AUGUST 6, 2015

We recently returned from our second trip to Peru. We are supporting a childcare program in a slum outside of Lima, in an area called ‘Huaycan’. We suffered a few logistical problems in that at the last moment, the driver we had arranged to take us there every day pulled the plug, siting concerns for his security. Beyond that we had an amazing trip again. We were happy to be able to provide new furniture for the the classroom. There is still a lot of work that needs to be done there. Please look at our Facebook page for pictures from the trip.

February 24, 2014

Dear Friends,

We’ve got some exciting news. A Province ebook has been produced and our little non-profit society “AURA HUMANITUS” has been profiled in it and has been recently released! The book is titled, “B.C. Without Borders: 50 British Columbians Leading the Fight Against Global Poverty.” It was published Tuesday, Feb. 4. and is available on a number of platforms, including:

We are very happy & proud to part of this exciting project.I hope you’ll read ours and the other inspirational stories featured within the book.

January 2014

We are well under way and in the final preparation stage for the next trip to El Salvador in the coming days. The plan is to continue assisting with the water project in Las Delicias, and final work to the School in Ciudad Arce. With some of the money raised by St. Clare of Assisi Parish in Coquitlam, BC…we will be buying school supplies/equipment for the children at the orphanage in Izalco. We (personally) recently added another child to our list of ‘sponsored’ children. Jeymi (pictured below) is in grade seven. I am very much looking forward to meeting her and her family during my visit. If you are interested in sponsoring a child…whether in Las Delicias or at the orphanage, please let us know and we will help you facilitate the sponsorship.

September 2013,

Many thanks to the staff & students of St Matthews Elementary School in Surrey for choosing Aura Humanitus Society as their charitable organization for the school year 2013-14. This means that all funds raised by their monthly ‘non-uniform day’ will go to help the poor children in El Salvador. It was a real pleasure speaking to their assembly last week…you kids are AWESOME!!!

August 2013,

On our latest trip last month, we were accompanied by one of our society directors, Dr. Debbie Hocking. It had long been a dream of Debbies to actually join us on a mission trip rather than as a consultant and provider of various medicines as she has been over the years. One day Angelique and Dr. Debbie decided to spend a day working in a public clinic in the biggest town close to the village where the rest of the volunteers were working. They were dropped off at the clinic in the city of Lourdes just before 9:00AM. Imagine their shock when there was line of an estimated 250 people already there waiting to see a doctor.AThey went inside and introduced themselves to the other two volunteer doctors who had also just arrived. They were pointed to a desk and examining area. There was no running water and no rubber gloves. With Angelique acting as translator and Medial Office Assistant, Dr. Debbie examined every possible situation in all types of people…including one fellow who had recently been run over by a truck…his legs disfigured, bloody and oozing. It was an emotional day for both Dr. Debbie & Angelique.A Dr. Debbie estimated that 85% of the patients she saw that day would be hospitalized had they been in Canada. Again…no rubber- gloves…no running-water.

It was one of the most physically demanding trips for Mike. Many days were spent building two new school rooms in Ciudad Arce. Essentially, Mike spent everyday mixing concrete on the ground for use on the floors of the classroom. There was a shortage of male volunteers on this particular trip, but I must say that the women picked-up the slack and did a stupendous job.

We were also lucky enough to stay at the orphanage once again. Mother Ursula was thrilled to receive the money which had been raised by Our Lady of Sorrows School in Vancouver, to buy food for the children.

December 5, 2012

Super-thanks to the great kids at ‘Our Lady of Sorrows School’ in Vancouver who invited us to speak to them this afternoon. It was our pleasure to be able to make a presentation to them about the plight of the poor people in El Salvador. They had so many great questions for us, and we are sorry that we weren’t able to answer them all. We would encourage them to email us with any questions and we promise to answer each one.

November 27, 2012

Just as we did last year, we have begun to raise funds so that the children in the orphanage will each get a Christmas gift, Santa and a decent Christmas dinner. We are thrilled to have the support of St. Clare of Assisi Parish in Coquitlam backing this endeavor. These awesome children deserve to have something to look forward to as Christmas approaches. Last year with your support, we were able to achieve our goal, and with your help this year we will hopefully do the same. Kindly go to our ‘donate page’ to make an easy donation!

October 16, 2012

This video was produced by my good friend and fellow volunteer ‘Luther Moen’. I am so grateful for him making this video, because in 4 minutes it encapsulates the entire event as well as illustrates the faces of so many of the children at the orphanage.

