Second day

imageToday we went to church and to Omoa and to Baskin-Robbins.

For breakfast Carrie and Maria of The Green Frog served us orange juice and watermelon and papaya again, and baleadas — flour tortillas wrapped around a filling and heated through kind of like a quesadilla. Mine had beans, crema, and eggs. Others had avocado and cheese instead of the eggs.

We got to church early so Padre Marcos could show us around and talk about the work they have been doing and what we will be helping with this week. The church has a beautiful painting at the front of the Last Supper set with contemporary people and the risen Jesus. I suppose it might be the marriage supper yet to come. Its outdoor setting also brings to mind the miraculous feedings.

The priest showed us the tortillería where four women make between 2500 and 2600 corn tortillas each day, selling them for about fifty cents for two. The cleanliness of their operation and the quality of their tortillas keep customers coming despite competitors in the area. The place needs to expand. The plan is to extend the cement floor, install new high efficiency woodburning stove(s), replace the metal roof, make a fence, and get some seating for waiting customers.

Between the church and the tortillería is another building that needs some work. I think it might be used for the Sunday school? They have already poured concrete for an eventual second floor.

The mass was lovely. I sat with Loren and Rhonda next to an older lady whose name was something like Maria but a little longer. I tried to ask her if she had family coming and needed more space, and I think she indicated it would be fine. We sang two songs I knew from our Spanish mass at home, Vienen con Alegría, and Cristo te necesita para amar, and some I had not heard or sung before. I could follow some of the readings and a little of the short talk Padre Marcos gave between the psalm and the Gospel, and of course the liturgy I knew from home. His daughter Abigail translated as he read the Gospel and preached the sermon. She had also translated while he had shown us around earlier.

The Gospel was the story of Martha and Mary, and the sermon challenged us to not be tempted to pit the sisters against one another, but to see them as opposites along a range. He said that the problem Martha was having was that she was distracted by her work and lost in the distraction. The work of hospitality is deeply valuable, and it is possible to be distracted and lost in it. He asked us to ponder three questions.

How can we balance being and doing?

How can we balance the inner spiritual discipline work of discipleship and the outward service work of apostolate?

How can we balance sitting at Jesus’ feet like Mary and being hospitable like Martha without losing ourselves in distraction?

After church we were treated to “catrachas,” tostadas topped with thin layer of beans and shredded cheese. I dropped mine when, stepping back to set my things down in order to take a picture for Loren, I tripped on the center pew support. Managed to catch myself halfway down. This was not the first time I failed to meet Bob’s rules… This one was the one about watch where you’re going because things are different; steps are different heights and widths in the same stairs, overhanging things might be lower than we’re used to, there might be exposed wires in unexpected places, and so on. Other rules include putting toilet paper in the trash can because all of the country is on septic that can’t handle the paper, and the typical one about not using the sink water for brushing teeth.

We intended to visit La Playa in Omoa for lunch, but learned it had closed. The Paraiso hotel was a lovely alternative. It seemed to take forever to order, then to wait for food, then to pay. And that was after what seemed quite a long drive to get there.  Things move more slowly and relationally here, and there is less hurry to just get things done.

We picked up Anna Reed on the way, to join us for lunch. She coordinates short term teams like Bob does, but in this more coastal area. And she likes hammered dulcimers, which she encountered while hiking the Appalachian Trail. Some of the other things she does include supporting people into new things. One young woman, Jilma, learned to do basic triage with a visiting medical team, and liked it enough to think about training to be a nurse. Anna helped her find a program and get registered and agreed to provide books and things if Jilma would commit to the monthly program cost. When people are ready and motivated, this sort of help is really effective and encouraging.

After driving to look at the old fort, which was later a prison and now part of a museum, we headed back here, with an ice cream stop on the way. It is, after all, National Ice Cream Day. (Not here, but still.)




En Honduras

Estoy en Honduras. Hemos llegado ayer despues de horas de viajar, esperar, velar, esperar, mas horas de esperar… No hay ningun problema, excepto dos. No dormi la noche jueves, y la aduana tomo casi tres horas. Pero me alegraba viajar con Loren y Rhonda a Chicago, y estar con el resto de nuestro grupo desde entonces.

I am in Honduras. We arrived yesterday after hours of traveling, waiting, flying, waiting, more hours of waiting… There were no problems except two. I didn’t sleep Thursday night, and customs took almost three hours. But I enjoyed traveling with Loren and Rhonda to Chicago, and being with the rest of our group since then.

We have so far eaten some very good food. My favorites were garlic shrimp last night (which seems much longer ago than it was) and a coconut curry shrimp today served with green plantain chips. Breakfast was orange juice, watermelon and papaya, scrambled eggs with beans, crema, cheese, and a corn tortilla. For lunch today I got chicken tacos that were a lot like the kind they make at Mila’s.

This morning we went to the Guamalito market where you can get varied crafts and food. It was interesting to see all the things, some made locally, some imported, many of the same kinds of things in many different stalls, many things with “Honduras” written on them. I got into conversation with one young family, saying to a girl about Amy’s age, “I bet you know English.” She shook her head. If I understood rightly, only her two youngest siblings still go to school, because school costs too much for all of them to go.

After lunch we went to visit La Esperanza de Jesus children’s home, where Mike and Kim Miller care for sixteen kids with the help of Honduran house mothers and other staff. Their coffee farm helps support their work. (Ask me how to buy some.) Otherwise they depend on donations from within and without the country. It was really good to see the place. The two buildings that house the kids are homelike and sweet. There is a chapel with lovely large arched windows with dark wood doors. There is a computer lab, dining hall, a playground and small soccer field, gardens, and a large room for art and crafts, including the jewelry the girls are learning to make for sale.

In the van, or during meals, or down times, there have been interesting conversations. Today I especially enjoyed a long chat with Bob, who coordinates short term groups like ours for the Diocese of Honduras, and a shorter chat in Spanish with our Honduran driver Freddy, who wants me to figure out why God made woman from man’s left side and not the right. He tells me this is not a joke.

Meanwhile, Fr John has been here a few more days than the rest of us, traveling around the country with Bp Allen teaching about Asset-Based Community Development. The meetings have been going very well, and there seems to be a lot of energy in the diocese. As it happens, the national church will not financially support the mission in Honduras or the rest of this province past 2019, so the church here needs to find ways to become self-sufficient by then.

ABCD, by the way, is an approach that focuses on a community’s own existing resources in terms of talents and knowledge and connections as well as money. These assets can be mapped through a long process of conversation, listening, interviewing, looking for passions, dreams, and motivations. Part of the idea is that when helpers try to do things to or for others, often there are disconnects that render the help less effective or not useful at all. Helped and helper may have distinct perspectives on what is needed or wanted, or how goal should best be accomplished. The very distinction between helped and helper can be problematic, too. Mutuality and partnership are much better.

Lo siento por no traducir lo resto. Estoy muy cansada…

Sorry for not translating the rest. I’m very tired…