Friday, October 17, 2014

The faces of an emergency

This morning it’s raining lightly in Santa Rosa.

The torrential rains on Tuesday night wreaked havoc on Honduras. As I noted in a previous post, Padre German and I experienced some of it in the village of Las Caleras, a village in the parish of Dulce Nombre. (The village is almost completely evangelical.)

Wednesday, before I left for Santa Rosa, I checked back in Las Caleras and visited the devastation near the turn off to Dolores.

At the side of the road I talked with a man who was standing there, watching some of the work being done to restore the road. He motioned to the coffee field behind him. The landslide had destroyed 1,000 coffee bushes which were full of berries which would have been picked in a few months.

Yesterday I went out to check on the house in Plan Grande. I got a call from Caritas asking me to investigate the needs of people, since the national office of Caritas has some mattresses and kitchen kits in a warehouse in Tegucigalpa.

So I stopped in Candelaria on my way back. I ended up visiting four sites where there was damage from the landslides caused by the torrential rain on Tuesday night.

The hill behind one house had fallen and a house at the bottom of the hill, though standing, had been evacuated. The family had relocated to the house of a friend. But they had only been able to retrieve four mattresses for the eleven family members.

I also visited the house at the side of the road that we had seen on Tuesday night where the wall had fallen in. A group was working on the hill, hoping to prevent future problems.

As I was about to leave I encountered Luis, a 79 year old man who lived with his 11 year old son. Yes. That’s what he told me. He also told me that he was partly blind and deaf. I did have to speak loudly and slowly to be heard, but he got around fairly well.

He had lost his house to a landslide. I went there and found a stick and mud house (called bahareque).

He had no place to go and was camping out in a house which is being repaired.

Then I went to Las Caleras, the site of our Tuesday night “adventure.”

The river was back to its original course but there was still a large puddle of mud in the road.

With the help of three young girls as guides, I visited several houses that had sustained serious damage. Clothes and mattresses were wet and mud-covered. A wall had fallen down in one house.

The last house I visited was a tin shack. I first talked with a few of the children there but finally the fifty-seven year old mother came by. Berta told me that 12 people lived there. I managed to get the names and ages of nine of the children (who were probably both children and grandchildren). What struck me was that all of them slept on the floor. They had no mattresses.

It was hard to see all this. But it was important for me to be reminded of the faces of the suffering.

1 comment:

Charles said...

Amazing photos, John. I am always rewarded by visiting this site. May the extremes of weather abate, and the countryside enjoy shalom.