Click Here to watch it!

July 29th, 2012

Click here to read the summary of our July 2012 trip to El Salvador.

July 8th, 2012

We have officially arranged a collaboration with FUDEM (NGO) in El Salvador to provide reading-glasses for up to 125 needy kids in the village of Las Delicias. This means the screening of 800 children (which will start next week when we arrive). Our profound thanks to the people (Mario Romero) who hooked us up with FUDEM…and thanks to Emma at FUDEM who graciously rearranged their schedule to coincide with our trip.

July 1st, 2012

We leave in 10 days for our next trip to El Salvador. The playground is now at the orphanage awaiting our arrival and subsequent assembly. We are also working closely with a Salvadoran NGO called ‘FUDEM’ to provide eye exams and glasses to the children of Las Delicias who need them. We are looking forward to our meeting with representatives of FUDEM when we arrive. We are privileged to be able to work together for this worthwhile collaberation.

June 17th, 2012

As a famous astronaut once said…”The eagle has landed”….that is to say that the playground for the orphanage has now arrived in El Salvador and is waiting to clear customs at the port  of Acajulta. With the help of the Rotary Club, the playground should be at the orphanage in the next week or so…and then we will assemble it when we arrive in a few weeks…I love it when a plan comes together!

May 13th, 2012

Hurray…the playground equipment is finished and now loaded on the container-ship that will be bringing it to El Salvador. We are so thrilled about this project and  can’t wait to get there to put it all together!

May 2nd, 2012

We have received a request from the Chief of the Pediatric Department (MargaritaFigueroa MD) from The ‘HOSPITAL NACIONAL SAN RAFAEL’ in El Salvador if we would be able to donate’4 pulse oximeters’ to the Pediatric Department. Since the national budget for Health Care is very limited, hospitals often go without vital pieces of equipment. The pediatric department falls within our scope of wanting to help children…’our board’ has approved the request and we are pleased to be able to say that we will indeed donate 4 pulse-oximeters to the hospital. Click here to read a copy of the request from the hospital. Special thanks to our good friend ‘Tanya Lopez’ for bringing the need to our attention.

April 22, 2012

ORPHANAGE PLAYGROUND: At long last we finally placed the order for the new playground equipment for the orphanage in El Salvador. We are so thrilled to be able to do this for the children there. We have been working hard for a couple of months trying to make this dream become a reality. It will take about 2 months to build it and get it there, and with help from a Rotary Club in El Salvador we will get it assembled…hopefully before we arrive in July.









March 11th, 2012

We are thrilled to say that we have once again booked our flights for our next trip to El Salvador. We are excited about the great group of people who will be accompanying on this trip. To those who have repeatedly expressed interest in joining us on a trip, remember that space (beds) are at a premium, and that we need commitments well in advance. The other important thing to remember is that when you accompany us, you are a PROJECT FIAT volunteer, thus required to fill out all the forms/applications located on the PROJECT FIAT website. Trips to El Salvador do not need be limited to the dates when Angelique or I are travelling, check on the PROJECT FIAT website for other available dates. We would be happy to discuss this possibility with you if it suits your needs and timetable better.

March 11th, 2012

Many thanks to the CWL from St. Clare of Assisi who made a generous donation to Aura Humanitus today as the result of donations from individuals who attended the day of Recollection two weeks ago. As ‘attendees’ to the retreat, we can say we enjoyed the event immensely.

January 29th, 2012

Come join us at this one-day retreat hosted by Fr. Craig Scott on February 25th. We are thrilled that they chose us to be the beneficiary of their fundraising for this event. We will be hosting a display table with info on our latest efforts.









January 17th, 2012

A belated Happy New Year to everyone! I have posted pictures of the successful ‘gift-giving’ event on our Facebook Page it was much easier to upload multiple photos there. From all accounts, it was a hugely successful event! Here is the thank you note from Sister Ursula at the orphanage:

“Thank you to the dear friends of Aura Humanitus Society! Thanks to you, our children have enjoyed beautiful holidays. Thanks to you, they have received gifts, special meals, a clown, cakes, deserts, pinatas as well as Santa Claus who delivered gifts to every child.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!”


 Hogar Inmaculado Corazan de Maria

Sunday December / 18th, 2011

Many thanks to all the people & businesses who ‘stepped-up’ to help provide Christmas gifts for all 150 children at the Orphanage. Thanks to you we reached our goal and so now all 150 kids will get presents for Christmas…something they otherwise would not get due to the inability of the orphanage to provide such luxuries for the children.

