Monthly news magazine for Roatan, Utila & Guanaja
December, 2004 Vol.2 No. 14
 
Calendar Style
Bay Islands Voice Updates:
feature story / editorial / local news / business

written by Jaime Johnston & Thomas Tomczyk, photos by Thomas Tomczyk

A Hospital Mosaic

The Faces behind the Struggles and Success of Bay Islands Government Medical Care

The Roatan Hospital bustles with activity every day. The halls are crowded with patients, spilling out into a courtyard. Even on a cool day, the building is filled with hot, stale air. Physically, the paint on the walls is peeling; the washrooms don't always function. There are medicine shortages and long lines. Women in labor are sometimes doubled up in beds; baby deliveries are happening on a rusted birthing table. There are only 33 hospital beds available for tens of thousands of people.
While waiting, people visit with the person next in line, sometimes for hours. The janitors quietly squeeze by while they sweep the floors. The nurses joke with each other as they move from room to room. Doctors pause in the hallways to answer questions. These are the faces of the Roatan Hospital. These interactions are not merely passing moments, but instead become the foundation of our experiences.

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The Outpatient:

Catherine Hynds de Syms looks at the long lines at the Roatan Hospital and nods. Her face shows a learned patience. "Monday's always a busy day," said Miss Catherine who arrived in the early morning to see her doctor. Miss Catherine, of Coxen Hole, was diagnosed with diabetes in 1976. Once a month, she comes for a check-up and collects her insulin. "It's a lot cheaper than the private hospital," said Miss Catherine. For her consultation and medication, she pays the standard Lps. 2 fee. Sometimes, the hospital runs out of her blood pressure pills. "When they run out, you have to buy at an outside pharmacy and it's very expensive. Right now, they've been out of my pills for a month," said Miss Catherine, whose daughter, Hortence, is also a chronic outpatient of the hospital. Nearly two years ago, 17-year old Hortence found out she was anemic and now comes to the hospital every two months. Twice a year, she receives a blood transfusion. "Last time, it cost Lps. 1,500 for the blood," said Miss Catherine. Roatan Hospital orders and ships the blood and Hynds pays the bill. "We always come and go and we can't complain. This hospital serves us well. I'll be back again next month."

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The Volunteer:

After one week of volunteering at the hospital, Dr. Wendolyn Zelaya has settled in to the daily demands of the island's pediatric clinic. She treats a steady stream of children, greeting each one with a bright smile and a gentle voice. "I just love it here!" said Dr. Wendolyn who is a second-year resident at St. Louis Children's Hospital in Missouri. The clinic, established by Global Healing in 2003, treats 20-30 patients daily. "The biggest need here is for education. We try to promote good nutritional habits and also the proper use of medications for children," said Dr. Wendolyn. Born in Honduras, Dr. Wendolyn completed her general medical degree in Tegucigalpa and moved with her fiancé to complete her pediatric specialty in the United States. "I am the guinea pig because I am the first resident from St. Louis Children's Hospital. Because I am from here [Honduras], I can understand differences in culture and I am bilingual," said Dr. Wendolyn, who will work at the clinic for one month. Dr. Wendolyn also examines newborns before they leave the hospital; her face sparks with optimism as she describes interacting with first-time mothers. "The most important thing for me is to talk to new Moms and teach them about lactation. One of our jobs is to teach them that their milk is the best milk for their new baby," said Dr. Wendolyn.

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The Patient:

