Berkshire Amistad, a local non-profit working in Central America for over 20 years, is very proud and excited to announce the first visit of CACIL. CACIL is a Cooperative savings and loan in Intibuca, Honduras that has dedicated 10% of its profit to work to improve conditions in that part of Honduras. Berkshire Amistad working with school districts, hospitals and public in general, finds good used equipment and sends it to our neighbors in Central America.
Wednesday July 26th Reception from 6pm till 8pm- Unitarian Universalist Church of Pittsfield- 174 Wendell Ave. Pittsfield, Ma Come meet our Central American friends. Bring crutches, children’s clothing, wheelchairs or bicycles.
Thursday July 27th Reception and Inspection of the mobile Medical Clinic and warehouse of equipment being prepared for shipment. Please come to meet the Central Americans and bring something to donate. We need bicycles, sports equipment, school supplies, medical supplies.
Three years ago, in Intibuca, Honduras, Edmundo Mendez went into his cooperative savings and loan called CACIL and asked for a loan. Our plan was to use that money to extricate a 40ft shipping container from the customs department in the port city of Puerto Cortez, Honduras. The initial plan was, that the high school were Edmundo works, was going to receive this shipment and distribute the contents in this part of Honduras. The high school was unable to do this, so Edmundo and I decided to pay the cost with a loan and then sell dental chairs to pay off the loan. CACIL called Edmundo into their office to discuss the loan. Edmundo described our ten year friendship, our work and the shipments we had received working in Guaimaca, Honduras. Guaimaca is located on the other side of the capital city, Tegucigalpa.
College graduates in Honduras perform two years of social service and Edmundo was sent to Guaimaca. Guaimaca was also a town I had gotten to know when I was a Peace corps volunteer in the late 70’s. In 1996 as a family, my daughter Sonrisa and wife Kelley, also a former Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya, moved to Guaimaca to work there for five years. Just a couple of years later hurricane Mitch devastated much of Honduras and after working in different parts of Honduras we returned to Guaimaca. Soon afterwards a couple from our Unitarian Universalist church in Pittsfield, Massachusetts donated $15,000 and our project really began to grow. It was always our intention to use all my automotive tools and equipment to teach in Guaimaca and then leave that equipment to start an automotive repair school. With this donation and more over the years, we were able to purchase a small piece and build two buildings. The smaller one houses a free library and has a covered porch for activities and the larger building (over 6000 sq ft) has the Honduran Green Cross base #7, pianos, guitars, ceramics and mechanics equipment for classes.
CACIL was so impressed about what we were doing they asked if they could be a part of the work. They paid the cost of the container, secured a warehouse and distributed all the contents. They counted the clothing I stuffed into the nooks and crannies, 3346 pieces of clothing! This is what banks do! The dental chairs we didn’t have to sell, were used in schools. Edmundo cleared out a closet in his school and installed the dental equipment. When he contacted the Ministry of Health they sent one of the graduating dental students to work on students teeth right there in school as their social service.
I travelled down to meet with CACIL and the foundation they started to work with the indigenous population. To fund this work the 75,000 member, 50 year Cooperative voted to dedicate 10% of the bank’s profit. When George Phillips, retired Pittsfield school teacher, live long artist,former Peace corps volunteer, and long time volunteer in Central America, and I visited with the foundation I asked what they really wanted. I had learned about their work in education, micro finance. I wanted to know about their dreams. What they really wanted is a mobile clinic.
Today Berkshire Amistad, a Berkshire County based nonprofit, is excited to announce the first visit of the CACIL Foundation to the Berkshire’s. Wednesday July 26th from 6pm to 8pm the Central Americans will be at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Pittsfield, 174 wendell Ave. to meet with people that are interested in this project. On Thursday evening in West Stockbridge, 186 Gt. Barrington Rd. our guests from Intibuca/La Esperanza Honduras will inspecting a 24ft box truck that we are outfitting to be used as that mobile Medical Clinic in Honduras. Later this year that mobile clinic will be driven to Intibuca by members of Berkshire Amistad. The group will also inspect the warehouse which contains medical and educational equipment being prepared for the next shipment. Berkshire Amistad uses the shipping containers that deliver our bananas, to then ship this otherwise discarded equipment to the places and people who need it the most. Berkshire Amistad is inviting all interested persons to come and celebrate this great project. The public is invited to see the mobile clinic and the warehouse the two groups want to use to send several containers this year. You are asked to bring something for the next shipment. The group is looking for bicycles, wheel chairs, crutches, children’s clothing and shoes, sports anything! Berkshire Amistad is a registered 501c3, all your donations are fully tax deductible. Berkshire Amistad also accepts large donations of vehicles, we are always looking for white(or any color) vans and minivans to convert into ambulances. For more information go to BerkshireAmistad.org or berkshire firstname.lastname@example.org or eddie’s cel 413 645 2003