Thursday December 8th, 2011

In a sad development, the mother (with abdominal cancer)I mentioned at the end of the previous update passed away the other day, leaving the children’s grandmother to raise them. She too is extremely poor. Luckily many of the children’s needs are being met by the orphanage.

Monday November 14th, 2011

Well, I am home safe and sound now. It was a very worthwhile trip to El Salvador.

I am so grateful to our partners, Project FIAT International for providing my shelter, driver and delicious meals, and to FIMRC for working with me on the ground to implement the aid we were able to provide. The truth is, my trip could not have been so successful without assistance from either of these organizations.

I was able to personally assess the damage caused by the recent flooding/mudslides and provide assistance to those most affected. The biggest challenge during my trip was simply reaching the village of Las Brisas. Since the road was ‘gone’ in several places, it made driving impossible. There is another longer ‘back route’ to the village, but a 4×4 is mandatory. I tried on several occasions to secure such a vehicle but it seemed the owners were reluctant to rent them out for the journey, once they found out where we intended to use it.









In the end, hiking to the village was the only option left. Our guide and local health promoter Mauricio along with Marloes Nijboer (Field Operations Manager, FIMRC) and myself hiked up the steep back slope of the volcano of San Salvador in the sweltering heat. I disguised my frequent ‘rests’ as opportunities to take a photo or two since the views were simply outstanding.

I had been told about how the road was gone in several areas, but what I witnessed with my own eyes was far more devastating than I had imagined. Wide swaths of land had simply slid down the mountainside on top of the underlying volcanic rock. It is easy to see how this could have happened. since the ‘soil’ on top of the volcanic rock base is only about 6 – 10 feet deep, when almost 6 feet of rain falls, it can not be absorbed by the volcanic rock beneath and this the top soil layer simply turns to mud.

























We finally reached Las Brisas and I was very tired.A The devastation the family of 15 experienced was most apparent. where there once had been a large metal-laminate there was none. The family had valiantly tried to salvage pieces of timber and rusty sheet metal, but clearly there was not enough left to build much more than a small garden shed. With Marloes acting as my translator, I asked what was their immediate most need. The notion of re-building this family a proper ‘concrete block’ house is simply untenable due to the mere difficulty of reaching that location. Since the slide some of the family was living in a plastic shack….and others were staying in a shelter. We determined that their immediate need was for some new corrugated sheet metal building panels to rebuild their home. They also lost virtually all of their personal effects.










It was agreed between Marloes Nijboer (FIMRC) and myself that Aura Humanitus would fund the purchase of new building materials so the family could begin the process of re-building. Marloes would, with the help of Project FIAT employee Miguel Delgado, facilitate/expedite the purchase of materials and supplies for the family. I made sure the family knew that they did not have to worry about how they would begin to put their lives back together. They were very grateful.
















**** There are clearly so many differences in our cultures, and the levels of violence in El Salvador are well-documented. Having said that, I was somewhat taken aback one day when we were getting gasoline at a service station.I happened to notice that an adjacent pickup truck’s door was wide open. I glanced into the open door and noticed a revolver laying on the seat (no holster) and a pump-action shot-gun on the floor. It made me wonder, as we are driving around El Salvador, how many vehicles are carrying loaded weapons so brazenly? I suppose it’s a function of being Canadian that made me find this particularly disturbing.

**** As I drove around the countryside, it was ever-apparent how much damage had been caused by the torrential rains. There were mud and rock-slides wherever there was an incline. Where there was rivers, there was huge washouts with many bridges completely gone, and others too heavily damaged to drive on. Where there was once train-bridges, now there were only metal tracks left dangling ominously in the air. Traffic jams were endless, as cars tried to negotiate around the various detours.

**** In Las Delicas, I was saddened to personally inspect the house where a young mother of two had lost her life. I was struck however, at the resilience of the people there. No one was sitting around mourning the lost of a young member of the community..not even her parents. In third-world countries, life must go on. There is no ‘down-time’ for people to languish in the past, for they must feed themselves and likely other dependents today and tomorrow. Carlos, the young-woman’s father was busy trying to dig out the mud and debris that had besieged their home. Frankly, I was amazed at how much he had been able to remove in spite of his own injuries sustained in the slide.