A three-year resident of the women's ward, Maud Odencia Price may be the most well-known personality of the Roatan Hospital. Beginning at 6am, Miss Maud is wheeled out to a corner behind the reception area where she is parked for the day. Here, she spends her time visiting, telling stories or braiding her hair; this is also where she collects her only income. Miss Maud, 67, sells small bottles to patients who need to give specimen samples to the laboratory. The bottles sell for Lps. 2 each and, after the samples are collected, the laboratory returns them to Miss Maud to be cleaned and re-sold. On an average day, Miss Maud sells four bottles, yielding 8 Lps. with which she buys her daily juice. "I worked hard all my life and now I work at this; it's a way for me to look out for myself," said Miss Maud of Coxen Hole. As she sits waiting for customers, she shares words with those passing by or waiting to be treated. Even those who are done with the doctor come by to visit before they leave. With a boisterous voice, she asks them to come back soon.
In 2001, Miss Maud suffered from diabetes-related problems and was admitted to the hospital. While she was hospitalized, her home was robbed and vandalized. She had nowhere to go. Both of Miss Maud's parents and all of her eight siblings are deceased. "I don't have no family but God," said Miss Maud, "This hospital kept me here to help me and it saved me from being on the street like a dog. I was born and raised in Roatan and I ended up in this Roatan Hospital." Two years ago, Miss Maud's left leg was amputated below the knee. She has a prosthetic leg which is buckled to her thigh. "They said if they cut me, I would last longer," said Miss Maud who received a wheelchair last year from Mrs. Aguas Ocaña de Maduro, the first lady of Honduras. Three months ago, two American doctors volunteering in the hospital took notice of Miss Maud's condition. They helped her to take her first steps in two years. Since they left, she hasn't walked again.

Miss Maud usually sits in her corner until 9pm when a nurse will take her back to her ward. There are five beds in the women's ward, but Miss Maud has been there the longest. "It's pretty quiet in there and people, they come and go. I eat what they give me and I feel good," said Miss Maud. Before she sleeps at night, she prepares her box of bottles for the next day of sales. Other patients have started to give Miss Maud different items to try and sell on their behalf: plastic sandals, newspapers, shirts. Her corner is filling with boxes of personal belongings. "Everybody loves me," said Miss Maud, "You ask anyone in this hospital and they will tell you. I am the doctors' favorite."

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The Nurse:

Dressed in a pristine white uniform, Nurse Yessenia Martinez looks into the delivery room and says "Childbirth is the most beautiful experience that there can be." Nurse Yessenia, 28, has been a maternity nurse for five years and has helped deliver hundreds of babies.
Born and raised in Coxen Hole, Nurse Yessenia studied nursing in La Ceiba and then joined the Roatan Hospital staff in 1994. For her first five years, she worked in all the various wards; nurses rotate wards every three years to gain experience. Once she worked the maternity ward, she was asked to stay on longer. "Delivery is very complicated and the doctors didn't want to the nurses to leave after they had learned so much," explained Nurse Yessenia, "It is important to have us here because if the doctor becomes busy, the nurses have to deliver the baby."
While her husband is working aboard a Miami-based cruise ship, Nurse Yessenia juggles both parental roles and her nursing job. A mother of four, Nurse Yessenia works 120 hours a month, including 15 hours of overtime. The night shift is nine hours long during which Nurse Yessenia hires a babysitter to come into her home and care for her children. Her salary is Lps. 5,400 monthly, but according to Nurse Yessenia, there are other benefits to the job. "Some women are tired; some are happy. But, when the delivery is not complicated and the baby is healthy, it is very nice to be part of this. I like to be there with them."

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The Founder:

Before there was a Roatan Hospital, there was a young medical student named Jaqueline Wood. A Roatan native, she returned home from medical school in Tegucigalpa to perform her social work in 1980. It was then that she began to envision a better future for island medical care. "I said 'It's time for Roatan' and I got a dream to build a hospital," said Dr. Wood.
After Dr. Wood completed her social work in 1982, she helped to build two medical clinics, one in French Harbour and one in Oak Ridge. In 1985, she returned to school to complete her specialty in pediatrics which spanned over three years. Upon returning from her post-graduate studies in April 1988, Dr. Wood formed a committee of community members. The committee organized a fundraiser marathon and it raised over Lps. 25,000 In addition, there were many private donations of equipment and supplies. In 1989, the Honduran government agreed to fund Lps. 350,000 for a hospital for the Department. Finally, on September 1, 1991, the Roatan Hospital opened its doors to patients of the Bay Islands.
The initial staff had four physicians, five Registered Nurses, 20 nurses and five watchmen. In 1992, the hospital added an obstetrics and gynecology unit, as well as a surgery ward. Storage areas, a morgue, a laboratory and a generator were all added within five years of the opening. "We started off with a lot of the wards we have now, but we have grown in the last years," said Dr. Wood, "We will continue to grow."
The hospital continues to struggle with supply issues and the high volume of patients. "Honduras is a very poor country and the problem is that we have only a little of everything. There are always medicine shortages; we have a great demand for certain antibiotics," said Dr. Wood who, in 1999, started Wood Medical Center, the island's first private hospital. According to Dr. Wood, the medical care offered in Roatan is equal to any available in Honduras. "I came back here because Roatan people needed a doctor to love them, not just to treat them, but to take care of them. I came here 20 years ago and I fell in love with them."

