Thursday, July 26, 2007


Six weeks in Honduras. I’m still trying to find my way, to get to know more of the people here, and to figure out how I can best serve. But the last week there have been a number of openings.

At the July 17 mobilization I met or re-met a number of people. I met one person involved in organizing communities to demand some transparency in finances from their local officials and two women involved in fair trade coffee. Francis, a Honduran community development worker with Fundacion El Polígono, invited me to go with him to a rural community. A priest from a nearby parish asked me when I was going to come out and visit his parish. (I think he’d like me to work with him.)

Thursday after meeting briefly with the director of the Catholic University a student approached me to ask if I’d be willing to help with a group of young people he helps facilitate in his parish, doing a workshop or something.

Friday I went to Gracias, Lempira. sister Nancy had suggested that I come for the festival of Lempira, the Indian resistance leader who had been killed by the Spanish in 1538. There was a very impressive parade with students from the local schools, most in costumes of the indigenous peoples or the Spanish conquerors. After there is a dramatization by students of the death of Lempira – which we watched on television in the house of a friend of Nancy’s.

I got a ride to Gracias from a professor in agriculture at the National University campus here and his wife. We spoke at length on a number of topics, including agricultural development, He’d like to develop a program at the campus on local development. I look forward to finding ways to work with him.

Sunday I went with Francis from Polígono to a rural community. He brought a woman who has been working with the women in this community in a cooking workshop to help the women develop greater skills in making sweet breads and pastries which they will be able to sell. While the women were working I accompanied him to a community further up where he was exploring with the community the possibility of bringing a workshop on the making of piñatas. After we got back to Santa Rosa he took me out to the campus of Fundación Polígono where I got to drop by a few of the classrooms where they hold weekend classes for students in what would be the equivalent of junior high and high school. Many of the students study during the week at home and then come for the weekend sessions with teachers. All this is part of the work of the foundation which the bishop helped start years ago with the mission of education and the development of projects for local people, especially the youth.

Where I end up actually helping I don’t know, but doors are opening.

Greg McGrath, a student from Iowa State, arrived on Monday, July 23, to visit here for about 17 days. It is great to have someone here, especially someone so inquisitive. It also offers me a number of opportunities to connect with some other groups here.

Wednesday afternoon Greg and I accompanied Sister Inés to the jail. Only later did I remember the judgment scene in Matthew 25: 31-46, where the Lord welcomes into the Kingdom those who visit him in prison. Jesus identifies himself with the prisoner. The first inmate that Greg spoke to was named Jesús!

This doesn’t mean that the prisoners haven’t committed crimes and may be capable of vicious acts, but I does mean that they are human, made in God’s image, like us. Even more, to quote Mother Teresa of Calcutta, “Each one is Jesus in his distressing disguise.”

No comments: