Quick Glimpse 1 of Tools For Opportunity’s recent trip

Over the course of the next few days, I’d like to provide you glimpses into our recent trip to El Salvador and Honduras to train carpenters and follow up with carpenters that Tools for Opportunity has trained on previous trips.

TFO president Gene Pederson and I left dark and early from Des Moines and arrived in San Salvador mid-afternoon. We were greeted by our translator and in-country coordinator Guillermo and our driver Isaac. We immediately loaded into Isaac’s van and headed west along the coast to Acajutla to meet with the Lara family who received tools last year. Here’s a quick video of the table saw and crosscut sled they built with assistance from TFO plans.

Lara Table Saw

The table saw has allowed them to work more quickly and efficiently, two very important items for any business. Gene presented certificates of completion to Julio Lara and three of his sons who work with him, indicating they have met the requirements asked of them in exchange for assistance from TFO, and that the tools we provided were now theirs to keep.IMG_1034

 

In the next Quick Glimpse, following up with an impressive group of carpenters and their mentor in Santo Domingo de Guzman.

 

Getting ideas to carpenters: How you can help

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During our recent trip to El Salvador and Honduras, as we followed up with carpenters and trained new ones, whenever we opened up one of the woodworking magazines we packed along, the carpenters would gather round and tell us how much they would love to see more of them. To them, the magazines serve as Continue reading Getting ideas to carpenters: How you can help

Trips, Projects, and Tools, Oh My!

Tools for Central America

TRIPS

We have a team arriving in Honduras in a few weeks to provide training and tools to local carpenters. This training has been in planning for almost two years. Gene and Randy tried to take tools into Honduras from El Salvador a year ago but were stopped at the border. This year, our tool shipment is being sent directly from the U.S. to Honduras.

As you might know, these trips cost several thousand dollars. There is the cost of shipping the tools. The cost of air fare and lodging. Then when our team arrives in Central America, there is the cost of transportation, including the salaries of the drivers. We sure could use your help in defraying some of these costs. You can click here to donate. We very much appreciate any amount you could give.

Your donations directly drive how often we can make trips to Central America to help local craftsmen. We would like to make at least two trips a year. So please consider giving today.

PROJECTS

When woodworkers in Central America build their projects, they use local woods. These woods are often at too high of a moisture content. This can result in severe shrinkage and warping of project parts. For example, doors that fit a cabinet when the cabinet is first built will dry out over time, resulting in gaps and doors that are too narrow.

One of the goals of Tools for Opportunity is to provide the materials and training to build solar-powered kilns for drying lumber. This would have a very positive impact on the overall quality of the projects our craftsmen build. Your donation can help us with this project.

TOOLS

If you haven’t figured it out by now, you know that all of us at Tools for Opportunity appreciate and use woodworking tools. And we love to share that appreciation with craftsmen in Central America. We not only provide tools, but the training necessary to use them and be able to better provide for their families. The craftsmen sign a one-year commitment to use and care for the tools while having a positive impact on their communities. If they live up to their end of the bargain, the tools become their property.

We accept tool donations for our carpenters. Tools that aren’t necessarily suited for shipping to Central America will be sold to raise funds to purchase other tools or add to the budget for trips and projects. Please consider donating tools or giving today.

Thank you for your support!

Carpenter Profile: Orlando Garcia

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The carpenters we work with in Central America are provided tools and training. In exchange, they sign an agreement that they will put the tools to good use in expanding their business and serving their communities. They also agree to provide hours of community service and plant trees. Below is a report about one of our carpenters, Orlando Garcia.


Orlando has expressed that he has been blessed with the tools he received last year from Tools for Opportunity. Work has been really good as he has stayed busy. He received a table saw kit along with a new drill and other great tools. He has been able to grow in his business as he admits that the tools he received have helped him complete pieces faster. Three weeks after the training workshop ended, he build a table saw according to plans he received from Randy and Gene and he loves it. He admits to have made one modification to the original plans: He  used a solid wood piece for the top rather than plywood. The reason for this is because he says that due to the humidity and heavy pieces of wood, the plywood tends to bend.

Orlando recently made a closet for one of his clients. In addition to this he has also made tables, beds, windows and chairs. As for his community service work, he has worked in two different schools. In one he provided 24 hours worth of work where he built two tables — the School provided the wood and Orlando provided his labor. For the other School, he provided 25 hours worth of work where he also build two tables and installed a division wall for a classroom. Again, he just provided the labor. Orlando also mentioned that he spent two days painting school desks for a third School where they bought the paint and he provided his work. As for the trees, he has planted 5 cedar trees and for the upcoming winter, he hopes to plant many more of the same kind.

The photos show the compressor, a window he is working on, as well as a chainsaw he recently purchased. Orlando was very happy to hear that you will visit again on March, as he says he will demonstrate to you he has honored the agreement fully.

Below is a video thanks from Orlando.

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Right around Thanksgiving, I start listening to Christmas music. It puts me in the frame of mind to recall pleasant memories of family gatherings and look forward to the food and fellowship.

This time of year, I’m also thinking about how our gifts of time, tools, and dollars can help out our craftsmen in Central America. I’ve had the pleasure of making two trips to El Salvador recently. On both trips, I was able to provide woodworking training to several craftsmen on behalf of Tools for Opportunity. These are folks that work very hard to provide for their families and help their communities. It’s an emotional experience to see how much they appreciate our time and effort to help them.

MauricioGuys like Mauricio, for example. Here’s a guy with a humble shop outdoors with not much more than a tin roof to keep out the rain. We were able to provide training and tools for him to expand his woodworking business. Only a year later, he’s got plenty of work to keep him busy. He’s built up quite a reputation as a woodworker for building doors, cabinets, and other items.

A little goes a long way with these craftsmen. They appreciate the smallest things and learn to make do with whatever they have. That’s why it’s important that you consider donating to Tools for Opportunity. Your cash provides tools and training. And if you or someone you know has old tools that aren’t being used, contact us to arrange donating them. Your cash and tool donations are tax-deductible.

As you prepare for the holiday season, take a moment to reflect on the blessings in your life — and how you can be a blessing to others.

 

Providing tools and resources for deserving craftsmen

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