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The Spiritual Guide:

Father Faro walks quietly down the halls of the Roatan Hospital with an air of familiarity. He has been coming to the Roatan Hospital for the last 15 years. On Roatan, he is as close as you can get to a hospital chaplain. He tries to be here "anytime he can," at least once a week. Father Faro moves from room to room, blessing the sick, whispering words in a steady and soothing tone. "This is a service that God requires us to do, to take care of the sick ones," said Father Faro with black rosary beads around his neck.
There are varied responses to Father Faro's visits. In the maternity ward, Father Faro touches the swollen abdomen of a new mother; she has a look of anxiety in her eyes. Family members offer welcoming glances to him as he enters the women's inpatient ward to bless an elderly woman. A male amputee smiles with Father Faro as they pray together. Father Faro jokes with the nurses and claps the hands of a passing patient in the hall. Every so often, he performs the last rites for a dying or surgery bound patient. Father Faro offers economic help to poor who ask, remaining conscious that there are those who could try to take advantage of the community's charity. As he passes the pediatric ward, Father Faro pauses outside the door before continuing on. "I don't go in there unless they ask. The children are the people who can heal the easiest because God has given them new life," said Father Faro.

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TheConductor:

Dr. Jose Roberto Gonzales, 33, is the director of Roatan Hospital. He was born in La Ceiba and studied medicine in Tegucigalpa's UNAH. Dr. Gonzales did his postgraduate studies in orthopedic medicine and trauma. After coming to Roatan in August 2003, he was given a resident position as an orthopedic surgeon, supervising 112 hospital staff.
Roatan Hospital has currently five specialist doctors (pediatrics, surgeon, internist, gynecologist, orthopedist) six general practitioners, two volunteer pediatric doctors from US and one from Cuba. (The Cuban government has been sending a specialist here for the last six years to do their two year medical practice.) There are four social services staff and over 40 nurses. Two X-ray technicians, a microbiologist and a physical therapist have been the newest additions to the hospital's growing staff.

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The Mother:

Carmen Suyapa Alvarado, 19, has bags under her eyes. She hardly slept in 24 hours, tending to her sick child. He has a cough and will need to stay at the hospital for two more days. In the middle of the night, with her mother at her baby's side, Carmen was able to spend a couple hours sleeping. She lay down on a bench in front of the Hospital's testing laboratory.
Her first baby was born at Carmen's hometown hospital in Trujillo three years ago. That baby, Killeen, was delivered in a caesarian and her second, at the Roatan Hospital, through a natural birth. Carmen was in labor for six hours. "I feel better to give birth naturally. There is less pain, a moment. With the cesarean its three-four days of pain," said Carmen.
After spending four weeks with the baby at her Los Fuertes home, she came back to the Hospital to seek help with the baby's persistent cough. "At the hospital they always gave me and my baby good attention," said Carmen. "He's getting better."


In Conclusion:
In the restructuring of the country's hospital system, Roatan Hospital is changing from a Region No. 6 hospital to become a departmental hospital. There are currently 103 people on staff at the hospital and this change may mean little in terms of staffing and equipment. One of the biggest operational problems for the hospital is the lack of ultrasound equipment or a blood bank. Patients in need of blood transfusion need to order the blood from La Ceiba's Red Cross and pay Lps. 700 per pint. The procedure takes a day and, in emergency cases, a direct blood donor transfusion is performed.
Improvements in the quality of hospital services on the island have been gradual. Every six months, the Ministry of Health conducts a study to determine the conditions of Honduran hospitals. According to Roatan Hospital Director Dr. Jose Roberto Gonzales, the hospital improved its previous No. 5 ranking to No. 3 in 2004. Atlantida Regional Hospital and Tela Hospital are ranked ahead of Roatan and the hospitals in Tocoa, Olanchito and Trujillo finish last in Region No. 6.
According to Xiomara Turcios, Chief of Statistics and 12-year veteran of the hospital, there are 69,000 patients that have been treated since the hospital's inception. Now, the Japanese Government has offered to financially support construction of a new 80 bed hospital on Roatan. There are ongoing negotiations about donating land to this project in Dixon Cove. If the hospital becomes a reality, the Bay Islands will have 113 hospital beds, only three beds less than La Ceiba.

