Sunday, November 13, 2011

Back out in the countryside


I’ve been back in Honduras since Friday, November 4. Finally, on Thursday, November 11, I got back out into the countryside.

A group is coming from St. Thomas Aquinas Church on November 17 and I have to make sure everything is prepared. This included a few visits to places where they will be staying or visiting. I could, of course, have tried to do all this over the phone, but it actually works better to spend the time visiting the communities – partly to make sure I get things straight and partly because it is always good to have face to face meeting with folks.

The St. Thomas group will spend three days in Quebraditas – the town with the pink church. They’ll be working with the people of the town to build a latrine and a pila, a water basin, for the church grounds.

The pink church of San José in Quebraditas

 I had expected that things would not be underway and I’d have to put a spark under the people. Oh me, of little faith. Delmi had been arranging things and even had a list of what we needed to purchase before the project begins. We also talked about where people would stay and meals. It was a very fruitful meeting.

I left with six oranges and a dozen mandarins. It’s that season, I ate three mandarins on the road – the best mandarins I’ve had.

Friday and Saturday I went out to the meetings for two of the zones of the parish – Zona San Miguel (formerly zone 2) and Zona San Francisco (formerly zone 3). Zone 2 seems to have a lot of problems, probably exacerbated by the poverty of the zone. Zone 3, though it is the farthest from the parish, is where I have been concentrating my efforts. It has it problems but it does seem to have a more active and participative ministry than some other parts of the parish.  Some communities also seem to be a little more well off than the others.

It was raining on Saturday when I sent out to the meeting in El Zapote de Santa Rosa. At 1 pm when it was finished the rain had stopped but the fog was think. I could see about 200 feet on the road ahead of me, but looking out to the fields and valleys on the side of the road all I could see was the thick soup of a fog.  

My pickup (la bestia) in El Zapote - in the fog

Sunday I ended up going to Mass in Yaruconte, a town past Dolores. The road was bad because of all the rain and so it was four-wheel drive all the way. There had also been a landslide on the side of the mountain above the village.

Landslide on the hill above Yaruconte

Padre Efraín was celebrating the Mass and led a very participative homily. The first reading was on the good wife. He asked the men to speak about wives. I waited for the worst – but was totally surprised when one man told how his grandfather used to get up early in the morning and make coffee for his wife and himself. (In most cases women get up early to make the coffee and tortillas and begin to prepare breakfast.) Padre Efraîn asked him if he got up and made coffee. Meekly he said no.

Sunday Mass in Yaruconte

Padre Efraín talked a bit about machismo – the common sense of the superiority of men over women. He talked about a couple he knew who got married and said that the woman was not the slave in the family; the two of them were compañeros – companions – in their marriage.

Later in the homily, Padre Efraín talked about the importance of not having or using weapons in the villages. Violence affects many parts of life here in Honduras. Almost at once, one man piped up and said that they should not buy kids toy guns, because it gives them the wrong idea.

It was marvelous to hear these people speak forthrightly about real problems in their society.

Getting out to listen to these people and visit with them is a blessing.

1 comment:

Jim said...

Enjoy reading your blog John! If I can help in any way with the upcoming group let me know.