix. This hole is where you will place the shortening and pour the water. (This is the part that reminds me of Grandma Wallace)
7 Tablespoons of Shortening
1 Cup Hot Water

Mix with your hands for 3 minutes.

Make a ball and cover it.

Wait 15 while the dough rests and then make your tortillas.

After the dough sets, divide the dough into golf size balls.

Thanks to my friend Erlinda for loaning me her hands for the photo.

Unless you are Honduran and can do it with your hands, you then heavily flour your cutting board or a placemat and heavily flour your rolling pin and start rolling. Try to make them a round circle. It is a bit hard to do, but practice helps.

Then you place them on a hot griddle to lightly brown. Flip them and wrap them up in a towel! Yes, that is correct, wrap them in a towel. I always have a towel inside a baggie inside the refrigerator. Always! You cannot serve a meal in Honduras without tortillas. Usually I buy my tortillas from a friend who makes them. But now I know how to make them myself! Yea!

By tomorrow they will be perfect for soft tacos and I have a recipe for Mango Avocado Salsa I want to try. I saw hundreds of people selling mangos on the side of the road today, so I will get what I need to make the salsa and give you the recipe tomorrow.

Wheelchairs and Happy Faces

Today was the wheelchair giveaway in Choluteca, Honduras. Doña Sonja Lovo of the Flamingo Hotel in Choluteca, a long time SMART Team volunteer, had been collecting paperwork from recipients for weeks and today was the day. I bought 2 new tires for the truck and headed to Choluteca by myself. It is very rare that I drive by myself, but today was one of those days. I turned on the stereo and listened to my Bible on CD and took off through the mountains. I arrived in almost record time, as I didn’t stop at my usual place to buy cheese and I didn’t stop to visit friends on the way. Over the years I have made many friends along the road and usually I stop and visit with a friend or two on the way.

Today I was in a hurry because the tires that were supposed to take 30 minutes to change were not even at the tire store when I arrived. After waiting for them to arrive, I sat and waited as the guys that were supposed to be putting them on chatted and chatted and chatted. Finally I went out to the garage and picked up the air compressor lug nut taker- off-er thing-a-ma-jig and they decided if they didn’t do the work, I might.

The wheelchair giveaway was a blast as usual! The case which broke my heart was a young woman who was paralyzed giving birth to her second child, a son. She cannot move her arms or legs and has been confined to the bed for five years since he was born.

She is so thin, it is scary, but she has a brilliant smile.

Her Christian neighbor found out about the wheelchair giveaway and made sure all the paperwork was in our hands where she could receive a free wheelchair.

Then her neighbor brought her to the Hotel to receive her chair. The neighbor prayed with her, thanking God for providing the wheelchair which they had been praying for her to receive for several years.

Her husband lifted her carefully into the chair.
The smile says it all!

Free Wheelchair Mission gives us wheelchairs to give away to people in need. Thank you to Ernest and Linette Gaudet Family Trust who donated funds to pay for diesel, bus trips and various expenses for this wheelchair giveaway trip.

Below are the photos of the others who received chairs today.

People were waiting in line when I arrived. They actually arrived early.
As usual the Boy Scout Troop from Choluteca helped us put all the chairs together. They are such a blessing!

After the people were given their wheelchairs and instructions in the parking lot of Hotel Flamingo, we took the group to the street. It caused a commotion and one of the television stations showed up to take video.

Dr.Canales Director of the Hospital Del Sur in Choluteca showed up to receive 5 wheelchairs for the hospital. Since SMART Medical Teams frequently have medical brigades at the hospital we are all to aware of the need for wheelchairs. Last time we were at the hospital a woman that was 9 1/2 months pregnant stood for 20 minutes while they prepared the room for her cesarean.
It is always fun to see the people going home.

Friday, April 3, 2009


Today I received a huge blessing! I saw some of the fruit of my labors and I saw how what I am doing can really change people’s lives for the better.

As I was preparing for the Wheelchair Giveaway in San Lorenzo, Valle I was tired, hot, lethargic and ready to go home to cooler Tegucigalpa. Following three days of intensive, exhausting eye brigades, I wondered, “Should I have done this on a different day?” I wondered to myself if anyone really appreciated the free wheelchairs or if it was “just another handout” and I wondered if people took them for granted or if they really had an appreciation for what many people gave in order to get these chairs into their hands.

I breathed a prayer and I said, “God, you know that I do what I do for you. You know that I commit all my ways to you. I know that you appreciate the fact that I am helping people, so I will hold my chin up no matter how tired I am and I will put a smile on my face and get these chairs given to the people that need them.” I really felt drained from the heat.

A woman came up to speak to me and called me by name. “Terasita,” she said, “I heard that you were giving away more wheelchairs today and I wanted to come and talk to you.” I figured she wanted a chair, but I was wrong! She came to say, “THANK YOU!” On February 14th, Dia de Amor y Amistad (Valentines Day) I had a wheelchair giveaway IN CHOLUTECA 40 miles away. Her invalid father came and received a chair that day.

She informed me that her father is now a confirmed VAGABOND. He had been bedridden since October 16, 2008 when he fell and fractured his hip. He had spiraled into a deep depression and was not really interested in receiving a wheelchair, but once he received it, he had a new found freedom. She told me that he leaves the house in the morning and rolls himself to friends’ houses and visits. He rolls himself down the road to the bank, pays bills, goes to the market, watches people at the park and is very mobile now. He comes home for lunch SOMETIMES and sometimes he arrives later around dinner time. She says that the wheelchair has totally changed his life.

I was so thankful to receive this news at just the right time! When I needed to hear it.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

April 2 2009 San Lorenzo Eye Clinic Shaddi Church

Today we performed eye exams on 45 people. Thank you to Iglesia Shaddi (Shaddi Church) for loaning us their building. Several of those examined need cataract surgery which will be performed in a few months.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Paso Real Eye Brigade

This morning when we arrived at the school house in Paso Real, Nacaome, Valle, Honduras there were already several older patients waiting for us. It was a busy day and unfortunately I never had the time to take any photos, or even to use the restroom.

People buzzed in and out, had their eyes examined, chatted with neighbors and then left the same way they came, by foot. Not one single car showed up to bring people, not one single horse. 100% of the patients arrive on foot.

We were able to identify several new wheelchair needs and will be returning soon to take wheelchairs and to snap a few photos. I also identified many people with varicose veins and many more with hernias, one cleft lip and palate, a thyroid patient and several other medical needs.

The trip was very productive and we were able to attend to the needs of 54 patients.

The photo to the left is of a sunset in Guascoran, Valle a few short miles away. I shot this photo one evening as I was returning from a wheelchair giveaway.

April 1 2009 Eye Exams In The Mayor's Office In Coray Valle

Today we were in San Francisco de Coray, as close to the end of the world as you can get and still be in Honduras. Over 2 hours on “normal” roads from Tegucigalpa and then another hour by dirt “road”. When we arrived we set up to perform the exams in the Mayor’s office. We saw 64 people and of the 64 we found several cataracts and several ptygeriums. Old and young alike showed up to have their eyes examined.

We also ran into another rare occurrence in Honduras, a little albino girl. She was full of energy and never sat still.