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Letters to the Editor

Dear Sirs,
On my way back from a weekend trip to Cancun, I came across an article on your issue No.12 of your magazine Bay Islands Voice titled "My People" written by Alfonso Ebanks. Being from Honduras and coming from a place where they are taking giant steps to preserve the environment and take good care of their natural resources, I couldn't agree more with Mr. Ebanks who in a very eloquent and articulated way describes our reality not only in the Bay Islands but in the whole country.
It is indeed time to think about our country as a jewel. We all need to take care of and put aside the opinion and practice that the "only thing each has to worry about is the preservation of number one. If we, as people, are to prosper, every person must forget their selfishness, their prejudices, their personal avarice and we must pull together in the same direction on everything that will make Honduras a better place to live and to work, if not for us then for our children". Well written, Mr. Ebanks. I hope you're Honduran. If not, I thank you.

Sincerely,
Raúl Barahona

Dear Editor,
On my way back to Roatan in the latter part of October after being absent for almost two years, I got my hand on a copy of Issue 12 of the Bay Islands Voice thanks to Atlantic Airlines.
I must say I was most impressed with its content! Never knew the magazine existed until that date. Before I left the Island in the mid part of November (as I study abroad) I purchased two copies of Issue No. 13; very nice. I MUST agree though with what a reader wrote in the Editorials Section in Issue 12. Roatan is developing rapidly and a lot of changes and improvements are being made to "efficiently" manage this growth (whereby tourism is concerned). But is the government and/or Ministry of Tourism REALLY training and employing officers who apart from not being able to speak English can assist the local, national and foreign tourists?
From personal experience during my short visit I can say that corruption is taking force not only with the officers on the highways but at their office on that particular hill. A lot of us when driving on the highways are stopped and asked for license and registration when behind you comes persons with a certain surname and luxurious car and simply waves to the officers and goes by……(without being checked). Is it because of the surname or the luxurious Nissan Murano or Toyota Prado?

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Aren't we all: black, blue, green, red supposed to be checked? These actions have gone too far. When has technology become so sophisticated that only ONE person is capable of handling the camera for a license? Why is the Police Department so behind that two persons are needed in order to take a picture. Someone commented to me that she paid Lps. 800 for a one year license when apparently the officer had told her earlier there weren't any licenses.
Good to know also that there are more international competitors flying in and out of Roatan, (a bit of history on the past airlines was great). I've prayed and begged for it, we have all experienced for two long bad airline services… product of a monopoly with not exceeding customer expectations added.
Thumbs up Thomas. The mixture and content of the Bay Islands Voice opens the minds of the readers and broadens our horizons.

Olden Ebanks, Jr
Designer and Former Editor
City Temple's Bulletin CR

Dear Editor,
I am the owner and brew master at D and D Brewery located in Los Naranjos Honduras at lake Yojoa. We are the real first micro brewery in Honduras. I have my public escritura dated 1999 and my registro sanitario dated 2000. It was a lot of work to be the first and promoting it as such. I think you have made a mistake in printing an article of the coming of Honduras´ first micro brew. There can only be one first micro brewery and I believe that title is mine and not the very late second comer that you have misled your readers about. I think you have a good product in your publication, but the information should be accurate. We are also going to start the construction of another brewery on Roatan this year.
I think you may want to tell the truth in your editorial section about who is the first micro brewer. I use that title in many of my advertisements (…). I think providing un-truths on topics such as this makes one of us look like a liar. I did my research long before I got my license and at that time there were no other micro breweries. We have been open and selling handcrafted ales and natural sodas for nearly three years. I am wondering how this new guy has gotten the title as the first when he has not even built his brewery yet and I have been open for three years.

Regards,
Robert J. Dale
Brewmaster D and D Brewery


Dear Mr. Dale,
We were informed by the owner of the Bay Island Brewery that his was the first and only micro brewery registered in Honduras. In good faith we have taken this information to be true and accurate. It was not. Competing with Cerveceria Hondureña must be difficult enough and we certainly don't want to ad to your worries. We are sorry for getting it wrong. We hope your beer is first in taste as well.
Cheers, and we sincerely wish you all the best in your enterprise.

