Last week two good friends visited from Iowa – Gary and Nancy Guthrie. It was so good to have them here since our friendships go back to the late 1980s.
I had met them briefly at St. Thomas Aquinas in Ames and then visited them when they were working with the Mennonites in El Salvador in San José Guayabal.
When they moved back to Iowa, our friendship continued and deepened. In the late 1990s and until I left Gary was my farmer as I bought and ate vegetables from his farm.
They had helped me in my discernment to come here to Honduras. Gary has come to Honduras twice before, as part of the Dubuque Franciscans’ Sister Water Project, but this was Nancy’s first visit back to Central America fro fifteen years.
While they were here in Honduras they saw a little of my life.
Wednesday they helped as two guys hauled soil to put in the area around my house which I hope to plant in flowers. Gary transplanted a banana shoot – in the hopes that I will someday have homegrown bananas to eat.
Thursday, we went to El Zapote Santa Rosa to take the cooperative’s coffee to the processing plant and then spent some time in Santa Rosa, including a visit to the Spanish Franciscans whom Gary had met before.
Friday, I had a workshop with base community leaders from Zone 4 of the parish. Gary and Nancy attended to see how I try to work, involving the people in their formation.
In the afternoon, Padre German had invited us to go with him to Bañaderos for Mass and baptisms.
It was a full week and even though it was overcast most days and rained a lot, Gary and Nancy had a chance to see what we’re up to here.
I hope their visit is the first of many from Iowa.
Saturday, I took them to Suchitoto, El Salvador, so that they could visit some friends they had worked with who now live near Suchitoto. They had a good afternoon with Lucía and her family and I joined them later – since I know Lucía since working in the Suchitoto parish in 1992.
Sunday they went to San Jose Guayabal and I stayed in Suchitoto. A priest who is a good friend came up and we had dinner. Monday I went to San Salvador to meet with a journalist friend and to look for some books and material.
Tuesday, I headed back to Honduras. I stopped in Ocotepeque, Honduras, to meet with a spiritual director and than headed to Amigos de Jesús, a home and school for 124 or so kids, near Macuelizo, Santa Bárbara. The directors had asked me to begin to do some work with their US volunteers. A new group is coming next month but I did meet with the current volunteers to hear what they are doing their concerns, etc. I will be trying to stop by every 6 or 8 weeks to accompany them and to help them in their spiritual growth – if all goes well.
This morning I finally got back to Plan Grande – grateful to be home. But I have loads of wash to do and any number of things to do to plan for the next week.
This afternoon there is Mass and First Communions here in Plan Grande. Tomorrow I’ll go into Santa Rosa to have a few things on the car looked at. Coming home from Amigos de Jesús, I noted that the dials for speed and for noting the kilometers weren’t working. I also have to figure out what I have to do to renew my license.
A few times people have asked me what is a normal day. I hem and haw but Gary and Nancy can attest that I do not have any really normal schedule. Now that’s a challenge to a guy who normally likes to have everything planned for the next six months!
But this is Honduras.