Thursday, December 13, 2012

What's up, what's down, what's going around

The last two weeks I've been confined a bit to Santa Rosa, except for the parish evaluation meeting, a Caritas project in San José Quelacasque, and a day in rural Dulce Nombre for the final event of the parish’s agricultural project which I wrote about in the last post.

On Thursday night, December 6, November 29, my car gave out. The crankshaft was broken in two.

Don’t ask me how it happened, but if you had ridden with me in the car in the previous two weeks, over incredibly bad roads, you might have an idea of possible cause.

Well, today, I got the car back, fixed – for 16,000 lempiras, about $800. And the mechanic did not charge me for the trips he made to La Entrada and San Pedro Sula to get some parts and to have a part put into the motor. He’s incredible.

And so I’ve spent most of my time here in Santa Rosa, in Caritas. I’ve missed the chance to get out into the countryside and spend time with the people.

But what’s been happening in the real world?

The coffee harvest has begun and I see people picking coffee, as well as trucks full of people going out early in the morning.

The coffee gravest is almost the only time for some people to earn cash and so it’s an important time of the year.

In a friend's finca  in January 2009

There are some large coffee plantations here but many people have small plot – from half an acre to several acres. But this year a disease – roya – has hit most coffee plants and the production is down. And so I expect that this year people will not earn much from their coffee farms and so we can expect some hard times.

What this will mean in a few months is to be seen. I expect some hunger and some cutting back by the people on what they might see as expenses. We’ll see if this affects school attendance.

These past two weeks have also been crazy in Tegucigalpa. There are ongoing disputes about the November primary elections, some claiming fraud and demanding a recount. The president has said that there were reports of people planning a coup against him. He attacked the Supreme Court for declaring unconstitutional his plan to purify the police as well as his plan for “model cities. ” In an early morning session of Congress this week (between 1 am and 4 am) Congress basically sacked four of the Supreme Court justices and appointed four more. Some people ahve called it a "technical coup."

It’s truly a fight for power among the powers of government and Congress is trying to make itself the ultimate power n regard to the Supreme Court (as it tried to do in 2009 when it overthrew President Zelaya). Honduras may be the laughing stock of the world – or worse. The press now reports, though, that the president is getting representatives of all three government branches together to talk it over. We'll see.

I can’t follow all the ins and outs of this disaster, but if you want to follow this go to Honduras Culture and Politics blog, which has had a series of detailed and informative accounts of what’s going on. They sure save me a lot of time and help me to understand better what’s happening.

But life goes on here. People are shopping for Christmas, putting up Christmas displays, and more.

I’m still in an Advent move, waiting and hoping and trying to slow down.

But now that I have wheels, who knows?

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