Thomas Tomczyk
Managing Editor

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CANATURH-BI: A Drive for Members

The Bay Islands Chamber of Tourism (CANATURH-BI) is celebrating its two year anniversary with a membership drive. On November 8 and 15, the organization delivered two presentations about its achievements and goals to businesses throughout Roatan.
CANATURH-BI grew from eight members on its inception with membership doubled a year later. There are currently 28 members. As the organization lacks representation outside Roatan, CANATURH-BI is planning to take its membership drive 'on the road' to Utila and Guanaja in January.
There are now six Chamber of Tourism organizations throughout Honduras: Tegucigalpa, La Ceiba, Tela, Bay Islands, Copan and San Pedro Sula.

CANATURH-BI is headed by a 15-member board of directors, presided over by Romeo Silvestri, owner of Casa Romeo's restaurant.
In weekly and monthly meetings, the members discuss everything from tourism news and changes in legislature to the Bay Islands' presence at trade shows. Nine committees (security, cruise ship, marketing, etc.) help the organization to focus on particular issues and provide solutions for tourism growth. The organization has attended four international tradeshows in 2004 and is already preparing for Miami's 2005 Seatrade.

MINISTERING TOURISM

Thierry De Pierrefeu Midence, 45, was born in Tegucigalpa and studied in France, earning a Master's degree in Finance. Upon returning to Honduras, he joined Grupo Midence, a holding company involved in several Central American countries. He formed a partnership with Kempinski hotels and built the first beachfront hotel under this hotel chain in Latin America. In January 2002, Minister de Pierrefeu was appointed by President Maduro as Minister of Tourism, his first time holding political office. In his first three years, his ministry implemented the Tourist Police Force on the north coast and in the Bay Islands and focused on the development of a tourist & resort complex in Tela. Minister de Pierrefeu also serves as President of Grupo Midence Soto.

Bay Islands VOICE: What is the status of bidding for Roatan's cruise ship dock?
Min. Thierry De Pierrefeu: We had confirmation from Royal Caribbean that they do want to participate and Norwegian Cruise Lines wants to participate also. Carnival - we do not have confirmation that they will be participating. It's an open, international [30 year, Roatan Municipality only] bid based upon a design based on what are the minimum services to be provided by whoever wins the bid.
B.I.V.: Does the bid require a construction of an additional dock?
Min. T.P.: Yes, it does. When we reach a trigger of passengers arriving at the dock per year, but no longer than in five years, they have to build a second berthing facility. So there would be two ships docked at the same time. There is a requirement of developing and building commercial, land-based facilities with regards to parking areas.
B.I.V.: Is there a danger of creating a monopoly of one cruise line on Roatan?
Min. T.P.: That will not happen. In the bidding process, whoever participates has to have an open facility. Meaning that whoever wins the bid has only the right to preferential berthing. All major cruise ship companies will have access to the dock.
B.I.V.: How soon can the Congress vote on approval of the bid?
Min. T.P.: That will happen quite quickly. We've been working at it for many, many months now. Technically, it wasn't easy to set up as we don't have much experience in our country as far as the cruise line facilities.
B.I.V.: Is there any prospect of a cruise ship dock in Oak Ridge Municipality or Utila?
Min. T.P.: Not to my knowledge. I don't know of any initiatives whether public or private.
B.I.V.:
Do you see a disparity in the growth of tourism among the four Bay Islands municipalities? How can Guanaja or Oak Ridge catch-up?

