Monday, September 06, 2010

An ordinary week

I haven’t written anything in the blog this past week because there has not been much extraordinary here. But that is life here and I'm not complaining. For in the ordinary one finds both grace and sin.

Last Wednesday I went with Sister Nancy to the El Salvador border to meet a group of Dubuque Franciscan sisters and associates. It was great to see two good friends. We talked in the van, ate pizza at Weekend’s Pizza (the best pizza in Central America!), and had some time with Padre Fausto Milla.

On Saturday and Sunday I went out to the Ducle Nombre de María parish to be present for confirmations.
Saturday the confirmations were in El Zapote de Santa Rose – about 136 of them. Sunday there were about 220 in Dulce Nombre de Copán, the seat of the parish.

The confirmed in El Zapote de Santa Rosa

It was wonderful to see a wide range of young people (and others) being confirmed and reaffirming their faith.

Monseñor Luis Alfonso Santos was very energetic both days. After the actual confirmation of the candidates, he has this incredible routine about being witnesses, being light for the world. Then he leads them in very spirited singing for about 10 -15 minutes. Pentecostals would be jealous!

The confirmed in Dulce Nombre de Copán

On Sunday during the singing I was particularly moved, seeing the commitment of these people, mostly from poor villages.

Most of those being confirmed wore a white shirt and black or blue pants or skirts – the typical school uniform here. But there was one group from a very remote village – El Bosque, I believe – who wore colored shirts and pants. (There is the bottom left of the picture below.) They are that poor!

Saturday on the way back from El Zapote the battery died and I was stuck on a road. The bishop passed by in Father Efraín’s truck and he and several guys helped push the car to the side of the road. (Yrah, a bishop pushing a car - my car!)

A friend from Santa Rosa passed by and found a mechanic who got the car started – and refused to charge. Back in Santa Rosa, the battery failed again. So today, Monday morning, I went, got a new battery (no cost since the dead battery had a guarantee) and had a mechanic fix a wire that was loose. The charge, beside three taxi rides of 14 lempiras/75¢, was three lempiras/18¢ for a connector. No charge for checking the battery or the recharging system.

This week I will be mostly in Santa Rosa, preparing for a full day Saturday workshop I have to do in Macuelizo on the environment and Catholic Social Teaching. I’m looking forward to the workshop and trying to think of ways to make it as participative and empowering as possible.

And so life continues – with all its joys and its difficulties (now, for me, often associated with the car.)

But the poverty seems to get worse. Food is scarce in some communities. There are fears of major losses of the bean crop because of the rains. The infrastructure gets worse with the rains – landslides, some roads becoming nearly impassible for the erosion, bridges wiped out.

On Wednesday an article in the newpaper El Tiempo cited a study by La Unidad Técnica de Seguirdad Alimentaria y Nutricional that stated that 72 out of every 100 persons in Honduras do not have access to the most necessary foodstuffs. About 4.5 million don't have enough for the basic food basket and another 1.5 million hardly have enough to pay for their food and cannot cover the costs of health, education, and housing.

But in the midst of this people struggle – in faith – and also struggle for a better Honduras.

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