Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Successful Mission Trip

A group of nine NY/HELP volunteers spent two weeks between July 26 and August 7, 2010 working with the people in the mountainous communities around La Laguna, near Yoro in northern Honduras. The volunteers on this trip included a doctor, two medical students, a math teacher, a Spanish teacher, a college freshman (in the fall) and a family of three.


We worked with the community on improvements on the clinic, especially a new roof, fencing in the clinic property and planting trees. Other projects included helping to build lorena stoves and school visits. We met with the Tribal Council and discussed future plans and the relationship between NY/HELP and the Mataderos Tribe.

Friday, August 6, 2010

NY/HELP Mission Trip Comes to a Successful End

Hola, amigos de NY-HELP,

We have completed our projects in La Laguna, up in the mountains near Yoro, Honduras. The trip was very successful. The clinic has a new roof (well, 90% of one, and the rest of the corrugated lamina will be put up this weekend by the community workers, working under the skillful supervision of Elio Lopez. There also is a new fence just around the clinic (well, almost -- it still needs 12 meters more!). But the clinic roof no longer leaks! The community workers did a top-notch job, with the assistance of Mike, Doug, Jamie and David.
Jamie, Doug and the girls went with Rigoberto several times to help build stoves in needy houses. These stoves not only let people cook their food better, and use less firewood, but the chimney takes the smoke OUTSIDE instead of floating around the house.

In the clinic, we saw 146 patients. On Saturday, we packed some supplies and went with our nurse, Mirtila Garcia, to the neighboring community of El Calechal. In addition to the patients that came to our temporary clinic in the kitchen of the Catholic church, Gordon made house calls on 6 elderly patients. Our two medical students from the NY College of Osteopathic Medicine on Long Island, Kelly and Emily, did a great job of helping in the clinic. They would see patients, frequently with David translating, and discuss them with Gordon and Mirtila. They picked up on a number of interesting problems. In addition, we funded several requests for assistance with medical problems such as needed surgery.

Shea kept very busy, visiting local schools, teaching songs to the kids, and helping translate. She did a great PR job for our group with the children!

We walked down the mountain on Wednesday (and it didn´t rain!), and took a busito to San Pedro Sula. Gordon and Shea are now in Copan, having visited the famous Mayan rules there. The rest of the group is recovering from mountain life on the beach in Omoa. We will be meeting back in San Pedro Sula Friday night.

Thanks to everyone for their prayers and assistance!

Gordon F Comstock, MD
August 5, 2010

Sunday, August 1, 2010

NY/HELP Mission trip update #3

I received a cell phone call this morning from Gordon. They were on their way to buy refreshments for the day's soccer tournament. (During every trip there is a soccer tournament between 4 villages)

The trip has been a successful one so far. About three quarters of the Clinic roof has been replaced. They are working on the security fence surrounding the Clinic building. A number of trees have been planted on the Clinic grounds. There was a mobile clinic held in the nearby village of Calichal and Gordon reported treating a 99 year old woman who would not have been able to walk to the La Laguna Clinic.

He reported that every one is well and things are going well. They will be in La Laguna until Wednesday. After they leave the mountains they will spend Thursday & Friday as recreational days, some going to the beach and some to the ruins of Copan.

Your continued support and prayers are welcomed.

Paz y salud,
Ginger Comstock

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

NY/HELP Group in La Laguna

This evening I received a phone call from Gordon Comstock giving an update.

The group visited the boarding house while in Yoro. They then drove up to La Laguna. The road was not the best as it had rained.

All is well with everyone. They were starting to work on putting a fence around the clinic.


NY/HELP Group Arrives Safely

I received a cell phone call from David Makepeace in Honduras Monday afternoon (July 26) to let everyone know that the group has arrived safely in Honduras. They were leaving the airport and traveling to Yoro. There they will buy groceries and any other needed supplies and spend the night. Then tomorrow, Tues July 27, they will be headed up the mountain to La Laguna to begin their mission work.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

David Makepeace & his wife travel a week early.

We arrived safe and had a good trip to mountain with Yovany. Did some great preplanning. We need to send a coordinator early from now on.

I will see Dr. Gordon at the airport. Everyone is waiting with open arms and multiple problems.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

July Trip leaves soon

There is a 9-person group traveling to Honduras for two weeks beginning Monday, July 26.
They will be working on several projects, among them, re-roofing the clinic building, installing a fence around the clinic property and building more efficient stoves for several families.

As always, your prayers are important as we continue this important work.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

First Hurricane of the Season hits Honduras

The torrential downpour began around 5.45 pm on May 19th and quickly flooded the main streets and avenues of downtown and other heavily trafficked arteries vehicles.

Agatha is the first named hurricane of the season.

Rain in San Pedro Sula

Floods in El Progreso

Chaos and destruction in San Pedro Sula after storm

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

NY/HELP -- A Peace Corps Analog?

The following article was published in the March 2010 newsletter of "Amigos de Honduras", an organization of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers that served in Honduras.

NY/HELP -- An Amigo de Honduras

A few years ago, I was up in the mountains in Honduras, talking with one of the young people participating in a NY/HELP project there. He was interested in international affairs and refugee problems, and I was encouraging him to join the Peace Corps when he finished college. He was a little doubtful, though, saying "I hear the Peace Corps signs you up for life."

Well, I think he was right – at least for some of us! I taught high school in Ghana while in the Peace Corps in 1966-68, and talked for years afterwards about doing some type of international service. My chance came in 1989, when our church gave me the opportunity to participate in an ecumenical project, working with people in an indigenous community up in the mountains near Yoro. I had become a family physician after my PC days, and so I had the chance to be in a mobile clinic brigade in La Laguna, about 30 km from Yoro, Yoro. I went back two years later, and have been hooked by this experience ever since.

NY/HELP is a ecumenical project of the New York Conference of the United Church of Christ, and is supported by donations from people and churches in New York state. Although we are church-based, we avoid preaching, but do try to "show our faith by our acts". One of our first projects was to build a clinic – but then discovered that we needed local nurses to provide care when no NY/HELP doctors were there. We have sponsored several young women in nursing school, and one, Mirtila Garcia, is currently our full-time nurse there, working in cooperation with the government health system.

Working with the community is much more than just health care, though. We have sponsored educational projects for many years, and recently worked with local communities to build a middle school (grades 7-9) nearby, so local children could continue their education beyond sixth grade. `(The government education department is providing teachers for this school.) The school was built using donations from people and churches in New York state, and labor from the community (and volunteers from NY).

Nutrition has been a continuing problem, and we have worked to improve local farming practices by helping families plant gardens, and for the past ten years, working with another NGO, Sustainable Harvest International (founded by a RPCV from Panama, Flo Reed).

Water systems and sanitation (meaning latrines!) are other important projects; these have become a "felt need" for communities in recent years. During our NY/HELP trip in August 2009, we were fortunate to have four current Peace Corps Volunteers work along with us. Three are involved in "Wat-San", Peace Corps/Honduras' water and sanitation program; they spent a week surveying the local community water systems. Two systems were in good shape, but the others needed a lot of attention. One of the PCVs will be returning to the village in January 2010 to give a 3-day educational program for the "Juntas de Agua" (Water Boards).

I was personally really pleased to spend some time with these current PCVs. I saw that 40 years after I was in the Peace Corps, we still have great people volunteering for this job!

One more thing: like the Peace Corps, one goal of our NY/HELP program is to teach us gringos about Honduras, and how people in other cultures and societies exist. From talking with other New Yorkers, I think this second goal has been a success as well.

More information about our NY/HELP program can be found at

Gordon F. Comstock, MD
Medical Adviser, NY/HELP
Peace Corps/Ghana, 1966-68
November 27, 2009

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

February Mission Trip Has Returned

The group which spent a busy 2 weeks in Honduras has now returned. Shortly we will be posting reports and more pictures.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Message from Yovany, of Sustainable Harvest

This was received by email Wednesday, February 24, 2010

February 24, 2010 7:19 PM

Dear Dr. Gordon:

I was with the group for three days (Sunday 21 thru Tuedasy 23). They didn´t have problems in arrive to Honduras. Only Richard DeNise had problems with the connection and arrived at 9:10 PM, but we was to Yoro City, the next day, for joint with the rest of the volunteers group.

We realized three trips La Habana-La Laguna, for mobilizate the 10 persons and 20 big bags!, with medicines, school suplies, clothes and other materials for families and students. Too, we moved materials and 4 volunteers (Richard, Brian. Dena and Marco) to Quiloma, where thay will wotk in repair and construct a new fences to Primary School in the community.

About Andy (Andres), he is incorporate to group since the 21. He, with other peace volunteer will work in prepare a proposal about the clinic and possible traspass to medical NGO or public health department of Yoro. It´s only a proposal that they elaborate with Tribe Council for to give NYHelp for analyze. Too, he will work in construction of fence in La Laguna school some days.

That´s are all for this time. All them are working now!!


Monday, February 22, 2010

Mission Trip Underway

On Sunday, February 21, an 11-member mission group left for Honduras for two weeks in and around La Laguna, Honduras.

Along with running a medical clinic, working on education, possibly new roofs, the group will be looking at new sites to expand to for our project. We may begin working with another very poor village in the valley of Sulaco, over on the other side of the mountains from La Laguna.

Stay tuned – a trip is being planned for this summer!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

NY/HELP Meeting - Sunday, January 17, 2010

We will be meeting at 2PM at the Arcade United Church of Christ, 297 Main St, Arcade in our meeting room by the back door of the church. The meeting is open to all who are interested in the NY/HELP mission.

Much of the agenda will be on the upcoming February trip, but we should also talk a bit about planning for our summer trip as well.

If you are interested, please come. If you have questions, write to