Min. T.P.: Guanaja in particular is lagging behind Roatan and Utila. In Guanaja's case, it's the lack of infrastructure. It hasn't had the support that it requires to develop a market segment - the high-end, high value-added market. Starting in the next couple months, the government will begin building a terminal at the airport, taking care of the sewage at Bonacca Cay, Savannah Bight and Mangrove Bight, constructing a new facility for solid waste management, new fresh water system. Very soon, you will see machinery arriving to rebuild a road between Mangrove and Savannah Bight. There is also a project for a tourism road on the north side of the island. We will also be constructing a new pier for waste management. We will be financing the enhancement of Bonacca Cay. The government will be heavily investing in Guanaja to create the minimum conditions for sustainable development of tourism.
B.I.V.: What percentage of National GDP comes from tourism and how much of it comes from tourism in the Bay Islands?
Min. T.P.: We did a social-economic study on the Bay Islands conducted by University of California-Davis, and the results were astonishing. Today, over 64% of all Bay Islands GDP is generated by or related to tourism. Now, the tourism is by far the largest income generating activity of the Bay Islands. As far as contribution of Bay Islands tourism to the whole country tourism GDP [or total GDP], unfortunately we do not have these statistics, not yet..
B.I.V.: Today you are changing some of the key points in the new environmental law for the Bay Islands. What are some of the most important points that you are changing?
Min. T.P.: It's not a law, it's a norm. What has been done so far were workshops. The artificial beaches, setbacks, can we build on water were the more discussed topics. I feel we are arriving at a version everybody can live with.
B.I.V.: Today you are changing some of the key points in the new environmental law for the Bay Islands. What are some of the most important points that you are changing?
Min. T.P.: It's not a law, it's a norm. What has been done so far were workshops. The artificial beaches, setbacks, can we build on water were the more discussed topics. I feel we are arriving at a version everybody can live with.
B.I.V.: Is the Migration Chapter included in the current draft?
Min. T.P.: The migration problem was considered in the workshop. We have a document with us that was provided to everybody. But, because of legal reasons it cannot be included in the norm. It has to be done through Municipal Ordinance because that is what the law provides for. A norm like this one is not a law. A norm can be maintained, changed, it can evolve with the situation. As we grow the norm would evolve and probably become more restrictive. The norm's maintenance would be dependent on CETS. As CETS gets more experienced, we may be able to adapt, evolve these norms to some things that are more realistic. (…) This is not a law. This does not go to Congress. It becomes an executive [presidential] decree. CETS will provide maintenance to these norms.

How Far CanThey Go?

Motagua's defense was relentless, as Ruben Martinez had several near misses for Arsenal. With few minutes remaining, Arsenal goalkeeper Benito Moreila made a key save, guiding the ball out of play with his fingertips. Time was called and the game ended in a 0-0 tie.
"The field was wet and it's hard to touch the ball when it's like that, but we were prepared. We trained on this field in the rain all week," said Steven Martinez who will replace team captain Carlos Martinez in their upcoming game. Carlos Martinez has three yellow cards and must sit out one match. "We are very prepared. Steven [Martinez] is a perfect fit at middle field and he will replace Carlos," said Arsenal coach Pascual Norales. Arsenal traveled to Tegucigalpa on November 21 to face Motagua on their home field where the winning team will join three other division teams to face off for the league championship.

Arsenal Advances

The underdog team from the Bay Islands has done it again. Arsenal faced Motagua Reservas in Tegucigalpa on November 21; the game was the second match between the teams to determine who would advance in the Division II playoffs.
In front of a large crowd with few island fans, Arsenal and Motagua played a fast-paced match. Arsenal played with 10 players, after Andres Amador was red carded for rough play; Arsenal Captain Carlos Martinez sat out the match due to yellow cards from a previous match.
Scoreless after regulation time, the teams entered overtime. Neither team registered a goal in the extra time and the outcome rested upon a penalty shootout. After crucial saves by Arsenal goalkeeper Benito Moreila, Arsenal won 4-2.
Four teams have classified for the final round of the playoffs: Arsenal, Savio, Social Sol and Concepcion. Arsenal will face Team Savio on November 28 in Coxen Hole in the Division II semi-final. In two previous match-ups with Savio, Arsenal tied one and lost the other.
"We certainly have the odds against us. We have never been the favorite to win, but we always seem to find a way," said Arsenal owner Leland Woods.



by Jaime Johnston

When it's playoff time, it takes more than tropical rainstorms to keep the Arsenal fans away. As the team from French Cay faced the Motagua Reservas, over 450 football followers poured into the Coxen Hole field on November 14. Constant rain showers soaked Arsenal supporters, but couldn't drown out the chanting, drumming and cheering that erupted from the crowd throughout the game.
Arsenal was fresh from their tight victory over Concepcion on November 7. That Coxen Hole game was scoreless after 90 minutes of play, culminating in an Arsenal-Concepcion shootout. Arsenal prevailed 7-6. The win classified Arsenal in their division, leading them to meet second-place Motagua from Tegucigalpa.
The November 14 game was the first of two match-ups between Arsenal and Motagua. Players took to the muddy field, struggling with the ponds of accumulated water. Arsenal showed their characteristic quick offensive start, but Motagua's solid defense thwarted their efforts. Strong goaltending for both teams kept the game scoreless at the end of the first half."