**** On one of my almost-daily visits to Las Delicias, someone whom I have know for several years pulled me aside. Luckily, his ‘English’ is slightly better than my Spanish, and so we were able to have a conversation without the use of a translator. He told me of a young girl in the village, the daughter of a single mother who had been born with a severely deformed foot which rendered her unable to walk without assistance. He said the mother had previously taken the young girl to a hospital in San Salvador who told her that she would need to be fitted for a special ‘brace’ and therapy, and that with time, she would be able to walk on her own once again. Naturally, she was elated to hear the news, but her elation quickly turned to sadness when she found out the cost of the brace and therapy. As my friend told me this story, his eyes welled-up with tears. Then came his question to me “Mike, is it possible you might be able to help this young girl?” I needed to know how much this would cost, before I could say whether or not Aura Humanitus could help. He said “it is a lot of money…it is $80.00 total”. Of course we would be able to help. I spoke with Marloes Nijboer from FIMRC who agreed to see to it that they young girl got the brace and therapy she needed.

**** Not far from the new ‘Angel Mia Daycare’ there was a small metal shack where an old (84) fellow lived by himself. As you might expect, over the years I have seen the ‘poorest of the poor’ on my many visits. However, this old man (Don Manuel)was ‘really’ poor. Inside his smoky shack (10 x 15 feet) the dirt floors were still wet from the recent rains. His bed had no mattress, all his clothing and belongings were kept in a plastic bag, and his only chair had one leg that was considerable shorter than all the others rendering it virtually impossible to sit in. I decided that we would purchase him a mattress for his bed, a few household items (plates, bowls, fork, spoon) and a couple of chairs. The next day on the way to Las Delicias we stopped at various places in San Salvador to purchase the things we needed. When we got to his shack later on, he was speechless and ever-so-grateful for the few comforts we were happily able to provide.

**** During my visit to the Orphanage, I was made aware of 4 children who where there right now because their mother had terminal cancer and was not expected to live much longer. I asked to be taken to see the mother. In the back of a typical ‘sheet-metal shack’, blackened on the inside from years of smoke from cooking lay the youngish mother on a makeshift bed. Her bloated abdomen was full of cancer, making her appear to be 6-7 months pregnant. Somewhat surprised to see a tall ‘gringo’ at her bedside, she attempted to sit up to greet me, but much like a pregnant woman, she was unable to ‘bend’ enough to sit up fully. I wished I was able to ‘speak’ to her to tell her how sorry I was for her situation, but I know that had I been able to, I might now have been able to contain my sadness. Instead, I put my hand softly on her cheek to let her know that I was in solidarity with her…if only for that moment. I took her hand and held it for several minutes. Not knowing what else I could do, I gave her $100 so somehow it might take a bit of the pressure off her and her families immediate situation. They could use the money to buy food, medicine/painkillers…or perhaps sadly, even pay for a funeral.


Saturday October 22, 2011

  • EL SALVADOR UPDATE: Here is a YOUTUBE slide-show for the Las Brisas Relief Trip done as a joint effort between FIMRC and Aura Humanitus on Thursday October 20th. ( you will need to use the ‘pause’ feature as it scrolls through the slides).








Friday October 21, 2011

  • EL SALVADOR UPDATE: The sun is out and it’s starting to dry up a bit. We did manage to get a truckload of provisions to Las Brisas yesterday…but the road is now ‘gone’. the task of ‘re-building’ begins. I have decided to advance the timing of my next trip from December to ‘next week’. My thanks to those who have been so generous as to donate money for food & water. We are hoping to be able to provide assistance to those needing to re-build their houses as well. The rains may have eased, but the disaster is far from over.






Wednesday October 19, 2011

  • EL SALVADOR UPDATE : Now over 44 dead and over 36,000 homeless. Large sections of the country are completely cut off and several more storms headed in that direction.
    For those volunteers that worked on the daycare in Zaragoza, so far all is okay except for a bit of water on the floor. The excavated ‘WALL’ is holding….






Tuesday October 18, 2011

    150,000 people have reportedly been affected in some way by the rains.
    The official death toll has now risen to 37.
    More than 32,000 people have been evacuated from 149 communities.
    Some 21,500 are living in 223 shelters across the country.
    … More than 18,400 houses have been damaged by floods and landslides.
    At least 576 landslides have been recorded
    10 bridges have collapsed.
    (Keep in mind that El Salvador is only 2/3 the size of Vancouver Island)








Monday October 17, 2011

  • As of Monday night, October 17, the rains had not ceased in El Salvador. The rainfall measured in some locations exceeded an extraordinary ‘1.2 meters’ over the past week, surpassing the rainfall total of Hurricane Mitch in 1998.