Monday, November 05, 2012

Of various things

Accompanying Caritas

Friday I was in Intibucá for most of the day with the director of Caritas of the diocese of Santa Rosa de Copán meeting with representatives of COCEPRADII, an Intibucá department-based non-governmental organization and representatives of Catholic Relief Services Honduras to work on budgets and job profiles for a three-year project to help local schools, especially in terms of school meals, financed by the US Department of Agriculture.

On the way back I was speaking with a Caritas fieldworker who told me of something that happened at a meeting she was at in Erandique. A young man was feeling ill and so they took him to the local clinic. He was diagnosed with appendicitis and had to be taken to the hospital in Gracias, more than an hour away. But in Gracias there was no surgeon available and so he had to be sent to Santa Rosa. Luckily there was an ambulance and the people involved put together the $26 needed to pay for the trip. Later they found out that there was no surgeon available in Santa Rosa de Copán. Luckily the ambulance was from San Pedro Sula and so he was taken there – a ride of between 2 and 3 hours - where the appendectomy was performed. It took a while for his family to locate him and to connect with him in San Pedro Sula. It was 36 hours since he first got ill and the surgery. He could have died for the lack of surgeons in two major public hospitals. Such is the state of medicine here.

Dulce Nombre youth cultural night

 Late Saturday afternoon I went to Dulce Nombre for a cultural program arranged by the youth group of Dulce Nombre – Alma Misionera [Missionary Soul] – with the assistance of Caritas.

Grupo juvenil Alma Misionera

The youth provided an incredible evening with presentations of music, traditional games, and food. They even got a group of kids from the local school (named after John F. Kennedy) to do a traditional dance.

Atol chuco (dirty drink) -  a local favorite

One of the most imaginative presentations was a rap song on Dulce Nombre. Kelvin and Carlos rapped it, to the applause of the more than 200 people gathered, many from other youth groups that also are doing cultural presentations in their villages.

Here’s the rap song.

Visiting Montaña Adentro

In two weeks a group of university students from St. Thomas Aquinas Church and Catholic Student Center in Ames will be visiting the parish of Dulce Nombre, their sister parish.

I usually try to arrange a stay in a village where we do a project with the people there. This year, at the suggestion of Padre Efraín, the pastor, we’re going to Montaña Adentro, to help them with building there church.

Montaña Adentro is not too far from Dulce Nombre, but it is really “adentro,” inside the mountainous terrain of the parish. The site is beautiful, but it’s up and down several hills to get there – in the mountains. It is a zone of coffee and orange trees.

The town, of about 40 households, does not now have a church, but has its Sunday morning Celebrations of the Word in the village’s one room school house.

Sunday Celebration of the Word in the Montaña Adentro school.

I joined them in their Celebration and had brought the Eucharist to share with them. After the Celebration they were selling “arroz con leche,” rice with milk, a little like rice pudding, to raise funds for the village church’s project.

After the Celebration, I met with the village’s church community council to talk about the visit. They are very pleased with the chance to welcome the group, since they have never had a group come to be with them.

After lunch (see my reflection on eating with the poor here), we went to see the site of the future church.

The site of the church.

On the side of the hill there is an incredible view. I stood around and talked with the men involved. We talked about the possibility of finding a way to store rainwater as well as the usefulness of planting some trees to lessen the effect of the north wind. Antonio suggested grafted avocado trees. 

From the construction site, looking north (with my pickup)

I left about 2:00pm, very happy to have spent time with the people there and looking forward to our visit two weeks from now.

More photos from the Cultural Night in Dulce Nombre can be found here and more photos from Montaña Adentro here.
A few photos from the cultural event in Camalote are here. This event had to be cut short when the lights went out.
Another video from the Dulce Nombre cultural event - of traditional games - can be found here.

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