Arsenal and Motagua players struggle on a muddy Coxen Hole field.

At the beginning of the second half, Motagua exercised sharp passing and missed several scoring opportunities, both from right field and in front of the net. Arsenal, appearing fatigued in the first 20 minutes of the half, was lifted by the outstanding play of Steven Martinez; the crowd rewarded Martinez's resiliency by chanting his nickname 'Diablo'. Both teams registered late substitutions, hoping fresh legs would yield the game's first goal.

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Mosquito Wars by Thomas Tomczyk
With little government help, the private sector is stepping up to provide a viable and safe method of tackling the mosquito problem on the Bay Islands.

It is the female flying insects that bite. They need the blood for their reproductive system and most won't stray beyond 50 yards from their original hatching spot. They are attracted upwind to the breath of humans, animals and, once full, must fly downwind to return.
With a cell phone at his side, Sevilla walks the island house to house, offering his services. On his back, he carries a 10 liter plastic pump he brought from Tocoa five years ago. In his right hand, he carries a leather briefcase with three liters of powerful chemicals. For protection and "recognition factor," he wears a recognizable long sleeve red sweater and red cotton gloves. The years of working with chemicals have taken a toll. "When I have a headache, I go to the hospital and they give me a pill," said Sevilla. "I'm the only one on the island."
Not quite. Other than the trial government program, Island Environmental Products (IEP) run by Bob Kable has been offering mosquito control to Roatanians for over a year. "There are tourists who would like to live on Roatan but can't because of the insect bites and the constant threat of malaria and dengue," said Kable.
In its mosquito control method, IEP uses a 100% natural flower extract (permethrin) that is safe to humans and approved by EPA. "It breaks down the bug's system on contact," says Bob Kable. Mosquitoes, sand flies and even fleas, ants, spiders and bees are killed and, unlike with other chemicals, do not develop a resistance to permethrin over time.
The eradication process begins with three area saturation sprayings. Then, a 55-gallon tank with a timer, pump and gauges is installed. Through a series of nozzles spaced every 10 feet, it releases mist twice a day.
The liquid has been in use about 35 years, but only in the last six gained recognition in the US. In the beginning, it was expensive and scarce, as Kenya was the only country to grow the flower in volume. As Australia began to grow the flower, the prices and availability have improved. So far, there are about a dozen systems installed on Roatan. The system price ranges from 1,700$ to $3,500 and the spraying should take place on an ongoing basis to be most effective. "It's becoming a popular residential addition," said Kable.

Felix Romero Sevilla, 75, was born in Olanchito and has spent the last 40 years on Roatan. He never learned how to speak English. He never learned how to read or write. Still, he was savvy enough to see an open wide business opportunity on Roatan: mosquito control.
In fact, Sevilla saw the opportunity before anyone else did: 30 years ago. His clients are individuals and some businesses, but Sevilla was never able to establish a steady customer base. In a slow month like November, he has work only one or two times a week. He makes his biggest money in January, February and April. Sevilla guarantees his product not only against mosquitoes, but against cockroaches, rats and termites. He dilutes five liters of Amacatiol for every five liters of water; spraying of a quarter-acre property costs Lps.600. There is even a six month guarantee.
According to Ana Cecilia Ramos, technical supervisor of the sand fly control project on the island financed by the Ministry of Tourism, the chemical used by Sevilla don't attack the insect's larvae. "The red marked Amacatiol kills the mosquitoes themselves, but is also super-dangerous to the environment," said Ramos.
According to some insect control professionals, the Honduran government is using a mosquito eradication program that is years behind. They also say that the country has a long history of irresponsible poisonous spray abuse that goes back to the early 60's.

Read past issues of
Bay Islands VOICE

No. 4
May 8
2003

Vol2 No. 2
Jan.29
2004

Vol2 No. 3
Feb.12
2004

   

Vol2 No. 14
December
2004