Friday, June 13, 2014

A day in my life

Today was the seventh anniversary of my arrival in Honduras to begin serving as a lay missionary with the diocese of Santa Rosa de Copán.

What did I do today?

This blog might be a bit tedious, but the little things of each day sometimes reveal the presence of God in surprising ways.

After a shower, coffee, and prayer (in that order), I worked on the computer. I wrote a blog entry for the feast of St. Anthony of Padua and I printed materials for today’s workshop.

What was unusual was the color of the air for about ten minutes while I was praying. I took a picture but it doesn't in the least convey the unique color - a color which might have been due to the light rain and thunder that had just passed over Santa Rosa.

Front (overgrown) garden in my house in Santa Rosa

I left the house and headed out to El Zapote de Santa Rosa for a workshop with community leaders of base communities in zone 3 of the Dulce Nombre parish.

But I first stopped to get fuel. I usually go to the same station and I’ve got to know the guys who work there. We joke around a lot and each time I drive in they ask me how many bottles of additives I want in the pick up so that it runs faster. Nada, none – I continually say. But they never give up. 

On the way to EL Zapote, as usual, I traveled on a ridge which has some of the most beautiful views I've ever seen. It continues to amaze me.

I got to El Zapote about 20 minutes before the workshop was supposed to start. Padre German and I had done the workshop in zone 2 on Wednesday, but he had four Masses for the feast of Saint Anthony of Padua and so he left me with the workshop.

People trickled in and we finally had 21. The workshop went well and ended about 2 pm. I again had the group do an Ignatian contemplation style reading of a Gospel passage - Jesus calms the storm. We are urging the base communities to do this once a month so that they see the scriptures as a way to encounter the Lord and not just readings with a message or a moral. It seems to go well when we work with the groups.

During one break I was talking with some of the participants. One noted that he didn’t have enough money for bus fare and so had walked to the workshop.

As usual I spent a little time playing with the baby of one of the participants. I didn't scare this kid, as I sometimes do. But the baby was been passed around, which is not uncommon here. Sometimes you only know who the mother is when she begins to breastfeed the kid (which this mother did several times.)

After the workshop, I dropped off one of the participants at his parents’ house on the way out of El Zapote. A nurse from a nearby clinic was sitting there and I offered her a ride. She seemed a bit reluctant but, at the urging of my friend, got into the truck and we talked.

She’s been at the clinic for four months and has not yet been paid. This is not uncommon. The clinic also has almost no medicine. The people can be given a prescription but there is no medicine to give them  - and most don’t have the money to take a bus into Dulce Nombre or Santa Rosa and buy the medicine. She had a three month contract but had been called in to the regional health center today. I think she hopes to get a longer contract.

I didn’t take her all the way to where she was going since I was going to stop at Plan Grande and see the status of the house I’m having built.

I got here, talked with the workers, had them correct something they had left out (a small window in the bathroom), and walked around and talked with them.  The maestro de obra – the supervisor – dropped by and we talked as I watched one of the workers pour concrete into forms to make the columns for the first floor.

A little later the guy who is delivering sand for the concrete and who also is the one who fired the bricks for the house dropped by with a load of sand. I had planned to find him in Dulce Nombre to pay him for the truckloads of sand.

I waited while they unloaded the sand from the truck (with shovels). I briefly stopped to see Gloria, one of the leaders in Plan Grande whose husband died a few months ago. She was in her house – rolling cigars, one of the ways many women earn money. I sat and we talked – while the World Cup game was on the television. 

When the sand was unloaded, I paid the driver. The president of the village's School Parents Association was there and I made a donation to them since they are letting me connect into their very large septic tank.

I then headed off, giving a lift to the next village to three of the workers.

When I got to Santa Rosa I went to a large grocery store here to buy a few things. I then went home, but not before stopping by a neighborhood corner store and buying minutes for my cell phone.

I got home, washed breakfast dishes, heated up some pizza from Weekend's Pizza (that I hadn’t finished yesterday), and sat down to do some computer work – including writing a blog post and checking Facebook. I also phoned a young man I know to ask his help for designing the roof of the house.

After I finish and post this blog entry, I will sit down to pray evening prayer and then get ready for bed.

I’ll probably read some of William Easterly's The Tyranny of Experts: Experts, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor, which I began a few days ago. After a short examen, try to fall asleep. Tomorrow I’m off to two zone meetings and then a 4:00 pm meeting with the newly-formed youth group in San Agustin.

Life is good.

I pray God grants me many more years to serve here – Primero Dios.

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